Entertaining guests at home can be a challenge for the unprepared and the organized. However, a bit of forethought and planning ahead can make for a pleasant experience. The right combination of activities, food, and theme can provide a pleasant experience for guests and homeowners alike.
Utilize Your Strengths and Preferences
Planning a party is easier for homeowners who have an honest assessment of what they can do well and what they enjoy doing. Cooking is a major example; cooking for guests is a great choice for homeowners who enjoy cooking and are great at it; other homeowners should consider ordering take-out or delivery for their sakes and their guests’ sakes. Having a firm grasp of why the homeowner wants to invite friends to their homes will help them make the most of their space; a home-theater showing of a recently released movie will have significantly-different logistics from a backyard barbecue.
Install a Fire Pit in the Backyard
An outdoor fire pit can provide a pleasant, year-round gathering place for guests. Because the fire pit generates heat, it can be used even during the colder months. The fire pit also generates intense light, which can be both useful and pleasing after the sun sets. Wood-fueled fire pits are suitable for cooking (note that this is not true for propane-fueled fire pits).
Having a gazebo for your outdoor dining needs is almost a must these days. In the hot days of summer you will need a place to eat outside that provides shade. In the evening hours you can dress your gazebo up with lighting and make it the centerpiece of your backyard. Brands like Sojag from Shelter Logic provide a higher quality option than is easy to install.
Plan Meals in Advance
Whether homeowners order food from a restaurant or prepare the meals themselves, they should time their efforts so the meal is ready before the guests arrive. Preparation includes having the dining area clean and set. Accomplishing this beforehand allows the homeowners to focus more on their guests and less on distractions such as checking ovens or requesting estimated times of arrivals from delivery drivers.
Establish a Place to Store Coats and Other Items
Homeowners whose houses include a closet near the main entrance should set up the closet as a coat closet to store guests’ coats, bags, and other items. Adding racks and dividing units such as lightweight shelves will make storing and retrieving guests’ belonging easier. Homeowners without an easily accessible closet can use coat racks as an alternative.
Use Lights and Music to Set Moods and Themes
Discretely lowering the light levels can create a more relaxing environment for guests. The simplest way to accomplish this is with a dimmer switch, though candles and hanging lanterns may be a better fit for the party’s theme. The choice of music can also have a strong influence on guests; slow, gentle melodies can be relaxing, while upbeat, intense music might increase the group’s energy.
Provide Spaces for Guests with Multiple Interests
The larger a party becomes, the less likely that one area or activity will interest the entire group. Homeowners with sufficient place should anticipate this and set up areas of their house to accommodate their guests’ preferences. A common sitting area for socializers is a must, though a game room that includes a pool table, a poker table, or an environment for a similar group activity will sit well with those seeking friendly competition.
Be Ready to Improvise
No event, regardless of how well it is organized, goes according to plan. Homeowners will need to be flexible, creative, and accommodating to please guests, to keep the party lively, and to protect their homes. Whereas worrying about negative scenarios may be a mood-killer, performing some degree of preparation – such as alternate meals or snacks for guests with undisclosed food allergies – can be a useful expenditure of time. Homeowners will need to be creative and persuasive to nudge curious or intrusive guests away from restricted areas or topics. And homeowners will need to ensure that guests feel heard and engaged lest they depart early.
The most important party tip is to remember that the end-goal is not to stick to an agenda, but to entertain the guests. Whether the gathering is as casual as watching a football game on the television or as formal as a wedding anniversary, homeowners should make the most of their living spaces, strengths, and inventories to ensure a delightful experience.