The Homeowner’s Holiday Guide to Great Hosting

When we ask homeowners what they hope to get out of a kitchen or living room remodel, one answer we’re hearing more often is, “I want a space to entertain.” Being able to host guests in your home and impress them is important for those who want to share the spaces they work so hard to perfect.

It’s November and that means it’s time to gear up for a season of quality time with family and friends. Whether you have relatives visiting from out of town or you’re just throwing a quick and casual dinner party for your coworkers, there are a few things you can do to make sure your guests are comfortable and entertained. 

Open House

Inviting people into your home can be stressful, especially if this is the first time you’re meeting your guest. Provide clear lines of communication, instructions on how to get to your home, and let them know what to do when they arrive. 

Now is when the old saying, “Mi casa es su casa,” is a good phrase to keep in mind. You don’t want your guests to feel restricted to certain areas or activities. Remind your guests that they are welcome to sit down or move from the kitchen to the living room. Here is where having an open floor plan helps — you won’t have to keep track of who’s in which room to snack and chat.

If there are areas of your house where you don’t want guests to wander, be sure to clearly establish those boundaries beforehand. Accidentally overstepping their bounds can make a guest feel guilty and uncomfortable immediately. 

Stock up on supplies

Running out of food or drink is a quick way to kill the mood or get your guests to leave. Chances are that’s not what you’re going for, so be sure to keep a full pantry. You can’t go wrong with a little wine, cheese, and charcuterie, but you’ll want a few options to keep your guests satisfied.  

Remember to be conscious of diet preferences and allergies. Vegetarian and vegan options are always recommended. Be sure to ask about food allergies before offering anything that might cause an allergic reaction. 

Sound and smell

Scent is one of the first things people notice when entering a space. If you really want to set the mood, light some incense, set out candles, or use an aroma diffuser. Candles complement fall and winter moods perfectly and the right scent can give sometimes give your guests feelings of comfort and nostalgia.

Another way to achieve an enhanced ambiance is through a great soundtrack. You don’t want to drown out conversations but rather provide something atmospheric to fill the space and prevent the dreaded awkward silence. 

Make a statement

Hosting guests is a great way to show your individual style and taste. By sharing your living space, you can help your guests get to know you and feel more comfortable in your home. Keep your favorite decorations front and center. Anything that has a story behind it is great to keep out for a conversation-starter. 

From a practical standpoint, you’ll want to make sure you have enough seating for your guests. Have a few comfortable stools or even folding chairs handy for when everything else fills up. A bar cart is tremendously convenient and gives you another chance to show off your style and personal taste. 

Save a space

We’ve all had the occasional surprise sleepover. It’s always good to have a bed prepared if one of your guests asks for a place to stay or just crashes. A dedicated guest bedroom is ideal, but a pull-out bed is second best for those short on space. Keep some clean sheets and towels and be respectful of their privacy. This is not to say you shouldn’t go about your normal business, just do so with your guest in mind. 

Don’t forget to have fun (DFTHF)

With all the stress that comes with hosting guests for the holidays, it’s easy to get lost in your attention to others. Once your guests seem situated, it’s important to step back and enjoy yourself a little bit. Relax and have a slice of that pie you spent all day preparing. The dishes can wait until tomorrow. 

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