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4 Tips to Ready Your Home for Entertaining Friends and Family

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With protections like vaccines and boosters in place, it’s now much safer to get together to see friends and family — which means prepping your home for guests. There’s lots of factors to consider when you’re planning to host, which is why it’s important to think about how to get your home entertaining ready. 

“Getting back to entertaining has been such a big topic,” says Chris Lux, a sales manager at Harth Builders, a design firm servicing Bucks and Montgomery County homes. “People are considering it with their remodels and what they want them to look like when they have guests over.” 

Harth Builders is one of the many vendors that will be appearing at the Philly Home + Garden Show on February 25-27 at The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks, presenting their advice on entertaining friends and family and the interior and exterior design trends homeowners need to know about. Here’s what Lux and Denise Sabia, Harth’s design and build consultant, have to say about the latest trends and tips to make your home an entertaining hotspot. 

Consider Your Space

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In any renovation project, it’s important to think about how you plan on having people over to your home — and where you’re going to gather. 

“Over the past few years, there’s been a much greater focus on spatial planning,” Sabia says. “Folks are looking at their space to figure out how they can make more efficient use of it and get more of what they need. For example, people are looking at unused spaces in their homes and considering how they can use them for entertainment.” 

In addition to imagining where you’re going to host everyone in your home, you also have to think about how to make them feel most comfortable.

“Spatial planning and thinking about the volume of people you’re expecting consistently is so key,” Lux says. “We have a saying, ‘first floor flow,’ which means reworking interior spaces so that they flow better. For instance, you can designate space on your first floor for both kids and adults so that you have defined areas for when guests with families come over.” 

Configure Your Outdoor Living

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During the pandemic, creating a welcoming space became more important than ever, meaning decks, patios and fire pits have been all the rage. 

“It’s important to look at how indoor and outdoor spaces connect to one another and the benefits of that flow,” Lux says. “People are looking to install items like heaters, large TVs and barbecues to make the outdoors a place to gather — and making accessories like ice makers more centrally located around being outside.”

Courtesy of Linda McManus Images

If you plan on entertaining guests outdoors, it’s important to make sure your spatial planning is sound. The last thing you want when guests are over is for them to feel bunched together when moving around your home. With this in mind, Lux recommends that the pathways in and out of your house be wide enough for multiple guests to pass each other without any crowding. 

Modernize Your Kitchen 

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Kitchens are a gathering place and a prime spot to entertain. But the days of large open kitchens are in the past, with design trends shifting more on the side of functionality. Lux notes that rather than a large open kitchen, people would much rather have interconnectivity between the rooms in their homes. 

We’ve found that people like their kitchen to be visually open but not completely physically open,” Lux says. “That means designs where the focus is on having people together as well as a visual connection among different spaces in the home.”

To Lux’s point, accessories have been a major trend — in its projects, Harth has installed refrigerated drawers for specialty beverages and designed islands to accommodate large groups. 

“The kitchen has long been the axis of the home,” Lux says. “If you’re having people over, you want to have kitchen space and storage designated for those requirements.”

Plan For the Future

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Just because you make a renovation doesn’t mean it’s permanent. What you want out of a space now might evolve into something else later on. When consulting with a builder, it’s important to be open about what you want.

“If you’re not upfront in the design process, you’re going to get to the end of it and have to find ways to cut things,” Lux says. “The intention of a design is rarely short-sighted.”

Ultimately, the goal of a redesign or renovation is to fit to the specifications of what a homeowner wants. It’s the place we spend the most amount of time — and what our friends and family see when we invite them over. 

“It all boils down to making your house more comfortable,” Lux says. “Throughout the design and remodeling process, a designer’s job is to talk to people about how to make their house their favorite place to be.”

For more information on the Philly Home + Garden Show at The Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks and to buy tickets to interface with vendors like Harth Builders, head here. For discounted tickets, use promo code PHILLYMAG.