With the holidays right around the corner, I have been thinking about why some houses operate nicely for a celebration. It’s not the holiday-themed decoration as well as the food or beverage, because if the celebration is actually great, few remember those details.
For a designer, I’m always analyzing a space — yes, even during a celebration. (Don’t worry friends, I’m not judging, only analyzing!) A handful of items are really crucial for throwing a good party — music, light, food, beverage, and of course, excellent company — but a lot of them are secondary to great flow.
The best parties are those where there are lots of places for wandering, for hanging outside, for intimate conversations and for talking to new individuals. Your house might not be laid out for fun on a daily basis, however you can always rearrange the furniture to make it more party-friendly. And while you are at it, as it is a given that everyone always ends up in the kitchen, it’s also a good idea to search for ways to disperse the meals and pub tables to other rooms to inspire people to mingle.
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Lisa Borgnes Giramonti
1. A feeling of entry. I totally adore this room. I imagine walking to the house and seeing this view from the front foyer. I really like that the furniture isn’t blocking me visually, with a sofa facing the fireplace or the too-typical formal layout with two sofas flanking the fireplace. The path leading down the center and the two distinct seating areas make this feel more like hotel lobby or restaurant lounge than a living area; fabulous for entertaining.
2. Intimacy. When you’ve got a large space, it is important to place the furniture in small groups to produce a feeling of intimacy. A good guideline is to not set furniture so far apart you need to lean in across the coffee table to listen to the person you’re talking to!
Alix Bragg Interior Design
3. Multiple seating areas. Furniture arrangement can be hard, however this is a superb example of how to pull a room with dual seats areas. An open console separates the two seats areas while two sisal rugs clearly specify each space. I enjoy the runner and the second rug layered on the sisal carpet in the foreground. Layering mismatched textures and furniture help the room to feel more like the pieces have been collected over time and less like a store showroom.
Catalyst Architects, LLC
4. Downplay the TV. Even if your living room or living area usually has the furniture set out for television viewing, think about moving it around for a celebration. Blow Off the TV and organize furniture for dialogue. I really like how the 2 sofas are placed back-to-back to create 2 seating areas. Most men and women believe they do not have the space for this, but give it a try; you might be surprised!
5. Communal seating. This room includes back-to-back sofas too, but because it is a larger space, there’s also room for a sofa table between them. This space reminds me of some mountain ski lodge. It’s perfect for communal seating where everyone might not know each other, which also makes it perfect for entertaining.
Dick Clark + Associates
Back-to-back sofas with a lanky sofa table in between also functions with modern styling. This one feels like a contemporary ski lodge’s spa lounge.
Mandi Smith T Interiors
6. Circulation path. In case you don’t have the room for two seating areas with sofas, then consider setting a few armchairs at one end of the space and the sofa with extra chairs in the other. The two mismatched traditional rugs work well to tie the space together. They also create a transparent flow path from the door.
You can find so many ways to think about arranging furniture for entertaining. Throw the rules out the window and get creative. Perhaps you will find that you prefer your living area laid out this way all the time.
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20 Great Serving Trays