The menu is set. The invitations have been sent out. You’re almost ready to host an unforgettable holiday soiree—but is your home ready to welcome your guests? Here are a few tips on preparing your place for this year’s holiday festivities.
When planning a party, it’s always a good rule of thumb to know exactly how many people you’ll be hosting. Once invitations have been sent and RSVPs have been confirmed, you can get a better understanding of just how your home needs to be arranged. Will you be hosting a sit-down dinner, or can guests mingle and serve themselves? Do you need additional tables and chairs, or will the seating you have suffice? Remember to invite people according to the size of your entertaining space. For example, if you have a small living room, keep the list short so guests won’t feel cramped.
Before you start moving furniture around, it is important to really understand the flow of your home. You want to make sure that guests have easy access to the most important parts of your home without invading your privacy. Close off any rooms you don’t want guests to enter. If your home has more than one restroom, make sure that guests can find them. You should also consider designating a convenient area where visitors can place their coats and scarves.
If you’re planning on having guests serve themselves buffet-style, be sure to keep food accessible without causing a traffic jam. Use long tables rather than round ones, and arrange food on each side of the table so guests can move along the line in an orderly fashion.
Now it’s time to arrange your furniture to create a space that is inviting, intimate and comfortable. When arranging sofas and chairs, be sure they aren’t too far apart from each other. This makes conversation easier and prevents people from having to raise their voices or lean over tables to hear one another. If you have a fairly large home, particularly a sizeable living room, consider arranging a few different seating areas to accommodate everyone and keep things cozy.
Another way to create a conversational atmosphere is by playing down the television. Either remove the television from the room altogether or mute it and put on a few holiday tunes to minimize focus on the screen and encourage conversation.
Although often overlooked, lighting is vital in creating a great atmosphere for not just your holiday party, but for your home in general. Before your guests arrive, be sure your entertaining space provides the three most important elements of lighting: overhead, ambient and task lighting. Overhead lighting, like lighted ceiling fans or overhead light fixtures, provides light for the entire room. Next, ambient lights are used to accentuate the tone of the room. For this you can utilize table lamps with low wattage lightbulbs or even candles for a toned down yet inviting glow. Finally, make sure that you have adequate task lighting on hand. Guests should be able to see what they’re doing, especially when serving themselves. Try using adhesive tape lights around serving tables. You could even use a few strings of battery-operated Christmas lights to drape around the tables or areas that guests will actually be dining.
Creating an open and inviting space for your holiday shindig doesn’t have to be daunting. By managing the number of visitors, flow, furniture and lighting, you can easily transform your home into a warm, welcoming holiday space. Cheers!