11 Critical Items For Preparing Your Home For Entertaining

May 06, 2020

11 Critical Items For Preparing Your Home For Entertaining

Having a home that is both a comfortable place to live but can cater for that special occasion with family and friends is ideal. 

Having family and friends over for a BBQ or dinner is a wonderful experience. It is great to spend time breaking bread and sharing stories with those people that you love and cherish.

Your home needs to be both functional and comfortable. You need to be able to get around but also have areas for relaxing so that your guests can sit and chill out. 

Let’s learn more about the 11 critical steps that are important when you are planning to entertain at home.

Table at home set with appetisers

1. Personal Style

As you think about the best way to set up a new home for entertaining, be sure to take some time to consider your Personal Style and your hosting needs. 

Think about how you are planning to use the area and how often you will use it.

For example, what types of parties and events are you envisioning for your home?

Will this be the go-to place for movie nights and football Sundays, or are you picturing more upscale dinner parties and cocktails at dusk? 

Are you going to be entertaining friends and neighbours with young kids, or are you mostly going to be having get-togethers for grownups? 

How often do you want to entertain? 

Do you have lots of family who will be planning on stopping by?

Your entertaining area is the spot where you bring over friends and family, hold movie nights, host neighbourhood events, share meals, play games, and so much more. For many, owning a home is all about hosting and entertaining. 


2. First Impression

What is the first impression your guests receive when they arrive at your home

As you think about setting up your home for entertaining, consider all of the ways that you can turn your front entrance into a welcoming, inviting space. 

Whether you have a grand foyer or a cramped front door, there are all sorts of ways that you can turn the first part of your home that your guests see into a winning spot for saying your hellos. 

For instance, you could use this front area to make a bold statement — perhaps by hanging a striking work of art, laying down a dramatic rug, or playing with memorable colours in your design choices. 

Adding plants or flowers can also be a great way to immediately make the front entrance to your home feel fresher and more appealing, especially if you’re more cramped for space. And don’t forget to think about functionality. 

How can you make your front entrance more efficient for entertaining? 

You could set up a convenient bench for taking off shoes, or add wall hooks, an appealing coat rack, or an umbrella stand to help your visitors get comfortable right away.

People enjoying a dinner party

3. Multiple Seating Areas

Having company over is a great chance to sit down, talk, and connect with the most important people in your life. 

It is important to give yourself and your guests plenty of places to sit. 

Think about how you can create as much entertaining space as possible. Adding a sectional can be a great way to create a conversation space while subdividing a room.

You could add several small seating areas by arranging chairs around a fireplace, or near a picture window. 

Don’t forget about the kitchen! Many houseguests are naturally going to gravitate to this space, so make sure that it’s clean and functional. 

If you have a kitchen island, you could add stools to turn this central spot into a sitting area. 

An idea may be to design several rooms in your home with flexibility in mind. 

If you want a space that can accommodate an informal party and a sit-down dinner, you might think about designing your dining room with dual-purpose furniture elements, allowing you to create formal seating when you need it, and have a more casual sitting area when you don’t. 

Your office, guest room, basement, and playroom are all areas that could become entertaining spaces with some clever, multi-functional decor.


4. Indoor/Outdoor Experience

One of the best ways to create a larger entertaining area in your home is to carry the party outdoors. Whether you have an enormous back deck or a small balcony, think about how you can integrate the outdoor space you have into your entertaining plan

If there’s enough room, move that intimate dinner party to a table outside, so you can free up more space indoors for games and relaxing sitting areas? 

Have a lot of kids coming over? Why not plan to set up games and activities for little ones outside, so that the interior spaces can be a bit calmer? 

Before and after your company arrives, think of all the ways you can improve the cohesion between your interior and exterior spaces. 

You could decorate with a dominant colour, for example, which you carry over from your interior sitting area to your exterior ones, via pillows, rugs, and other accent pieces. 

You may create a similar effect by adding greenery inside and out. Seeing the same plants in your living room and patio can help make these two separate spaces feel like part of one large and immersive entertaining space.


