Whether you grew up in a family known for throwing great dinner parties and you’ve always wanted to emulate them, or you’ve simply longed to have a home that everyone thinks of as a hub for entertainment, you may be wondering what you can do to make your home a better place to host guests. That process starts with figuring out what kind of hosting you actually want to do, then assessing how to adapt the space you have so that it can accommodate your guests as easily as possible.
1. Consider Your Aims
You want to renovate to compliment your lifestyle, so think about what kind of entertaining you want to do. How you approach this is going to be very different if you want to be able to have close family and friends spend multiple nights at your place versus wanting to have dinner parties with no more than a dozen guests compared to regular cocktail hours, potlucks, movies on a projector in the backyard or a place for your kids to have their friends over. Or maybe you want the ability to do all of those things, which is absolutely possible.
But before you get started, you need to know precisely what you envision doing because all of those activities have different space requirements. If you’re planning with a partner or someone else, make sure that you are both explicit about what you have in mind as well to avoid any misunderstandings once you’re well on your way in the process.
2. An Entryway That Welcomes
No matter what kind of entertainment you’re planning in your home, you want people to make people feel welcome from the moment they walk in the door. That starts with your entryway. Think about the times you’ve walked into someone’s house and stood there awkwardly with a coat and a bag wondering where to put it.
There should be ample hooks for those types of things, or you should be prepared to take them from your guests immediately and put them somewhere easily accessible. There should also be someplace for people to sit if you want them to remove their shoes. Finally, this area should be pleasant, well-lit, and free of any obstacles that people might stumble over, particularly considering that there may be a lighting change they need to adjust to as they are coming in from outdoors.
3. Consider Major Changes
You don’t have to spend a lot of money if you want to make your home entertainment-ready, but if you do have some cash on hand, there are plenty of great changes you can make to facilitate your hosting. If you’re hoping to make space for guests to stay over, you might want to add an extra room to your home. An even better possibility is converting a garage or a backyard shed into a separate, free-standing unit for guests. This can give everyone more privacy, which is especially nice if you have people staying for more than a night or two.
One unusual feature you might consider for your home if there is more than one floor is a home lift. There are a number of reasons this could be useful. It makes the entirety of your home more accessible to anyone who may have mobility issues. It can make bringing food and drink between floors during a party much easier. While you might assume that this would be a pricey renovation, modern home lifts like the one’s seen here, can be less costly than one might think. This can be an alteration to your home that adds a hint of luxury and is also practical. You could also do some outdoor construction What about a backyard pool or a hot tub? A covered patio area with outdoor heat sources can be nice if you want to seat people outside when the weather is cool. Some people even go all-out with a feature such as an outdoor kitchen. Slightly more low-key but still impressive might be an outdoor pizza oven or bar.
4. Think Space
One of the reasons you need to consider the kind of entertaining you want to do is that this will affect how you set up the inside of your home. If you want to host medium-sized drink parties, you may want to make sure that there are several areas where people can set down drinks safely as well as ample seating for anyone who doesn’t want to be on their feet for a long time. You also need to think about the flow of people.
This might not be much of a concern at a dinner party where people are going to be seated around the table most of the time, but if you want your guests to be able to circulate, there needs to be room for them to do it. Of course, what teenagers or small children need is going to be very different. Younger kids need to be able to run around without dangerous obstacles in their path. Teenagers may want a dedicated area to watch movies or play video games with their friends.
5. Think About Mood
What kind of vibe do you want people to get when they walk into your home? Do you want them to get a sense of quiet elegance, or do you want them to feel as though they can lounge around in their scruffiest clothes and relax? While the furniture and decor you choose can affect this to some extent, other choices, such as lighting and music, can also affect the ambiance.
In fact, if you want to be able to have a variety of different types of gatherings, you may want to consider a fairly neutral approach to design that you can dress up and down as needed with lots of throw pillows and comfortable seating when your teenager’s friends all come over, pillows put away and dimmer lighting for the cocktail party crowd. Keep in mind as well that you are yourself a key to setting the right mood. Everything from the music that you choose to what you wear, whether you send out formal invitations or just a quick note to your WhatsApp group, and even how you greet people as they arrive sets the stage for the event ahead.