Did you offer to host a holiday gathering this year? Whether you’ll be opening your home for Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s or another date to celebrate, there’s one thing that’s certain: your kitchen will likely become bustling hub as you create delicious dishes and invite people in to socialize. Now is the time to optimize this space by first considering all the elements of being a successful host; for example, seating people appropriately, spending time socializing with guests and maintaining a presentable space for entertaining. Will you check all these boxes on the big day? Believe it or not, having the best possible kitchen is essential to do so.  Here are five ideas to help you thoughtfully upgrade your kitchen and fully experience the joy of this holiday season.

1. Add a double-oven if you have multiple people cooking.

Having more than one cook in the kitchen can become a little crazy. You may find yourself developing a time-table to ensure that everyone has time to heat up their dish. Installing a double-oven can be the difference between being stress-free and able to socialize and spending the entire time coordinating chaotic preparation of everyone’s casseroles, cakes and more. While a double-oven is the one upgrade that has the potential to transform your kitchen into a haven for a host(ess) with most(est), an important word of advice: get a consultation on this as soon as possible. It may require a kitchen remodel. If it does, simply coordinate the cooking for this year’s event ahead of time (to eliminate any kitchen craziness); then, make your home kitchen-centric next year by adding the double-oven.


2. Invest in a larger kitchen table if your guest list is growing.

The holiday season is all about your loved ones, gathering around the table, talking, eating, laughing and enjoying one another. If you’ve got a moderately sized guest list, do your best to seat everyone in the most inclusive way possible. Investing in a larger kitchen table to accommodate more people will upgrade you from host to full-on entertainer. Your thoughtfulness in making this change will better facilitate conversation among guests, allow for more comfortable family-style dining and amplify the intimacy and warmth of the celebration. If you don’t have room to have a 12-person table year round, consider finding a table with leaves that allow you to expand a smaller 4-person set up to accommodate more guests as needed.

Dining Room

3. If your dishes have been less-than-clean lately: consider a new dishwasher

Have you been unloading dishes that are still dirty, still wet or simply not cleaned to your standards? If you purchased a previously owned home, your dishwasher could be nearing the end of its (approximately) nine-year lifespan. It may be time to upgrade, as you won’t want to worry about all that drying and scrubbing while you have a house full of guests. And for Shea homeowners, though you know the exact age of your appliances, you may want to think about how they’re suiting your current needs. It may be that you need to switch to a more spacious or more powerful dishwasher since feeding all those people means there will be significant number of dishes to be cleaned. Upgrading your dishwasher now could save you hours of clean up time as you’re hosting family and friends.  You’ll be glad you made the swap when you’re spending those hours making memories that will last a lifetime.

4.  Organize your cabinets artfully to expedite clean-up.

Compartmentalizing your cabinets will make the clean-up process quick and painless, as you’ll be able to enlist a little help – and many hands make light work! Upgrade drawers and cabinets with dividers. This way you’ll be able to give clear direction to helpful guests about where things belong. Another great way to upgrade cabinets is to turn them into décor. You can make this a DIY kitchen update by swapping certain doors out for hinged glass panels and display seasonal trays, festive dishes or sentimental items inside them. Get creative – cabinets can be the cornerstone for minimizing clutter and maximizing character in a busy kitchen.

Alondra at Esencia Plan 3 Dining Room

5.  Find a fridge fit to store a feast.

Large gatherings mean lots of food. Lots of food means lots of leftovers! All the turkey, stuffing and other yummy holiday delights need to stay fresh until it’s go-time. A refrigerator with French doors might be the perfect fix to for storing and accessing family-sized dishes with ease. And there’s no need to waste perfectly good “fast food” for a future dinner – save remaining food in a freezer featuring pull out baskets; it’ll be harder to forget about the homemade goods, so you’ll eat them when you’re in a pinch (instead of hitting a drive-thru).

The Knolls at Baker Ranch Plan 3 Kitchen

If you’re looking for a house that will be the ultimate home for the holidays, Shea 3D options allow you to choose your home’s layout based on your lifestyle and preferences. For example, if you always make everything on the menu when hosing gatherings, the Kitchen-Centric option that has a large island with plenty of room for prep work is right for you. The Entertainment-Centric plan that features a continuous living area for bigger gatherings where mingling might be more of the priority than the meal being served.

Whether you’re ready for a full kitchen upgrade or looking for a few simple DIY updates (take a look at our Pinterest for ideas!), Shea wants to wish you well on each of your upcoming, upgraded, holiday celebrations!

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