It’s December, which means it’s the time of year when people are hosting gatherings in their homes more than any other. Holidays and other celebrations pile on top of one another into a whirlwind of hosting, entertaining, and general party chaos. And the kitchen is one of the main spaces for these gatherings.
Beyond being a place for food prep and clean-up, the kitchen is often the social hub of any gathering. Where better to socialize than the spot where the drinks are poured and the food comes out piping hot? Below we’ve outlined some ways for your kitchen to become a functional, beautiful space to entertain in – whether you’re looking for ways to best utilize your current space or are planning for an entire remodel.
Consider the workflow of the space.
When there are lots of people in your kitchen – no matter the size – it can become cramped and interrupt your typical workflow. Think about your own needs as the host and what you need to happen for the gathering to go smoothly. Arranging food, drinks, plates, etc. out of the main prep zone (often the refrigerator/stove/sink triangle) will make both food preparation and clean up smoother. Consider setting garbage bins out if somewhere accessible – especially if they typically sit inside a cabinet. The more you can move out of your own work zone, the better.
And consider the flow of the gathering.
Think about how you want the space to be used. Different choices can have their own trade-offs: i.e. setting out the food and drinks on the island could mean that no one can sit there. If you need those seats, where else can you set out food? Having a separate bar/drink area has the advantage of breaking up where people congregate. It helps break up the flow of the space since there are less people in one spot at the same time. It also helps to arrange the food in a way that doesn’t back up foot traffic. Can people circle around the island or a table? Avoid tight corners and dead-ends if at all possible.
Open up your space.
An open plan space – where the kitchen/dining room opens up directly to other living areas – is the most advantageous layout for hosting. It’s easy to see what everyone is doing and have a conversation, even across a room. If that’s not your reality, add seating and set out food in adjacent spaces. Also consider removing items that could add clutter to the party space: large toys, storage bins, etc. can be temporarily moved to another room to open up the party area.
Think about fun yet functional additions.
If you are working on or considering a remodel – especially if you’re a frequent entertainer – there are some extras that can be convenient to have built in to your kitchen. A warming drawer is nice to free up oven space. A separate ice machine, beverage refrigerator, and/or specialty espresso machine can be wonderful additions in a wet bar made for entertaining. Our favorite hosting workhorse of all is the Galley Workstation. While it certainly increases the everyday functionality of a kitchen, entertaining is where it really shines. It can be used for everything from food prep to food serving to a spot to keep beverages iced down and cool.
Of course, any kitchen is a hosting kitchen. You don’t need the latest gadgets or a full remodel to host and enjoy having people in your home. Your guests aren’t looking for a picture-perfect space, either. Even the most well-designed kitchen will end up with bags and wrappers strewn on the counters, empty cans and bottles by the sink, and a pile of dirty dishes by the end of the night. What matters most is a space and home that are warm and ready to welcome others into it – not the type of cabinetry or appliances they find when they get there.
If you’re interested in remodeling your own space or want more ideas on how to set up your space for entertaining, stop by our showroom or contact Bella Domicile to meet with one of our talented designers today! Call (608) 271-8241 or fill out an appointment request form here.