Entertaining in 2020
Illustration by Rachel Joanis
Intimate affairs are the new normal this season, as we all seek the warmth of home and the company of those near and dear to us. With safety still being top of mind, this entertaining trend promises to be about appreciation and a little indulgence. If you can’t treat 25 of your friends to a fun party, why not treat your social bubble or those in your immediate household to a truly fabulous, intimate event?
When it comes to hosting a great soiree, there are three key elements to consider: Consumables (food and drinks), entertainment, and last but certainly not least, ambience. As a designer, ambience naturally tops my list, as the overall look and feel of the space will lay the groundwork for the evening ahead. Here are some style layering tips to help set the mood in your home for an intimate soiree.
Yes, you can and should move furniture for your event. While this is a common go-to strategy to accommodate large groups of people, a small gathering can also benefit from some strategic furniture placement. There’s nothing more awkward than people “floating” aimlessly in the room, and furniture placement allows you to usher guests into certain areas of the home. This may include an appetizer table in the kitchen, a beverage station in the den, a music/media area for audio and video requests, and areas throughout for guests to chat and chill.
Evaluate your space and take note of fixed focal points such as a fireplace or window with a great view. Now, create furniture vignettes around these, with facing chairs or couches, and some small tables throughout for guests to rest their drinks and dishes. Leave enough room between vignettes to allow the flow of traffic. Pay special attention to hot spots such as buffet tables or appetizer areas.
Regardless of the size of your soiree, ensure you have sufficient seating to accommodate every guest. You can always borrow a few pieces, or consider investing in some staples such as poufs, ottomans or a small accent chair. These will come in handy for your gathering and will help fill in those empty corners after your guests have all gone home.
Layers of lighting
The right lighting can make or break your party. Create a sense of warmth in your space by dimming the overhead lighting and layering in some table and floor lamps. Light up dark corners, and make every room sparkle with simple strings of white lights, mirrors and reflective materials, and the flicker of real candles – under supervision, of course.
Just because your gathering may be small in size, doesn’t mean it should fall short in any way. Kick it up a notch by paying attention to the fine details. As I always say, there’s no detail too small, and collectively it’s the little things that will make all the difference. Whenever possible, personalize it – nametags on your guests’ wine glasses, place cards at the dinner table, and a parting gift “just for them” will ensure your guests feel appreciated.
Entertaining will look a little different this coming holiday season, and while we’re still getting used to this new normal, we’re yearning to reestablish those warm, close connections with our inner circle. With some thoughtful planning and creative solutions, your intimate gathering is sure to be a huge hit.
Kate Davidson, is the Founder and Principal Designer of Kate + Co Design.
For more than a decade, the multidisciplinary interior design firm has been providing complete residential and commercial design services throughout North America. Kate + Co is known for creating luxurious liveable interiors.