Furniture and Centerpieces for Entertaining in the Home
Many people enjoy nothing more than the simple pleasure of entertaining friends and family within their own home. Some take it as elaborate as a formal dinner party with events, set meals, and dress up, while others may prefer a simple cup of coffee and discussion about day-to-day concerns or the latest episodes of their favorite shows. Whatever the occasion, entertaining in the home often requires specific furniture to ensure the proper comfort and entertainment of your guests.
While there’s nothing at all wrong with the traditional coffee table and sofa set up, you may find your reputation as a host vastly improved if you do make the investment in more iconic furniture.
In most settings, the family couch will probably be the first pieces of furniture that your guests will encounter. Even when hosting people for dinner, there’s a good chance your guests will congregate in the lounge before and after the meal, so ensuring your couch is adequate to the task is essential.
When looking at a couch suitable for entertaining, you need to consider the following attributed.
Size – how many people can use the sofa and other chairs at one time.
Comfort – how relaxed your guests will be on the sofa.
Appearance – how visually pleasing is your sofa?
Size is important as it will determine how many people you can host before additional seats are needed. If you intend to entertain a large number of guests fairly frequently, then invest in a couch that offers plenty of room. The size will also impact comfort – the more room guests have, the more they can stretch out and relax. Materials will also impact comfort, as more slippery synthetic materials may feel cooler initially to the touch, or make sitting awkward in certain kinds of dress. Appearance speaks for itself. Your couch must look appealing to guests, and also be a piece of furniture you're happy to sit upon.
This includes everything from the TV to your sound system and media players. TVs in particular are likely to be the most prominent thing the room after the couch, so make sure that it looks good and complements the room’s design well. Furthermore, if it’s going to be used as part of your guests’ entertainment, make sure it’s adequate to the task. A small TV isn’t really suitable if it’s supposed to be used by more than five people. Music systems follow a similar logic.
Games consoles and media players are a recent addition to entertaining in the home, and as such there is not yet as much idea as to how to use them effectively. In addition, they are not suitable for all occasions. Playing classy music on a stereo can get you pretty much anywhere and keeping a TV on can provide neutral background noise, but a games console still has the image of being too childish for more formal settings. However, you may find a casual, multi-purpose system that can meet the entertainment needs of any group of guests.
Fire Pit Tables
These are certainly amazing conversation and atmospheric pieces, although impressively, they also serve a practical function. A fire pit table is basically a table that has a fire pit in the center, providing a very cozy and primal centerpiece for your "Firetainment." The furniture is not without precedent – a central hearth has long been a fixture in many homes, and as many houses no longer feature fireplaces these make a perfectly acceptable replacement.
Most essentially, a fire pit table functions as a grill as well as a service. As such they’re perfect for entertaining guests all around a single surface, as the cooking can be done BBQ or even fondue style right in front of them. Furthermore, it forms a natural social hub for people to gather around, and can be downright delightful during colder winter months.
If you’re feeling creative, a natural conversation starter is to try and create your own works of art to decorate your home. These can be anything from portraits and photographs to sculptures. Naturally you want to make sure that they’re pieces you’re comfortable with showing off to visitors, and those who are sensitive to criticism may wish to consider an alternative avenue in case they get a review that they’re less than happy with!
Should you not have the skill or willingness to follow this route, you can substitute it with works of art by other people that you enjoy. While it may not be quite as personal, it can still help break the ice with guests and establish a creative and lively atmosphere.
When entertaining large groups of people, you don’t want guests huddling together in isolated groups, or keeping to one section of the house. As such, designating tables for specific areas will encourage guests to move around more, creating more opportunities for them to mingle.
Assign one table to drinks, one to savory foods, one to sweet foods, one to snacks, and a table for necessities such as cutlery, cups and plates. Ensure that they’re spaced far enough apart that guests need to move, but not so far apart that finding food and drinks becomes more of a chore than it needs to be. You can mark tables out with specific color schemes too, if you’re feeling fancy and organized. If you don’t have enough tables, consider buying cheap fold-away varieties that can be quickly set up and cleared away for use when entertaining at home.