We believe the kitchen is the heart of the home. Therefore, in the midst of the house party season, you may be looking at your kitchen and wondering how it can work better when you’re the host. Entertaining comes with its own set of challenges and needs, and if you have guests over often, it may be worthwhile to adjust the form and function of your kitchen to account for a crowd rather than simply for your immediate family.
We have given you seven ideas to consider when creating a perfect party kitchen.
Open the floor plan
Nothing stifles the atmosphere of a party like cramming your guests in like sardines, so the first place to look is where and how you can open things up. An addition in your kitchen might be one solution, but even the removal of a wall to join two rooms can create a huge impact. Think about the kitchen floor plan, and how it allows people to move from area to area, and into adjacent rooms. Look out especially for bottlenecks- places where the main flow moves, but is too small or awkward for the flow to transition smoothly.
Add multiple counters
With all the prep work and cooking that comes with entertaining in your home, you’re going to need space. You also want to have enough open counters to set out food, and not have confusion over whether it’s ready to be devoured or if it’s still in your working zone. Multi-tiered islands are a convenient option, and don’t necessarily take up a lot of space. Adding more than one island, fitting in a long peninsula, or creating a long run of counter outside the work triangle are additional ways to gain surface area.
Include seating in the kitchen
Even for days you aren’t hosting guests, kitchen seating is a great element for any kitchen. The days of the kitchen table aren’t over, it’s just that the form has changed. The advantage of including seating in your kitchen is that family or guests can join you for conversation in the kitchen when you’re in the middle of preparing the meal.
Find space for a beverage bar
Photo: The Original Granite Bracket
More and more, we are seeing the need for a beverage bar in the first floor of a home, rather than relegated to the basement rec room. A corner or half wall can be converted to a bar in the kitchen, which is an ideal location for entertaining. A half wall constructed with a Hidden countertop bracket support your bar countertop from cracking when it is leaned on, and give the illusion the countertop is floating. You can also look at ways to combine your bar storage with your daily beverage needs (coffee, cold drinks, water). A small sink is also an ideal addition to the beverage counter. An under-counter refrigerator can provide the storage for beer, juices and other drinks. This can also be the home for your wine storage solution.
Photo: Modern Kitchen
Include lighting options
Lighting is a make-or-break element to any space in your home, but with all the tasks it handles in a day, proper lighting in the kitchen is a necessity. It’s important to include the correct type of lighting solution for each of the areas in your kitchen for what you intend to do there. If your kitchen is going to act as the hub of your parties, you’ll want to have a lighting scheme that can adjust through the day. Bright work lighting when you’re getting everything ready, aesthetic lighting for the party, and low lighting when the evening begins winding down and the party has moved on to other rooms.
Make cleaning up the easiest part
The reality of entertaining is that you also get saddled with the clean up. Whether you typically opt for disposable plates and cups or use your fine dishware, you’ll need a solution that makes the post-party clean up a no-brainier. Look for a hard-working dishwasher that can handle loads that may be a little more than full. Install a double waste basket pull-out near the areas where trash tends to accumulate during the party, or in an area that your guests can easily access. Work in a cleaning supply closet in your pantry or in a central location so that you’ve got a broom and cleaning wipes on hand rather than buried in the hallway closet or in an equally inconvenient place.