It’s that time of year. Thanksgiving is upon us and Christmas and Hanukkah are soon to come. While many of us will travel for the holidays, many will open their homes to friends and family.
When designing a home in anticipation of large gatherings, what should one consider?
People often think that you need a gigantic home to entertain, but creating an inviting space is more about scale than size. Having comfortable spots for gathering and socializing, and creating a flow from one room to another, are the keys to entertaining.
Take the kitchen. It’s a well-known fact that the center of every party is the kitchen. We’re pretty certain that the ancient Greeks proved this. The kitchen is often the warmest room in the house, it’s the origin of the best aromas, and it’s where the food is.
Your kitchen should have ample works spaces that don’t require your guests to rotate in and out of the room every time you need to access the refrigerator. A large and functional island creates a hub for people to gather, a spot to spread out snacks, and becomes a focal point for your soiree. A few stools or chairs will allow people to sit and not be left out of the conversation. Small tables and movable carts create additional spaces for serving and preparing meals.
The living areas – living rooms, dens, entertainment rooms – should allow for sitting and relaxing. Creating small groupings of seating, perhaps around an occasional table, invite smaller, more intimate conversations while participants are still involved with the larger group. And while a television or music adds some welcome background noise, the center of attention should still be your guests.
No matter the room, it’s important to set the mood. The simplest way to do that is with lighting. Daytime gatherings can take advantage of natural lighting, but the shorter days of winter call for some strategic lighting. Rather than direct, overhead lighting, emphasize lamps and recessed lighting. Different types and wattages of bulbs create different environments, much like different styles of chairs. And a dimmer switch will become your best tool for creating the proper mood.
Lastly, bring the outside in.
Your guests should have a clear route to take advantage of your outdoor spaces. While seasonal weather can bring a halt to many outdoor gatherings, fire pits and outdoor heaters allow your guests to relax as comfortably on a deck or patio as they would in your living room. A well-appointed patio, with comfortable seating and appropriate lighting, can double your available space to lounge, dine, gather, and converse. A smart host may even point guests towards the patio to visit a well-stocked bar.
We help our clients design the perfect home to live in. An additional consideration is a dream home to entertain in.