If you’re just like us, you love to have people over. But in our typical urban apartments and small living spaces, good advice on how to maximize space is always welcome.
Don't worry, we're not going to suggest you buy a mansion! All you have to do is maximize each square foot, store efficiently and use the available space in a creative way so that it can be used for multiple purposes according to your lifestyle.
Here are some simple tips to redesign for an evening.
First things first: the hallway
Let’s start with the beginning : the hallway. We often forget this place which turns out to be our guests' first contact with the house. They can be narrow, very small or simply inexistant and we tend to suffocate in them. It’s time to make room for your guests’ accessories! Put away your countless pairs of shoes, coats, bags and hats allowing your guests to feel at ease right from the start.
So clean your coat hook and other hooks – or even consider installing more – and provide enough hangers to accommodate everyone's coats. The good old-fashioned bed method as a wardrobe can always be very useful (in a tidy room of course!). Simply avoid a pile of coats on the entrance chair.
Let’s get practical
If you don't have a bench for your guests to remove or put on their shoes, consider placing a chair for the evening. It will come in handy especially in the wintertime when everyone has boots on. Add a nice cushion or a plaid blanket and you're done. It will feel like your hallway always looked that way!
Storage tip : use storage baskets. They fit well under a bench, a chair or a small entrance table, and allow you to hide unwanted items. We told you all about them in our Top Interior Design Trends 2019. Baskets are trendy!
It is always a good idea to avoid fragile objects. With three, four guests arriving at the same time, taking off their coats and with their arms full of bags and bottles for the evening, incidents can happen very quickly!
Sitting your guests
There are several ways to maximize seatings around a table. You can bring benches that you use elsewhere in the house, gather a few chairs and stools that you can place randomly around the table to create rhythm. It will be very charming even if they are disparate!
Setting the table
If you are expecting many guests, opting for shared meals may be a good idea! This will make it possible to set up a table with smaller plates and reduce items needed (multiple utensils, napkins, bowls, etc.). Instead, focus on beautiful dishes and serving bowls as centerpieces. You can also opt for small bites to serve on a large board in the center. There you go! You just made room on your table.
It is also always a good idea to opt for a tablecloth rather than placemats. This will optimize the seating around the table since placemats are often really big. With a tablecloth, you can squeeze your guests more tightly.
Don’t hesitate to use disparate dishes. If nicely displayed, they will bring colour to your table.
Avoid excessively large centerpieces. There is nothing more unpleasant than a large bouquet of flowers preventing you from seeing your neighbour across the table. We love flowers, but we do not need them at dinner. There is no doubt your dinner table will already be well furnished.
Finally, if there are too many of you around your small table, switch to the living room!
Receiving guests in the living room
There are many ways to arrange the living room to welcome friends and family to celebrate and share a good meal.
It is important to make sure several seating options are available so that everyone can be comfortable. In addition to the sofa, bring a few chairs, place several cushions on the floor and play with heights in order to create a friendly atmosphere.
Make sure to multiply the surfaces at your disposal to be able to place dishes, plates, and glasses with a coffee table, a console, and/or footstool.
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Lighting is a very important element when you are having people over. Maximize natural light during the day. Curtains should be wide open to let the sunshine in!
In the evening, if you are lucky enough to have dimmers on some of your lights, make good use of them! Otherwise, do some tests before people arrive to find the optimal lighting solution. It is not always necessary to have direct lighting (above the table for example). Instead, choose light from surrounding sources such as free-standing lamps or even lighting from other rooms. It will be much less aggressive for your guests.
Many small light garlands are available nowadays and these can be quite useful when wanting to create a cozy environment.
Candles are also good allies for a warm atmosphere as a centerpiece, on the coffee tables, or on kitchen counters. Have fun with different sizes, placing them on plates, with or without a candlestick! Simply avoid the ones with too much fragrance.
Cleaning up to get rid of extra stuff
Last but not least, in a wardrobe or a secret room put all your superfluous items. Clean up to lighten the surfaces suitable for a glass and the places where guests will be invited. You may even realize that some of your small objects are not needed anymore. Who knows?