Tips & Tricks

Hosting the Holidays: Tips for Creating More Space in Your Place

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You’re finally ready. You’ve settled into your first place, have your first solid set of pots and pans, and maybe even a full spice rack. Now, you’re planning the menu and preparing the invitations: Thanksgiving. Your place. This year. Yep – you’re officially hosting the holidays.

But if you’ve never hosted a holiday party, inviting guests to venture into town, pack into your place, eat a huge meal and maybe even (gulp) stay the night, you’re going to need to make some modifications to your living space. Your pad now needs to serve multiple purposes for multiple people, which means the furniture you choose should be ready to pull double, and maybe even triple duty.

As you establish your plan of attack, be sure to think through the progression of the day, evening and weekend – how you’ll welcome guests to your place, on through to how you’ll feed, water, and host them for the night.

Warm Up Your Guests with Outside Furniture and Heating

The holidays are all about hanging out and catching up – so as opposed to other dinner parties you may have hosted, you’ll likely invite people over several hours before you serve dinner. If you’re tight on space, consider expanding to the outdoors. Even in colder weather climates, firepits, heaters, and cozy fur-blankets can warm up your guests, and add some cool seasonal style to your gathering.

Add Utility and Mobility with Rolling Bar Carts

In a small space, a bar cart can pull double duty as a cocktail station and service island – where you can keep appetizers, or even side dishes and utensils when the dinner table fills up. Be sure to look for carts that actually roll. You’ll be glad for the mobility when your place is filled with guests. And, an affordable bar cart is a strong candidate for some snazzy DIY.

PS 2017 Bar Cart

Threshold Gold Bar Cart

Congregate at Kitchen Islands

Buying a kitchen island for your Thanksgiving dinner is a smart option. People like to hang out in the kitchen, near the food, the action (and the wine). A kitchen island provides utility for food storage and food prep and can also act as social center, bar, and home for the appetizers you’ve hopefully asked your guests to bring.

Forhoja Kitchen Cart

Natural Breakfast Bar with Stools

Craftsman Kitchen Cart with Stools

Braxton Industrial Kitchen Cart

Pull Up A Pair of Kitchen Stools

A kitchen island is half as effective if you can’t sit alongside it. Some islands come with stool sets, but aftermarket stools are often more affordable. If you have a small space, consider folding stools or directors-chair style stools that add some style but can be moved out of the way if space is at a premium during your party.

Keira Folding Stool

Flash Furniture’s Bar Height Director’s Chair

Create Flexibility with Expandable and Extendable Dining Tables

If you’re expecting a larger number of people than your current table accommodates, you’ll likely need to shop for a new one. But don’t buy just for hosting the holidays. Be sure you’re purchasing a dining room table that fits your place over the longer term. Consider an option that is expandable for your party. Tables with leaves, or that fold down are great options. And don’t forget patio tables, or good ole’ folding party tables, which are great options if you’re willing to put them in storage after the big night. You’re likely to put a tablecloth on it anyway, so don’t worry if it doesn’t scream dining table. The number of seats is the most important thing.

Norden Extendable Dining Table

Mid Century Expandable Dining Table

Barricks Folding Table

Always Have Extra Dining Chairs on Hand

You almost certainly never need the amount of chairs you need when hosting dinner parties. And it can be uncomfortable, even awkward, if there isn’t a place for everyone to sit, or if one or two seats are super low or high. But you also can’t have a ton of chairs taking up room in your place. There are a ton of great foldable dining chairs options available. Like your dining table, don’t go for complete utility and settle for the old folding metal chairs from the high-school gymnasium. Think style and storage and choose a size that can hang or place in the back of a utility closet.  

Oslo Folding Chair

Oval Folding Chairs

Search for Chairs and Couches that Pull Double Duty

During holidays, guests spend a lot of time around the table and in or near the kitchen. But if you don’t have a ton of space, you want people to be comfortable in your living room. So look for comfortable, size-appropriate options (no single-seat, over-stuffed chairs, please), which can also convert to a sleeping option for guests who’ve come in from out of town, or decide last minute to spend the night.

iBed Convertible Ottoman

Novograts Brittany Sofa Futon

Leola Convertible Chair

Create Temporary But Cozy Sleeping Spaces

If you’re lucky enough to have space for an additional bed, don’t immediately rush out to the mattress store. Consider how often you’ll have guests after hosting the holidays and whether a permanent bed and dedicated mattress are the best options for your space. Convertible chairs, higher-end inflatable beds and even Murphy beds or wall beds are great choices when you need to convert space into a sleeping area, but don’t want to dedicate it to that purpose over the long-run. And don’t forget convertible futons, which are available in far more styles than you may be aware of. If you’re more comfortable with the traditional route, there are always great Thanksgiving mattress sales. Don’t just look at mattress stores, either – many furniture and outlet stores carry mattresses at deep discounts during the holidays, too. You may just have to deal with getting it back to your house. Lastly, no matter the direction you go with your guest bed, be sure to add good bedding. Nice blankets, mattress toppers, sheets, and pillows improve sleep and make any space look more inviting.

Insta-Bed Ez Queen Raised Air Mattress

Baton Rouge Full Wall Bed – Costco

LinenSpa 8″ Memory Foam and Innerspring Hybrid Mattress

You might be thinking – this is exciting, but it also requires a lot of last minute redistribution of space. That’s too much! Don’t sweat it. Get Dolly and we’ll give you a quick quote on delivering items from stores to your place (and on your schedule). We also offer labor-only services if you need help moving around that new wall-bed, or even adjusting your existing furniture layout to create the extra space you’ll need to accommodate your guests when hosting the holidays. We’ll get your home turkey day ready in in no time!

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