Over the 15 years of hosting family birthday parties in our home, I’ve learned how to transform my home from its everyday setting to a place for folks to converse, eat, and relax.
With 7 people around the dinner table each night and 4 around the breakfast table each morning, we always have plenty of seating for parties. I use the $40 Ikea Parsons chairs for both tables. They’re more narrow making it easier to fit more chairs around the table. Being completely wood, the chair clean up very easily, and a dab of dark brown shoe polish hides the knicks and chips.
In our living room we have a small bench on one wall that doubles as additional seating for 2 people. During the week, we use it for craft storage, which I clear away to our master bedroom for parties.
When doing buffet style parties, I scatter the chairs in the living room with a few in the dining room. I don’t leave any in our kitchen to ensure there’s plenty of space for last minute food preparation.
If you don’t have as many chairs as we do, see if some of your everyday items can double as seating for parties. An ottoman works for storage, a coffee table, and seating for 1 or 2 people. A bench doubles as seating and storage.
Clear the Decks
Of course, always tidy up the house before having company.You can focus on enjoying your guests without worrying whether someone will bump into your 10 year old’s latest Lego creation perched precariously on a side board. Aunt Sally won’t accidentally slip on the pile of library books sitting near the stairs.
Clear the kitchen counters. Before every party, I put items that live on our counters during the week down in the basement. The washing machine and dryer are perfect staging areas since these are usually clutter-free anyway.
We set up our beverage station (url) in the kitchen on the baking counter after the mixer is removed. The main counter serves as the prep area for the meal and the collection area between clearing the meal and serving dessert. If we use real china, glass, and silverware, I set up bins on the counter near the dishwasher to make it easy to load the dish washer with dirty party items.
Make use of existing furniture for food buffets and hot food serving areas. Since the wall behind our buffet in the dining room has an outlet, I always set up the hot plate and crock pots on our buffet. The remaining food, plates, napkins, and silverware go on the dining room table.
Have a Plan for Putting Stuff Somewhere During the Party
When people come to your home, they will need to put things somewhere whether it’s their coats and bags or the presents they bring. Anticipate what may come into your home depending on the weather and purpose of the party and set up a spot to keep these items near by yet not in the middle of the party.
Our very old home has no front hall or coat closet in the main areas of the first floor. Instead, I put all coats and jackets in our master bedroom which is also on the first floor. If it’s a rainy day, I’ll lay down rag towels on the bed first to protect it from the coats.
What are Your Tips for Setting Your Home for a Party?
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