5. Natural Flow

Creating natural pathways can help direct traffic where you want it to go – while also making sure all of your guests feel comfortable.

If you have an open concept home, you can use furniture to naturally guide guests around your space. Sectionals and sofas can help create distinctions between sitting areas. 

If your space is a bit more segmented, think of ways that you can open it up. It could be as simple as making sure that all of your doors and windows are open when you host a party, or as involved as doing some renovation work to create a flow that’s more to your liking

Think about how you can use decor and design elements to encourage your guests to explore. 

Setting up a wet bar or a buffet separate from your main kitchen, for example, could help keep this important space a little more open. 

Or, setting up active and passive areas – such as a game room, a media room, and a quiet sitting room – can help houseguests naturally filter to the spot where they feel most comfortable.

Dinner party table


6. Set The Mood

Adding a built-in sound system can help ensure that you’re getting music into each room at once. You could also leverage several smart speakers, placed in strategic spots around your home, to achieve a similar effect. 

With a smart home setup, you may be able to control all of your audio from one spot!

How will you set up the lighting in your home?

Do you want some rooms to be on dimmer switches, so you can swing between bright and dark, depending on the event? 

Are there some spaces where you want more dramatic lighting? 

Is it important to be able to control all of your lights from your smartphone, or from one central console?

A nice touch is leaving out mints, adding special hand soap dispensers, or creating a welcoming smell with your favourite candle or scent diffuser.


7. Utilising Your Space

Use your deck as an extension of the indoor space. 

If you’re considering adding a deck to your home, unify the new space with an existing entertaining area. 

Choose decking that complements your indoor flooring, for example, one that can be installed low to the ground to meet your living room, to create continuity between the two spaces – even better if it can be sealed in a similar shade. 

Bi-fold doors also create a seamless transition from indoor to outdoor, opening up a living room when the sun is shining and closing it off when it’s rainy. 


8. Using Plants

Plants brighten up any corner, and picking the most appropriate variety will ensure your space looking luscious all year long. 

Succulents are a great option for a deck, patio or courtyard as they require very little upkeep and come in an array of shapes and colours

For a tranquil retreat, look to the versatile and fast-growing bamboo plant – a tall and sturdy stance makes it ideal for creating a privacy wall


9. Flooring

With a new entertaining area comes a lot of traffic, so make sure the flooring beneath all of those sandy feet is as hard-wearing as possible. 

While timber flooring looks good, it can be prone to rotting and splintering, so consider factors such as climate and water exposure before selecting your materials.

If you’re not sure you can commit the time and budget to long-term maintenance of a timber deck, do some research into alternative decking and choose an option that best suits your lifestyle.


10. Functional and Fun

When it comes to summer entertaining, quick and simple is best – for both furniture and food. 

Fold-up chairs that can be taken inside, an umbrella, awning or shade sail to protect guests from the elements and crates, baskets or shelving to provide adequate storage are all key.

A small, working kitchen is a valuable addition to any outdoor space, saving you time and energy on transporting food and cleaning up. 

If a sink and bar fridge is not feasible, an island bench will still come in very handy for food prep, serving snacks and socialising.

Dinner party table

11. Lighting

Effective lighting is one of the easiest ways to set the mood for a long and leisurely evening outdoors. 

For a festive vibe, string lights are inexpensive and provide the perfect glow, while sconces are clean and contemporary. 

An uplight at the base of a tree can turn it into a focal point, while stair lights should be a priority to prevent tripping in the dark

Consider solar options for lights located further from power outlets, and be sure to choose only those designed for outdoor landscaping, even if your entertaining area is semi-covered.

Thinking about these 11 critical areas will allow you to set up your home so that it can easily cater to any entertaining event and not end in a disaster zone that requires a major initiative to fix. 

Photos courtesy of

Photo by Gustaf Lindqvist on Unsplash

Photo by Antenna on Unsplash

Photo by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash

Photo by Amelie & Niklas Ohlrogge on Unsplash

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