We appreciate the importance of being social now more than ever before, so we've pulled together some top tips on how to make your homes more sociable and have the potential to be the ideal entertaining space to welcome guests.
1. It's all in the layout
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Pop up bars and home DJ booths might be the first thing to spring to mind when you think about creating a home fit for entertaining but trust us - it's a clever layout that will really get your guests mingling. (Don't worry though - pop up bars come later!)
6 days a week it makes sense to have all seating facing the TV but for gatherings but it's a real conversation killer. Instead, position your sofa and armchairs facing inwards so that your guests face each other. Also, make sure they're close enough that your guests can hear each other over the music.
This layout can sometimes look like the furniture is floating randomly in the middle of the room. You can make this look purposeful by creating a clear 'zone' for the area. Large rugs work brilliantly as a visual boundary. Also, make sure you leave enough circulation space around the furniture so that guests can easily move from room to room.
For larger gatherings, consider adding in smaller separate seating areas too. This enables guests to break off into smaller groups for one-to-one catch ups.
2. Scale over size
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There's a common misconception that you need a very large home for it to be a good entertaining space, but this simply isn't true! Sure, there are limitations on how many people you can invite around at one point, but as long as you're smart with your layouts, furniture and storage - you're all set to entertain.
Scale is more important than size. Make sure you buy furniture that is proportionate to your home. I.e. we'd all love a huge dining table that seats 12-16 people, but if it takes up the entire room and you can't fit chairs in, it's not going to work and definitely won't leave room for dancing when you've had one wine too many.
3. Separate work and play
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You often hear us talking about how to zone your home, and there are so many ways to do this effectively.
Zoning your home with paint, flooring, rugs and partial room dividers are brilliant ways to easily differentiate your social home hub from your private working space.
Zoning with accessories and lighting will set the mood for the function - i.e. music posters and a drinks cabinet with some cool lighting suggests that this room is probably for socialising. Typology prints and task lighting will say: this space is strictly work only.
4. Go with the flow
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Whilst you want different spaces for different activities, it's important to keep a 'flow' throughout the house, especially if you wish to entertain in multiple rooms which aren't currently connected.
Section with glazing instead of doors, so not to block the connection and light, and continue similar decor throughout. This makes it clear where guests can go and where they probably shouldn't venture off to.
5. Take the party outside
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Glazing is the perfect way to separate rooms and spaces whilst keeping them connected. If you wish to have indoor/outdoor entertaining, then bi-folds or other glazing between the garden/terrace and the kitchen/dining/living space is a brilliant solution.
You don't need a massive extension to implement this. You could include french doors, install bi-folds or even go for a modern conservatory like the one above. Throw open the doors and your guests will have more room to throw some serious shapes.
6. Extra bums on seats
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It's important to have lots of additional seating, or furniture that can become occasional seating at the drop of a hat when you do have guests around.
These can be adjustable bar stools, pouffes, footstools, bespoke benches, ottomans or just an accent chair. There are plenty of ways to include extra seating that doesn't get in the way, or need to be put away when you don't have guests.
7. Set the mood with lighting
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Setting the mood is super important when entertaining and nothing quite puts an end to a party like switching on a bright light like they do at a bar's closing time!
Ambient lighting is key - just think about the soft glow in your favourite bar or restaurant for inspiration and how they use different levels of lighting to achieve it. A ceiling light is just a small part of a successful lighting scheme. You’ll want to make sure you also have mid level lighting in the form of standing lamps and wall lights as well as low level such as table lamps and even candles.
8. Fun focal point
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Depending on the entertaining space, it's always fun to have a quirky or different item or area that defines the room. This may be a home bar, a cabin in the garden next to a beautiful wood-fire oven or a projector and screen if you're hosting a cinema party!