Entertaining guests during the holiday season: what are your expectations vs. reality? For some, the vision of domestic bliss can quickly turn into a frazzled panic if you’re concerned about how well your living space will accommodate the extra company.
By planning ahead you’ll be able to take a step back on the day and relax, safe in the knowledge that you’ve created a space which is as comfortable and sociable as possible. Go forth and be the hostess with the mostest!
Make sure you have enough seating
The thing about the holiday season is you always end up having way more people visiting than you originally expected – then causing the inevitable “where on earth is everyone going to sit?!” debacle. This is where multi-purpose furniture really comes into its own. Got a few family members frantically scanning the room, looking for a place to sit down with their eggnog? Direct them to a pouffe or an ottoman, which can also double up as storage. You could even look into getting some benches, which are a great way to provide additional seating that looks great without taking up much space.
Don’t make the TV the main focal point
We’ve all been there – sat in a room with a group of people with a TV turned on in the background. And where do everyone’s eyes gravitate? To the big screen, of course! Make sure that the TV isn’t the focal point of the room to create a more sociable space and encourage conversation. Rearrange your seating so that it’s all facing inwards, or a few different chairs dotted around to avoid too many private huddles.
Include side tables or somewhere to set a drink
A room without sufficient side tables for resting drinks and snacks can be a disaster waiting to happen – red wine and cream carpets, anyone?! You’ll also be saving your guests from the awkwardness of trying to greet a new arrival with bubbly in one hand and an appetizer in the other. Try to have coffee tables or other occasional tables dotted within reach of your main seating areas to keep your furniture splash- and crumb-free!
Create an ambience with lighting
Ambient lighting is a great way to create a relaxed, easy atmosphere when you’re hosting a social gathering. If you only have one main light, you can put it on a dimmer switch to make the room feel more cozy, or alternatively you can start to experiment. Try using table or standing lamps throughout the room to create snuggly corners, or candles or string lights around mirrors to reflect that festive light back into the room, Make sure you don’t make it too dark though, or you’ll end up with a large sleepover on your hands instead of a festive party!
Warm up the space with textiles
Even with lots of people in a room, it can still get chilly when you’re entertaining in winter. Introduce some warmth and texture to your living space to add a touch of luxury and make people truly feel at home. ‘Tis the season for elegant and comforting velvets, wools and faux fur! Plus, it’s hard not to be sociable with someone that you’re snuggled under a blanket with!
Decorate with conversation starters
One of the best things about going to someone else’s home is getting to peep at all their trinkets and treasures, right? So an easy way to get people chatting is to curate this yourself! Think family photos, coffee table books and ornaments that you’ve picked up from your adventures. These are the things that no one can resist commenting on – and you’ll be sure to bring a smile to someone’s face!