For many people, home is a place to get away from it all. But at the same time, it’s also the spot where you bring over friends and family, hold movie nights, host neighborhood events, share meals, play games, and so much more. For many, owning a home is all about hosting and entertaining — and it’s important to make sure your new space is up to the task of holding the soirees you’ve always dreamed about.
For recent buyers settling into a fresh space, finding the perfect arrangement and decor for your entertaining areas can be a big step in making that new place feel more like home. Here are six tips to consider as you start laying out a home with entertaining in mind:
Think About Your Personal Style
As you think about the best way to set up a new home for entertaining, be sure to take some time to consider your personal style and your hosting needs.
For example, what types of parties and events are you envisioning for your home? Will this be the go-to place for movie nights and football Sundays, or are you picturing more upscale dinner parties and cocktails at dusk? Are you going to be entertaining friends and neighbors with young kids, or are you mostly going to be having get-togethers for grownups? How often do you want to entertain? Do you have lots of family who will be planning on stopping by?
The more you can get a sense of your unique wants and needs, the better you can evaluate and set up your space for entertaining.
Create a Great First Impression
A great party is all about making a great first impression. As you think about setting up your home for entertaining, consider all of the ways that you can turn your front entrance into a welcoming, inviting space. Whether you have a grand foyer or a cramped front door, there are all sorts of ways that you can turn the first part of your home that your guests see into a winning spot for saying your hellos.
For instance, you could use this front area to make a bold statement — perhaps by hanging a striking work of art, laying down a dramatic rug, or playing with memorable colors in your design choices. Adding plants or flowers can also be a great way to immediately make the front entrance to your home feel fresher and more appealing, especially if you’re more cramped for space. And don’t forget to think about functionality. How can you make your front entrance more efficient for entertaining? You could set up a convenient bench for taking off shoes, or add wall hooks, an appealing coat rack, or an umbrella stand to help your visitors get comfortable right away.
Create Multiple Seating Areas
Having company over is a great chance to sit down, talk, and connect with the most important people in your life. With that in mind, it’s important to give yourself and your guests plenty of places to sit.
As you design and lay out your living spaces, think about how you can create as much entertaining space as possible. Adding a sectional can be a great way to create a conversation space while subdividing a room, for example. You could add several small seating areas by arranging chairs around a fireplace, or near a picture window. Don’t forget about the kitchen! Many houseguests are naturally going to gravitate to this space, so make sure that it’s clean and functional. If you have a kitchen island, you could add stools to turn this central spot into a sitting area.
One idea may be to design several rooms in your home with flexibility in mind. For instance? If you want a space that can accommodate an informal party and a sit-down dinner, you might think about designing your dining room with dual-purpose furniture elements, allowing you to create formal seating when you need it, and have a more casual sitting area when you don’t. Your office, guest room, basement, and play room are all areas that could become entertaining spaces with some clever, multi-functional decor.
Embrace Indoor/Outdoor Experiences
One of the best ways to create a larger entertaining area in your home is to carry the party outdoors. Whether you have an enormous back deck or a small balcony, think about how you can integrate the outdoor space you have into your entertaining plan.
For instance? If there’s enough room, why not move that intimate dinner party to a table outside, so you can free up more space indoors for games and relaxing sitting areas? Have a lot of kids coming over? Why not plan to set up games and activities for little ones outside, so that the interior spaces can be a bit calmer?
Before and after company arrives, think of all the ways you can improve the cohesion between your interior and exterior spaces. You could decorate with a dominant color, for example, which you carry over from your interior sitting area to your exterior ones, via pillows, rugs, and other accent pieces. You may create a similar effect by adding greenery inside and out. Seeing the same plants in your living room and patio can help make these two separate spaces feel like part of one large and immersive entertaining space.
Create a Natural Flow
How can you help guests feel free to mix, mingle, and move freely around your home? Creating natural pathways can help direct traffic where you want it to go – while also making sure all of your guests feel comfortable.
If you have an open concept home, you can use furniture to naturally guide guests around your space. Sectionals and sofas can help create distinctions between sitting areas, for example. If your space is a bit more segmented, think of ways that you can open it up. This could be as simple as making sure that all of your doors and windows are open when you host a party, or as involved as doing some renovation work to create a flow that’s more to your liking.
You might also want to think about how you can use decor and design elements to encourage your guests to explore. Setting up a wet bar or a buffet separate from your main kitchen, for example, could help keep this important space a little more open. Similarly, setting up active and passive areas – such as a game room, a media room, and a quiet sitting room – can help houseguests naturally filter to the spot where they feel most comfortable.
Add Features to Help Set the Mood
No matter how large or small your entertaining space, think about how you can bring in design elements that can help make entertaining easier. For instance? Adding a built-in sound system can help ensure that you’re getting music into each room at once. You could also leverage several smart speakers, placed in strategic spots around your home, to achieve a similar effect. Even better? With a smart home setup, you may be able to control all of your audio from one spot!
Similarly, think about how you want to set up the lighting in your home. Do you want some rooms to be on dimmer switches, so you can swing between bright and dark, depending on the event? Are there some spaces where you want more dramatic lighting? Is it important to be able to control all of your lights from your smartphone, or from one central console?
Or, for a small touch that can make a big difference, consider adding some high end, public finishes to your guest bathrooms – like leaving out mints, adding special hand soap dispensers, or creating a welcoming smell with your favorite candle or scent diffuser.
The more strategic you can get ahead of time about things like lighting and sound, the more time you’ll have to enjoy your party in the moment!
Finding the Space That Truly Works for You
Curious if the right space is out there for you? Looking to get to know your local market, or talk about your biggest home goals with someone who’s been around the block?
At Baird & Warner, we get you. Whether you’re looking for a new house with ample entertaining space, or a cozy nook perfect for quiet nights in, our thousands of hyperlocal experts know just what it takes to help you get the space of your dreams. And with sales, mortgage, and title services all in-house, we can help make things easier, from the day you first envision your next home to the day you’re handed the keys.