Are you the person who loves to have friends and family over? I know I am! Whether you are in the market to buy a new home, or you want to make some updates to your current home, there are some design elements that can make entertaining just a little bit easier.
Floor Plan and Flow
The flow of a party is largely dictated by your home's floor plan. An open floor plan is a great way to encourage your guests to mix and mingle. That coupled with a lot of nooks and crannies for your guests to sit, stand and gather. Guests naturally congregate together, which can create crowding. Having multiple areas around your home set up can encourage smaller groups to form and can keep everyone just a little more comfortable. Make use of your corners. Do you have areas where you could add 2 sitting chairs and a small table in between? Can you add a small seating area by a window? Think about creating individual spaces within each of your larger rooms.
The Heart of the Home
It’s commonly said that the kitchen is the heart of the home. And I have to agree. As the host, you will likely be spending quite a bit of time in the kitchen and naturally your guests will want to be around you. Who wouldn’t, right? I could write an entire blog post about kitchens (and maybe I will!), but for now what are a couple of design elements for an entertaining kitchen?
The most obvious is a large island with some counter height bar stools. An oversized island leaves you with a large work space for your food preparation and leaves room for appetizers to keep your guests happy while they chat. (See blog on my favorite - a charcuterie board!).
One of the most useful features in my entertainer’s kitchen are my double ovens. I do not think I could live without them. Double ovens give you more options for cooking, reheating and simply warming. I don’t know that I could ever go back to a single oven. Bonus points for a warming drawer if you can fit one. It’s all hands on deck. You do not want to serve cold food.
Cabinetry. So much to say about cabinetry. Well designed cabinetry keeps you organized. You want to be able to find what you want quickly and right when you need it. There are so many innovative features in cabinetry. Cabinets with dividers for cookie sheets and baking pans above or near your ovens. A variety of sizes of cabinets paying close attention to large ones so that you can store all of your large pots and pans easily. Pull out spice racks for your spices and oils. You do not want to be digging around looking for your peppercorns! Pull out pantry drawers so that you can make the most use of every inch of pantry space. A built-in utensil caddy. Who wants to look at unsightly utensils and who wants to touch each one to find the right one?
The Main Course
The dining room is a great space to create ambiance. I love a formal dining room, although you can create a similar feel in a more open dining area. A sit down dinner encourages intimate conversations and gets everyone out of the kitchen. Be creative with your dining room. Set a lovely table with a runner, napkins and greens/florals. Add votives down the center for warmth. You can mix and match styles, like using a mixture of woods for a farmhouse feel, or glass and metals for a more modern feel. Bring in plants to warm up the room. As a host, it can be difficult to remember to enjoy the moment and your guests. A sit down dinner gives you the opportunity to stop running around and be present with your company.
Set the Mood With Lighting
What better way to create a mood than lighting. A combination of light fixtures and canned lighting will give you the most options. Do not neglect adding dimmer switches. I LOVE a dimmer switch. This will give you the most options and control. Bonus for installing a Smart Lighting System that will allow you to pre-set mood combinations so that you can make a switch quickly.
Bar or Bar Cart
If you do not have room in your home to have a dedicated bar, a bar cart is a wonderful option. There are some great vintage bar carts that can add great character to your home. If you have the option, set the bar up away from the kitchen. This will keep your guests spaced out and not cluttered around the same spot. Tip: Set an appetizer up near the bar cart as well. Munchies keep people happy!
Flow between Indoors and Outdoors
If the weather is nice, keeping the doors open and having a great flow between indoors and outdoors is a lovely addition to a party. Again, outdoor space can be an entirely separate blog. Set up a seating area outside, play some music and string up some lights. Bonus for having a fire pit or outdoor fireplace to help create the mood and add some warmth. An inviting outdoor space will be beckoning your guests right out of the doors!