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Entertaining 101

I truly feel it’s important we’re proud of our homes. They’re a reflection of who we are and who we aspire to be. One way to share this pride in our selves and our surroundings is by inviting people over. Your home should be a place you feel comfortable in, a place you enjoy coming home to everyday and a place where you love entertaining family and friends.

Here are a few tips on how to make your home more inviting for guests this fall:

Step 1 – Determine the Type of Event

Are you someone that prefers a casual get together, a formal dinner party, maybe an HBO marathon or World Series event? Deciding on the type of get together you’re throwing helps narrow down which areas of your home to make most inviting.

Step 2 – Create Zones

People inevitably gravitate towards the kitchen so be sure and prep that area regardless. A good host is attentive but doesn’t hover over their guests. Unless you’re hosting something more formal, I always recommend stations for drinks and appetizers where guests can help themselves. This also ensures you can step away from hosting periodically and engage in good conversation yourself.

Wherever else in your home you expect people to gravitate – think living room, dinning room, basement, outdoors etc. – be sure and create comfortable areas that inspire conversation and connection. You may want to include different activities or games by zone so guests can casually break the ice or entertain themselves.

Step 3 – Arrange Seating

Different chairs work for different situations and different people prefer different chairs. Some like curling up on a cozy sofa while others prefer something more rigid and formal. No matter what type of event you’re hosting make sure your seating is comfortable.

Multi function furniture is never a bad idea. Think stools that double as extra surfaces for drinks and vice versa as well as large pillows or ottomans that can serve as extra seating for those that prefer being closer to the ground. The proper use of different seating at varying heights gives people options based on what makes them most comfortable.

Unless you’re hosting a media related event, try not to focus the seating arrangement around the TV but instead the people conversing. I always encourage clients to float furniture in a room day to day but especially when entertaining as opposed to lining the walls. Proximity is better for conversation, it’s also more inviting and visually interesting.

Step 4 – Dry Run

Test your seating area and zones from different vantage points. Make sure there are enough side tables and coffee tables to place food and drinks. Also ensure these surfaces are easy to reach without straining or moving too much. You may want to incorporate furniture from other rooms or pieces tucked away in storage if needed.

Play around with music and lighting levels to ensure both are conducive to good conversation. Turn on floor and table lamps over bright overhead lighting. Use candles etc. to soften and warm the space. Low lighting complements skin tones and allows people to feel more comfortable therefore making your home more inviting. If you don’t have them already, invest in a few dimmers to dramatically change the ambience of any room in your house.

Step 5 – Finishing Touches

After making sure my place is set up and tidy I always strategically place plants and flowers within the zones I’ve created. Design is in the details and little things go a long way. Be sure and keep centerpieces low whether on a coffee or dinning table to ensure an unobstructed view and encourage eye contact. Another nice tip is to have smaller arrangements, even a single flower, in your bath or powder room to ensure it’s equally inviting and not forgotten.

If I haven’t harped on this enough, your space is a reflection of who you are, so make sure your personality is well represented throughout. Have fun with your style and how you’re reflected in your home. No one expects perfection and there’s something very inviting about “perfectly imperfect” décor. Fun elements can only help put your guests at ease and encourage them to have more fun as well.

Most importantly, if you’re comfortable at home your guests will be too so don’t stress over minute details or the success of your event. By giving off an effortless, carefree vibe your guests will be sure to relax and enjoy themselves as much as you do!

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