Hosting in the Home: Designing Your Space for a Winter Party 

Though the holidays may be coming to an end, the winter celebrations don't need to! Whether you’re hosting wine nights in, a January birthday, or baking get-togethers, the key to being a great host in the winter season is ensuring the comfort and relaxation of your guests while entertaining. Because outdoor space isn’t always an option for entertaining during this time, it's important to understand home design best practices for ensuring a superlative guest experience. So, call up your friends for a spontaneous get together and try out these décor and seating design tips!

Keep an island's length between the cooks and the guests 

Kitchens are the hub of the home, especially when cooking and serving food for your winter party. Having this space as open and functional as possible is necessary, so that you can whip up cocktails or cheese plates while catching up with friends and family. To avoid that “too many cooks in the kitchen” feeling, utilize the kitchen island as a buffer. Place seating options like chairs or bar stools for your guests to relax on the other side while you cook. If your kitchen island doesn’t currently have stools, try putting place settings in this buffer area, as an encouragement for guests to stand on one side of the bar.
Another kitchen island tip is to avoid overcrowding the counter space with too many hors d'oeuvres, appliances, or décor pieces. Allow your guests the room to make themselves comfortable, so they can sip on their drinks and chat with ease.

Kitchen island with seating.
Ashford at Mountain House

Dine and drive conversation around a table 

Once the food is prepped for guests, it's optimal to move the main course away from the kitchen island. While the kitchen island is okay for a close friend or two, if there are three or more guests, consider moving people to the table where the conversation can organically flow between everyone. If you love frequently having guests over for meals, we suggest that you consider circular dining tables. Here are a few reasons why they may be a great choice for hosting:

  • Everyone at the table can have direct eye contact with one another when having a conversation.

  • The round shape allows you to squeeze in a few more guests in a pinch.

  • Streamlined silhouettes can make the area feel more spacious.

Bonus Tip: Allow for approximately a 3.5 ft. distance between the edge of the table and adjacent walls, furniture, etc. for guests to be able to easily get in and out of their chairs.

Circular table in a dining room.
Trilogy at Wickenburg Ranch

Design the room with natural walkways  

Having friends over means that guests are ebbing and flowing throughout the house - from the kitchen, to the living room, to the bathroom. It's essential that your guests don't feel trapped in one room or corner of the house. To help ease anxiety about stepping over guests, or squeezing between chairs, here are some tips for creating a functional and walkable space for guests.

  • Optimize your entryway to handle guests' coats, bags, and more. Winter season requires thick clothing, but once your guests arrive, they’ll need to peel some layers off. Incorporate coat racks or storage spaces for your guests to easily set down their belongings as they enter your home and grab them as they head out at the end of the night.

  • Consider storing away large décor items that could get in the way of guests. If you have vases, house plants, or other household items that are bulky or easily breakable, consider storing them in a closet or closed room. Not only does that protect your valuables, but it eases the stress guests can have about maneuvering around homes where the layout is unfamiliar.


Allow guests to choose from a variety of seating options 

Some guests are natural entertainers, while others prefer more intimate conversations. This is especially important when hosting guests who may not be all acquainted with each other. Having options allows each person to choose a seating place that makes them feel the most comfortable in your home. Here some seating option to consider: 

  • One-person chairs, love seats, or ottomans - arrange them so that they are facing each other to create synergy 

  • Larger couches for groups to sit and mingle

  • Outdoor seating around a firepit to accommodate guests who enjoy stepping out for some fresh air and fresh conversation

Great room with fireplace and couches.
Shea Homes Colorado

Amplify the home with ambiance

The right atmosphere sets the tone of the home. Creating an inviting space can be achieved in simple ways that won't overpower the guests. Light some neutral or seasonally scented candles, like fresh pine, in your home. The key is to choose a scent that is noticeable but won't overpower your guests. Turn on some soft background music. Again, striking a balance is key. A simple melody or soft jazz can help fill silences without overpowering guests' conversations with one another. Lastly, try to design the space around a focal feature such as a fireplace which brings people together and creates a sense of intimacy.

Spaces for Living

We hope that these conversation area layouts can help you to keep up the winter celebrations far beyond the holidays. Want to find more ways to upkeep your home with our décor ideas, design tend trips, DIY project tutorials and more? Check out our blog here. Or, if you’d like to get more information about our new communities and homes that come with thoughtful designs, built for entertaining, sign up below to receive email updates.


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