Summertime means getting together with friends and family. Longer days and warm weather are natural catalysts for congregating, swimming, playing games and barbequing. Some people are born with a fully-realized hospitality gene and “Drop by anytime!” is instinctive for them, but most of us need some preparation before we’re ready to throw a summer get together and bring people into our home.
Organization is key to any successful event, planned or impromptu, so if your first thought is “Yikes!” when you realize you invited a crowd over in a moment of sun-induced mellowness around the neighbor’s pool, here are five tips from Tailored Living® to help you host your summer get together in grand style.
Believe it or not, there are actually space formulas created by very OCD party planners for how much space, per capita, you need for a gathering. This may be valuable for an art gallery opening or a coronation, but for an intimate in-home get together you can probably focus on making sure the party space is organized and clear of clutter, providing freedom of movement, access to food, and places for people to cluster to talk and eat.
With summer weather, the indoor/outdoor lines get blurred and people will flow in and out of the house, so you probably have more space than you realize for your guests to enjoy themselves.
- If the party’s outside on a patio, deck or around the pool, make sure the entire area is safe for walking without tripping over pool toys, deck chairs, tables, plants, etc.
- If it’s a sit-down dinner, you may need extra tables so everyone has enough “elbow room” for dining. (Hint: Unmatched tables will coordinate beautifully with matching table cloths and centerpieces.)
- The garage can be used for entertaining when the space is clean and uncluttered, with custom garage storage cabinets and flooring that makes it an extension of your home’s living space.
Sufficient Comfortable Seating
In the old 60s movies, everyone stood around at cocktail parties with a drink in hand, but in reality your guests will want to be able to sit down without playing a clandestine game of musical chairs. (“You got up…now this space is mine!”)Even though your family may be comfortable piling five on a couch to watch TV, guests who may or may not know each other very well will want some personal space when seated.
For both indoor and outdoor, make sure there is enough seating space and that it’s comfortable. Bring in desk and occasional chairs from other rooms to populate wherever the crowds will gather. Bean bags, ottomans or poufs can provide additional seating as well. For outdoor seating, invest in weather-resistant outdoor fabric cushions for folding chairs, benches or pool chairs. Using matching or complementary colors and patterns will pull the space together even if the chair styles are different. While we’re on the topic of comfort, sometimes the hot weather can be a lot for some people to deal with, especially within the home. With this being said, this is why ensuring your air conditioning system (if you have on) is working properly. And if you don’t have one installed, it may be time to look into sites like https://moreventservices.com/ to help solve this issue. We’re sure the guests and even yourself will appreciate it in the summer months.
Part of comfortable seating is strategically-placed side tables where your guests can set drinks and plates. If your gathering is informal with paper plates and cups, post clean, lined trash cans so guests can easily deposit their trash. This is especially helpful when children are involved; they can stash their trash and keep on moving!
Sun and light control
For a daytime get together, you want to ensure that you have sun control measures in place with awnings, screens or shades that will block the sun’s glare and burning rays. Not everyone will want to sit and soak up the sun, so shaded areas are a must on a deck or patio. At night, you want to light up any dark corners or shadowy walkways for safety and a more pleasing ambiance. Fire pits, Tiki torches, outside fireplaces and Lampioni da Giardino (garden lamps) give a warming glow; candles or strings of decorative lights add an extra festive touch to your everyday outside lights.
Inside, any hallways or bathrooms should have night lights or candles to help guests find their way.
Gatherings mean food—generally lots of food! Planning a menu ahead of time and stocking the pantry is important to ensure you’ll have what you need for the party, such as candied pecans for the salad and capers for the lemon-caper chicken sauce. Be sensitive to what your guests like and have a variety of adult beverages, diet and regular sodas, herbal teas, sparkling waters, regular and decaf coffee and a flavored creamer or two. Sweet and salty snacks like chips, nuts and chocolate will please most palates, and fresh fruit and veggie trays will provide guilt-free, healthy snacking.
Plan for 10 percent more food than you think you’ll need. You want to spend time with your guests and avoid frantic trips to the store. (Plus, any leftovers will make feeding the family a little easier for the next couple of days.) A large get together may challenge your ice maker, so stash a couple bags of ice in the freezer or an ice chest so you won’t run out.
If your get together has a theme such as a birthday, shower or pool party, activities may organically take care of themselves. But if children are involved, you’ll want to have some age appropriate options to accommodate short attention spans and boundless energy. “Kid zones” with puzzles, movies, picture books for little ones and a variety of games will keep the kids occupied while the adults relax and socialize. Zig saw puzzles are popular as a group activity, so set up a table with a couple of chairs and a fun puzzle that anyone can take a turn at putting together. (No impossible 1,000 piece Dalmatian or Where’s Waldo? puzzles!)
Organization is the key to gracious living
Entertaining is both fun and challenging. The more organized a home is, the easier it is to flex with planned activities or interruptions, and you may discover you have a hospitality gene after all! Tailored Living can help with getting your whole home organized and maximized with custom storage solutions to make summertime more fun time.
- Custom closet systems will keep bedrooms neat and utility closets fully functional.
- A Murphy Bed will effortlessly accommodate visiting relatives or surprise overnight guests.
- An entertainment center keeps the kids’ games, movies and toys accessible yet out of sight.
- An organized pantry makes meal preparation and grocery shopping a pleasure instead of a chore.
- A storage-rich laundry room will streamline the process and lighten the work load.
- Garage storage cabinets will maximize storage space for the whole family and organize sports equipment, gardening tools, hobby and craft items, car care supplies and more.
- PremierOne® garage flooring can turn your garage into usable living space for a home gym, Man Cave or media and game room with durable and easy-care custom flooring.
If you need help with any home storage or organization issues, call 866-641-8958 (US) or 866-973-8221 (CAN) today to schedule a free, in-home consultation or go online to www.tailoredliving.com to find a designer near you. We’re the experts with closets, home offices, laundry rooms, entryways, garage storage and more. Ask about any special sale events and see how much you can save!