Five Ways to Design for Entertaining
By Marissa Lada
October 11, 2018
Summer came and went pretty quickly this year in Seattle (doesn’t it normally?). Despite the one month of summer that we got, there is plenty to look forward to for fall. Mainly, it’s all the celebrations and parties that are upcoming! From game day parties to holiday get-togethers, fall is a time for entertaining! You may have all the decorations and meals planned for your next shindig, but, can your space support your gathering?
Here are some ways you can design your space to optimize on entertaining.
Design a central, open kitchen.
Most of the time, when having large gatherings, one of two things happens. Either, people cram into the kitchen where the host is, or everyone is out in the main spaces while the cook is left out of the party. Neither situation is ideal because you’re either feeling excluded from your own party, or you’re left having your guests cram into a kitchen (that probably doesn’t have enough seating) while you’re busy cooking up the food.
Having a kitchen that merges with the social spaces, such as the dining room and family room is a great way to include the host while entertaining. Check out this central kitchen, above (Photo Credit: Joe Fitzgerald). It offers guests the chance to hang out with the cook at the island or be in the living room while still remaining involved in the conversation.
Include a bar area.
Wet bars often serve as a boozy display stage, but they also offer additional (booze-free) counter space for setting up food, or offering a “station” for specific themed events.
The bar above might normally be used to store plates, extra napkins, and other items for easy access at the dining room table. But, imagine it sometimes used as a “station” for special events, such as a craft station for kids, or gift drop-off for birthdays/baby showers/bridal parties.
Make sure you have back up seating!
So, maybe you know you aren’t always going to have a dozen people over each week for dinner, so you might not get that large, 10-foot table, and instead opt for a drop-leaf. But, when you do host, having sneaky seating available is important (no one likes to play the ‘Squatter’ game).
Sectionals, ottomans/poufs, and entry benches are all great furniture pieces that offer additional seating without appearing like you have a swarm of people that live in your home. Bring them in when you need them, but let them act as decor when not in use.
Offer a spot for a last-minute overnight guest.
How do hidden beds and designing for entertaining go together? Well, we’ve probably all had one of those parties that gets a little crazy to the point you have some people that need to spend the night.
Sometimes, you offer the couch, but sometimes you need more! Building in a fold-down bed is a great way to accommodate that need while not actually having to accommodate a full-on guest room.
Ensure that indoor/outdoor connection.
Even though the climate in Seattle is pretty temperate all year round, this design idea might be more-often utilized for those summer barbeques.
Having a space that transitions from the inside out creates the illusion of more room, helping your guests to not feel psychologically (or physically) crammed in a space.