If your space is not set up for guests, your vacation dinner party can go from fabulous to awkward as soon as the celebration moves to the living area. Even if you have only a spare hour to wash up, focusing on a few standard areas will get your room holiday-ready in no time. Here is the way to make your guests feel at home — and keep yourself from worrying about the state of your gathering space.
Heather Garrett Design
1. Create mood lighting. Poor lighting — if overly dark or too light — is an instant mood killer at any get-together. You want guests to feel comfortable, but you also want to keep the area mild enough so that everyone can see. Layer different kinds of lighting and bring in lamps at different heights. Make sure all of the light bulbs are working and replace some burned-out bulbs.
In case you don’t have lamps to bring in, dim your overhead lights and light some candles. It will look and feel a whole lot more cozy.
2. Clean and pick up clutter. More than anything else, you want to make sure your living room is fresh, clean and comfortable. In case you have the time, do a large cleanup. Start at least a few days before to avoid stressing out, or having your guests arrive as you are still scrubbing the ground. Sweep, vacuum, polish and dust. Check behind cushions and underneath pillows. You don’t want a guest to be the person to find that missing popsicle from previous summer.
greige/Fluegge Interior Design, Inc..
If you have left cleaning up until the last minute — don’t worry! As long as it is out of sight you’re going to be OK. Simply take a big bag, sweep clutter to it and keep it in the garage or another unused area until after the celebration. Fluff the cushions, and you should be fine.
Jerry Jacobs Design, Inc..
3. Seating. Make sure your furniture is organized in a means that’s conducive to group conversation. You want your party environment to feel natural, and allow the conversation flow smoothly. Make sure that most of the seats are at exactly the exact same height so guests can see eye to eye.
Set up multiple conversation areas so that people can have private conversations, but join the group again with ease.
Don’t worry about things matching! If you don’t have sufficient seating, feel free to bring in other tables, ottomans and chairs from other areas of the home. Pillows are your very best buddy when entertaining. Pillows can correct too-deep couches, or function as floor seats.
My Sweet Savannah
4. Safety first. Keep hot drinks away from where kids can reach them, and areas where they are easily spilled. Always keep a first-aid kit useful, and be sure that the batteries on your smoke and CO alarms are fresh.
If young kids are visiting your home, it is a good idea to talk to their parents beforehand to find out what you have to do to get ready for them. Plugging outlets with safety mechanisms might be critical. Make sure chemicals, candles or breakables are out of reach. If necessary, put safety gates at the top and the bottom of staircases.
Garret Cord Werner Architects & Interior Designers
5. Decorate for relaxation. Fresh flowers immediately alter the look and feel of a room. Make them extra-special and place a fragrance in a unique container — possibly an antique pitcher or vase you have available.
Light scented candles to produce the room fresh and festive.
If this really is a cocktail party, think about making a mini-bar or beverage channel. It makes things more casual, and allows guests to mix drinks just the way they like them. Pre-dinner bites are always a good idea too — only be sure to take some allergies and food preferences into consideration.
For those who own a fireplace and plan on using it, then make sure it’s ready to run all night. Have a look at this guide about the best way to get your fireplace ready for the season.
What’s your no-fail party-prep tip? Please share it with us in the Comments section below!
More: Creating Rooms with Multiple Conversation Areas
How to Arrange Your Space for Entertaining
A Lived-In House Is Very Good for Entertaining
How to Make Your Kitchen Party-Ready