How do you spend your Friday evenings? Do you like to head out for a meal with friends or do you prefer to get together at someone’s house for a bite to eat and a bit of downtime?
We might not be into hosting dinner parties like our parents did, but that’s not to say we’re not entertaining at home. Some of us are simply doing different things when we have friends and family over. From games marathons to Netflix and chill with takeaway or cocktails and Cards of Humanity, whatever your preferred entertainment agenda, is your living room set up to host?
The death of the dinner party?
There are homes in the UK where the traditional dinner party is alive and well but several food and drinks trends mean millennials may be more likely to host an altogether different kind of gathering. According to research by the Coop, there’s been a 54% decline in home cooking in the last 30 years. Add in that 31% of millennials can only cook a limited repertoire of dishes and it’s perhaps not surprising that cooking for an audience isn’t top of everyone’s to-do list.
Another trend coming in to play is many people’s preference to drink at home rather than dressing up and going out. A survey by Mintel found that 28% of young millennials (24-31) prefer drinking at home to going out. They may, therefore, prefer to watch sports with their friends along with some pizza or beers or mix up some margaritas and watch a movie together.
Then, of course, there is the growing number of people who don’t like to mix alcohol with socialising at all. In the heyday of the dinner party you’d head over to a friend or colleague’s house with a nice bottle and a bunch of flowers, but now the components of a great mocktail may be a better gift. According to Pinterest, searches for mocktails are up 244% on last year and sparkling water and natural juice recipes are also in demand as people turn to sober socialising and sober living.
A logical living room layout
Let your socialising preferences guide a logical living room layout and define your design priorities. If you love to have the girls round for binge-watching box sets and plenty of snacks, a large sofa with a TV as a focal point will serve you well. For gaming, you may need to think about some more relaxed seating such as beanbag and floor cushions. Love to welcome guests in with a mocktail or cocktail? If you can’t accommodate a table in your living room, you might want to think about opening up the space into your dining room too.
Another option is to give your guests the option to pop out for air by providing practical access to your outside space, this article has some lovely suggestions for creating an entertaining area that flows outdoors too.
Decorating and party set up
Whether you like to go crazy with themed decorating for a party or prefer to keep things relaxed but welcoming, you can make preparing for hosting easier by being mindful of simple changes you can make to get your space entertaining ready. Think of your living room furniture and lighting layout in layers. Which items of furniture can you lift out or move easily to improve flow in, out and around the room? Do you have small tables that can be moved to provide surfaces for drinks and snacks? Lighting can really help the mood for socialising. Is it easy to tailor your lighting set up so that it’s suitable for movie watching or board games? A mix of floor lamps and wall lights can help to set the right ambience or you could think about installing a dimmer switch.
And don’t forget to think about your guests’ comfort and temperature too. Would a couple of throws and blankets help you all to get cosy while you game or watch the TV? Would popping your window on the latch be wise if you’re going to have a lot of people in the space? It really is the small things that can help you create the perfect hosting room and prove that you don’t necessarily need a huge living room to have guests over.
What’s your ideal night in with friends? Do you love to cook them dinner and mix up welcome cocktails or would you prefer to order in pizza and sip soft drinks?