As the holidays continue to creep up and we begin to prepare our homes to entertain family members of all ages, now is the perfect time to talk about fabulous, yet functional, design tips. This topic is extremely important to me because I am a big champion of the idea that families with young and rowdy kids should not have to sacrifice interior design that is fit for the adults in the home.
With that in mind, here are three easy ways to get your home in shape for holiday entertaining for your gang of rambunctious cousins, perfectly polished aunts, football-watching uncles, fabulous in-laws and lovely grandparents.
Here are my top three strategies when designing a home to entertain for all ages, all year round.
Wide, Open Spaces
Let’s start with the layout. An open floor plan allows for a natural flow between common areas like a living room and kitchen. I recommend taking time to strategically arrange furniture in a way that divides the spaces visually. This way, the eyes easily rest and it is easy to tell where one section ends and the other begins.
This also creates the ability to close off a specific space if needed. For example, when guests bring their children, having a flexible furniture layout can easily help designate a play area for the kiddos. Here are some samples of how I’ve done this with my clients.
In the design above, the area rug and horizontal shelving create the divide between the living room and the dining room. This layout works perfectly for daytime playdates, allowing children to go bonkers in the living area while parents chat in the kitchen (photo is taken from kitchen looking towards family room). This layout is also great for dinner parties, allowing for a natural flow between all common areas downstairs (living room, dining room and kitchen).
In this design (above), the original layout included just two main areas: the kitchen and one large, open space…oh, the possibilities! I’m a big believer in using every square inch of a space to its full potential, and this is a great example on how to achieve that. After exploring several possibilities for the layout, our team and I comfortably created three separate sections in what once provided just two: bar, living, and dining.
This image is taken from a fun bar/wine area in the home (image below).
When entertaining, there’s always the risk of spills (with any age group!) wreaking havoc on your lovely upholstered pieces…the horror! So, from one homeowner to another, I strongly encourage investing in durable, stain-resistant fabrics, like Crypton fabric, that can take on any and all messes life throws at you. Whether it’s a spill from a grape juice pouch or a glass of red wine, stain-resistant fabric has saved my interiors from disaster numerous times.
This image (above) is an interior from Meredith Heron using her gorgeous fabric line for JF Fabrics, all using Crypton technology.
The image below features adorable lounge chairs in fabric from Stroheim and Romann which, while not a Crypton fabric, has quite the pattern so it will do a great job of hiding anything we don’t want to see.
Last, but certainly not least, an entertainment-ready home needs a quality entertainment system! At the outset of your new construction or renovation project, you should consider investing in a professionally integrated AV system.
We recently had Relative Home Systems install a Savant system in our “new home,” and my husband and I love it. Even Liv and Ryan can use this system, and they are four! Now, we can operate the entertainment system from anywhere in the house with just a couple of remotes meaning I can “magically” turn the kid’s TV off when screen time is up.
Tech looks best when it is not fussy, but seamlessly integrated into your home. Our client’s family room (below) is for hosting friends and family, but also for TV watching and lounging. We are not fighting the fact that this room has a TV watching purpose and quietly located the TV where it made the most sense. What you don’t see are huge speakers or any of the AV equipment. All of the components are discreetly tucked away.
So, with smart space planning, performance fabrics and a smartly designed entertainment system, your home will not only be perfect for the holidays, but will ensure you are prepared to entertain year round! For more interior design inspiration, head over to my Pinterest and Instagram. It’s where I keep all of my favorites.