However, some houses don’t seem cut out for
entertaining, particularly if the rooms are small, cramped and dark, so you may
think transforming your home into a social space would need an expensive revamp
that you just can’t afford.
But you really don’t have to break the bank to turn
your home into a party house, promises Christopher Dance, director and head
designer at InHouse Inspired Room Design.
“You may think major renovations are in order when
it comes to making your home the perfect place for socialising,” he says. “But
small changes can make a big difference”.
And Lucy Mather, interiors expert from the
furniture and décor store Arighi Bianchi adds: “My advice for anyone looking to
create the wow factor this festive season is to think about the overall look
you want to achieve and stick with the theme. So if that’s a slick and
sophisticated cocktail party, then think about the key pieces that will help
you get the look in your home.”
Here are some of the best ways to turn your home
into a party palace, without spending a fortune…
1. Look at the layout
For small get-togethers, Dance suggests hosts
arrange sofas and armchairs to face each other so no-one’s left out. “If you’re
planning a large party, you may prefer to move the seating to the side so your
guests can chat standing up, yet still have the option to sit down if needed,”
If you need extra seating in a small space, why not
buy – or borrow – a few comfortable and budget-friendly floor cushions, he
2. Create ambience through the right lighting
Dance says the type of lighting you need for
socialising at home will depend on the type of gathering you’re hosting. “You
should consider how to create an inviting ambience for your guests, which is
where lighting comes in,” he says.
So if you’re serving food, you’ll need adequate
light to allow people to see what they’re eating, but for more intimate and
casual gatherings, warm and cosy lighting will go down well, especially on
dark, chilly evenings, says Dance. “Opt for warm, low-level mood lighting
rather than large and cold overhead lights,” he advises, “and make use of the
dimmer switch if you have one. If you don’t, try illuminating with lamps rather
than a single main light source.”
3. Change the atmosphere through colour
Different colours can introduce different feelings
into the room and can really change the atmosphere, says Dance. “Try out paint
swatches or make digital mock-ups to see what everything will look like,” he
suggests. “Reds and oranges are a great option for evoking warmth, but if you’d
prefer a more calming effect then try out blues and greens.”
You can add further individuality with a feature
wall in a different colour, or even a mural. “Whatever you decide, pick the
colour scheme early on so you can have it in mind for choosing other elements
such as furniture and accessories,” adds Dance.
4. Use outdoor space
If you have French windows opening out onto a
patio, consider blending the inside and outside with some biophilic touches,
using designs and colours inspired by nature to add to your interiors, often
involving real plants, Dance suggests. “This is a calming décor and will
encourage you to spend more time in your outdoor space,” he says.
“If you don’t normally use your garden, then
consider installing some seating, a barbecue, or a pizza oven. In the summer,
relaxing in the garden can become a whole pastime on its own and even the
colder months are enjoyable with a log fire, some hot drinks, and stargazing.”
5. Create a home bar
The first step to creating a home bar on a budget
is deciding its location, advises Dance. For a kitchen bar, use your existing
cabinets and counterspace to save money, or install some basic shelving if you
need a little extra space.
You probably already have many of the essentials
you need for setting up your bar, like glassware and shot glasses for
measurements. For cocktail lovers, add a cocktail shaker.
“A home bar also acts as a visual centrepiece for your entertaining,” says Dance. “When it comes to decorating it, why not use what’s provided to you by the great outdoors? There are plenty of ways you can decorate seasonally, such as using acorns and pine cones in autumn, and fresh flowers in spring and summer. For Christmas, try decorating with sprigs of holly and mistletoe to create the perfect festive home bar. “
6. Why not opt for a drinks trolley?
They might sound a bit retro, but drinks trolleys
have actually proved hugely popular over the past few years, says Mather.
“They’re a great investment,” she says, “and can be used for entertaining and
to display your glasses and spirits when not in use.”
7. Don’t forget the important finishing touches
Little things that guests will see and smell are
important additional, and usually cheap, touches, and Dance says: “To create
the perfect laid-back atmosphere for socialising, small touches like scented
candles, comfortable throws, and side tables with ample coasters for drinks
will be appreciated by guests.”
And Mather adds: “Make sure whatever you buy for
home entertaining has longevity – invest in high-quality pieces you’ll use time
and time again.”