5 Essential Features for Easy Entertaining

What makes one house ideal for entertaining, while even a small dinner party is a challenge in another?  The amount of space plays an important role, but often it's the way the space is arranged that really makes a difference.

The best homes for entertaining are designed for:


1. Easy Traffic Flow
Traffic flow refers to the way people move throughout the house. Good traffic flow means that there are logical pathways through a floor plan that do not cut across work areas, through furniture clusters, or through personal spaces. People move easily from the front door to the main gathering area without having to detour down narrow hallways or through other rooms. Once guests are in a room, they can navigate in the space easily without bumping into furniture. At least three (preferably four to five) feet is required for traffic flow through rooms, and two to five feet is needed between chairs and sofas in seating groups.


2. Both Sociability and Intimacy
Even large parties generally break down into fairly intimate conversation clusters. Entertaining spaces should include open areas and furniture to accommodate a group of people, as well as well-placed, comfortable chairs for one-on-one conversation. The powder room should be discreetly tucked away from the primary traffic flow for greater privacy.


3. Wonderful Ambiance
The best entertaining spaces elicit a feeling. They may be cozy, elegant, chic, artsy or relaxed, but they are never sterile. The quickest way to give a room character is to orient it around a focal point, whether it is a fabulous view of the outdoors, a stunning piece of artwork or a beautiful fireplace. Consider the view both entering and leaving rooms and make sure the sight lines create the desired effect.  


4. Functionality
Well-designed homes can make the work of entertaining a little easier by providing smart storage and work zones that make it easier to complete tasks. If you entertain frequently, you need a storage area for serving dishes and utensils close to the kitchen. Kitchen storage should be a priority so that counters are kept uncluttered for food preparation. Unless you plan on doing all the work yourself (and can somehow keep guests out of the kitchen), plan for wider corridors around central working areas in the kitchen to accommodate more than one cook. Also, consider how you plan to serve your food. Great entertaining spaces have serving zones equipped with built-ins or tables so that food may be set up in close proximity to dining or mingling areas.


5. Easy Maintenance
The best entertaining spaces are virtually worry-free. Instead of wall-to-wall carpeting that could be stained by a spilled glass of wine, consider hardwood floors. Instead of adding a built-in serving area with a wood top, consider going with a more durable solid surface. If you love high ceilings, install light fixtures that easily lower whenever you need to clean or change a bulb. You'll entertain more if you know that pre- and post-party clean-up is a snap.


Want more ideas?  Give us a call to find out how we can make it easier to entertain in your home.