’m often asked why we chose our home? A floor plan that was not built in our area to walk through, until we had our own. One that has “5 floors with so many stairs,” and one that doesn’t have a dining room. The answer is simple. I scrutinized the on-line floor plan so much, that I did feel as if I had walked through it. Yes, there are some things I wasn’t expecting, like how big the play room turned out to be, so now it’s a play room/family room and the area our family pretty much lives in. Honestly, I had to guide our Designer from the Builder, because she was consistently lost as we were making design decisions. LOL! One of the reasons we did choose our home was because of the play room being just a few steps away from the kitchen. At the time of signing our contract, our youngest was just over a year old. I wanted to feel comfortable throwing some chicken in the oven or stirring a pot of spaghetti, knowing she was just down a couple steps in the playroom and not on a completely different level where I couldn’t hear or quickly see her. I know you’re thinking 5 floors?! What?! It’s actually very much like a split level, so it’s not 5 full floors at all. Other than our basement, the playroom is at the lowest level, then the kitchen, living room, den and foyer, then our bedroom, then the master bath and laundry room are up one step (HA!), then a few more steps up are my office/craft room and the girls rooms and bath. So, it’s not as big as you may think! Then the next thing I always here, is “WOW! There are so many steps!” Yes, while that is true, it is very rare that any of us go from the playroom all the way up to the girl’s rooms, except at night, when it’s time to put them to bed. So, I actually don’t think I’m getting my steps in on a daily basis from our house. HA!
The second reason we chose our home is to entertain. I absolutely love having people over and wanted a house that would flow. One that the kids could have their space, while the adults were able to mingle and not have little ones running around in circles around us. Our house definitely hit the nail on the head on that one! I chose not to have a dining room because our dining room was never used in our last house. Have you heard that before? Everyone stood around the counter regardless what areas I had ready for people to mingle or lounge. I would even put appetizers in other rooms, but I don’t think people ever saw them, because they planted themselves in the kitchen area. Which at times could get tricky when trying to pull things in and out of the oven or refrigerator. Now, we have an extended dining area that is part of the kitchen with an island that flows into the living room and now ALL our furniture is used! I absolutely LOVE it! We’ve easily had 70 people stand around the main entertaining area, while I was working in the kitchen and there were no catastrophes! Simply amazing, to say the least! HA! Plus, there have been a household of kids, but they’ve been happily playing in the playroom and not tripped over. Then of course, when the weather is nice, we can extend our gatherings to the deck, patio, or the kids enjoy running around in the grass, or playing on the playground. We just love that we can enjoy having all of our friends over without the added stress of feeling it’s too many people. We’re loving that everyone is comfortable and is having a good time!
While building, one of the things we opted for, knowing we love to entertain, was extending our dining area off the kitchen. As I mentioned before, we don’t have a separate dining room, so I wanted an area that could seat as many people as possible, but still be close by. I know many of you don’t have that option in your homes now, but if you’re building, consider making your dining/kitchen area even bigger than you originally planned. You’ll be surprised by how quickly the space is taken over, especially when you add company. If you have the space already, find a table that is proportional to your room, but also allows you the most seating as possible, but keep in mind that everyone has a personal bubble. To ensure adequate eating room for friends and family, follow the guidelines that interior decorators use. Allow at least 24 inches between chairs, as measured from the center point of the seat. For example, if each seat is 18 inches wide, a minimum of 6 inches between chairs will provide enough elbow room. If you have oversized armchairs, allow a few extra inches, or if you’re creating a formal dining space, allocate 30 inches. Furthermore, keep in mind you’ll want about 36 inches from the edge of the furniture to the wall to provide enough room for people to walk by when others are sitting down or to open a door or cabinet.
Once we moved in, I had to consider furniture placement and unfortunately some of the pieces I thought would work, we had to rehome. As I was placing our existing furniture and determining what other pieces we might need, I was considering the flow of the area from the kitchen island, table, to the living room. I didn’t want anyone to feel left out or swallowed up in a corner. I also knew, that at times the TV may be the center of attention as we’re watching a big game, but I still wanted to allow for conversation and not interfere with those who are die hard sports fans. I’m so happy we found these chairs at Arhaus because they were perfect for what I was looking for! (And no, I don’t receive any royalties for any plugs in this post. All of this is just based on my personal experiences and opinions). They are low, so they don’t block the outside view, and they swivel so anyone sitting in them could be watching the TV or turn and converse with those on the couch, or in the kitchen. We also chose a coffee table that could be used for extra seating if needed, or a perfect spot to put up your feet when watching a game! Lastly, I wanted to add a sofa table and décor to the back of the couch but didn’t want it to obstruct the view from the kitchen to the living room. This table is fairly new, so I’m still working on what I want to do, but I chose these pieces, because a pillow and blanket are close by for added comfort, and then the paperwhites add a nice touch of Spring, but are not interfering from what’s on the other side.
As you can see, when planning a party there are so many components that play an integral role in the comfort, flow, and enjoyment of your guests. Today, I’ve just shared with you tips for the layout of your home to allow for entertaining, but in my next post I’ll dive further into things you should always have on hand and what are some unique ways to add special touches to your event that guests will remember. Until then, I’d love to hear questions from you or what I’ve shared that will help guide you or what you’ve done to make your home “entertaining ready”!