Dinner parties have always been a big deal—however, they have also been a lot of fun. It's always nice to have friends over, so that you can catch up with them, and chat away the evening. And even if you're hosting someone a bit more important, like your boss, you'll eventually settle into a good rhythm and unless something goes horribly wrong, a good time will be had by all.
But what is the secret to the perfect dinner party? The food. However, following that at a close second, we have the setting. Having a dinner party at a restaurant is fine, if a bit impersonal. If you want it to be really memorable, there's no better place than the comfort of your own home. And if you're worried that your home isn't up to the job, this article will give you some useful pointers.
Even though the meal is the most important part of the dinner party, and thus requires the right kind of table and lighting, there are other bits of the party that are just as important. A lot of the time, people will want to stay a bit longer, so having a place where you can all sit down and chat some more is very important. What's more, you'll definitely want to adapt to the climate. Be it hot or cold, wet or dry, you'll want to make sure you have all your bases covered, and that is exactly what this article aims to help you with.
No matter how good the food is, if you seat your guests at a classical table in a minimalist home, all they will remember is the mismatched styles. Most designers agree that shopping for furniture with the style of your home already in mind will save you from having to be disappointed later. Also, when buying furniture, think about the measurements. Having a table that is far too long for the room, will make the whole dining room seem smaller in comparison.
And, even when you do have an appropriate table, placement in your home is very important. As in the picture above, having your dinner table close to large windows is a great idea, as the windows will provide an impressive backdrop during the evening. If you don't have any sort of space like this, or the backdrop isn't that interesting, think about placing the table near some artwork. While there hopefully won't be a lull in the conversation, if it does happen, it'll be good to have something for your guests to look at. What's more, you can even use it to start up the conversation again. As the area where most of the party is going to happen, you'll want to make sure that the style of the seating matches the party.
Possibly even more important than the table is the kind of lighting set up in your room. You'll want the place to be bathed in enough light for everyone to see, but not in the way in which it will shine directly into people's faces. And, if you are using energy saving light bulbs, you should remember that it will take a while for them to fully light up. Despite this wait, energy saving is going to be your best bet when it comes to giving the room a nice glow.
As we mentioned before concerning the table, think about the style of your chandelier and whether or not it is too distracting. While an intricately ornate lamp doubles both as a light source and an item to talk about, some may get in the way, especially if one of your guests is very tall. You can't go wrong with sticking to a classic and simple design, and we suggest you choose usability over style. A healthy bit of light will make everyone at ease and help the night go by smoothly.
While the dinner portion of the dinner party may have ended once the meal was finished, the party itself is far from over. As a way of relaxing, bringing your guests over to the living room and offering them a drink, is one of the best ways. However, just because drinks are mentioned that doesn't have to mean alcohol. Sodas and juices are a great alternative, and may even help with digesting the meal.
Be sure to offer a wide range of things, and also keep certain things refrigerated. Keeping the alcoholic drinks in a bar, separate from the rest of the drinks, gives you the ability to keep them away, if they aren't to your guests liking. Whatever drinks you end up serving, your guests will no doubt appreciate it, as their throats will be dry from all the talking.
With a drink of their choice in hand, what really makes the after dinner part of the party so much fun, is the casual conversation. And for that to go smoothly, proper seating is required. If possible, try to take the party to a different section of the house, in order to show your guests more of your home, and hopefully spark some interesting conversations.
However, if that is not possible, don't worry too much about it. The most important aspect of good seating is the quality of armchairs and their placement. While you'll want armchairs that mix with the colour palette, you'll also want them to stand out. In order to achieve that, we suggest getting chairs that share the same colour as their surroundings, but use either a pattern or a darker shade to bring them to the forefront.
Placement is also important, and you should make sure that everyone can see everyone else. Having someone behind everyone else will break the flow of conversation, and can potentially make them feel left out. While style is still important, placement of things still plays a critical role in a successful night.
Depending on the weather, another thing that may spark up conversation during the winter is a nice, cosy fire. Lighting up not only the room, but also the guests, a real, open fire will do so much more to lighten up the mood than just an ordinary lamp. What's more, people seem to have a tendency to start talking around an open flame, as it no doubt reminds us of what our ancestors used to do, that is sitting in a circle around the fire, telling stories late into the evening.
In terms of what type of what fireplace you should get, those that are part of the wall are a classic, and manage to reach a wide variety of people. However, if you can find space for a hanging one, like in the picture above, be sure to set up the room around it, placing the chairs in front of the fire. Also, before the party stars, ensure that the area underneath it has been properly cleaned, as bits of ash may have escaped. While mainly a used in the winter, a healthy fire is great in almost any situation, and will no doubt set a lively atmosphere.
On the other hand, if the weather is good and you have the opportunity to do so, having some part of the evening outside, will be a great change of pace. Just like sitting by the fire in the winter, nothing is more relaxing than being outside during a warm summer evening.
Setting up the seating for your terrace should be similar to the way you set up your living room, making sure to leave no one out of the loop. Also, think about the types of light you will be using. Almost any light will attract insects, but if you use a bug zapper, you'll not only have some light, but you'll also be rid of the bugs. While insects may intrude from time to time, a warm summer night is a great place to host a dinner party.
Once you have your home set up, all that remains is to cook the meal. However, if your feel that your kitchen isn't up to date, this guide will help you get inspired by showing you some amazing Korean kitchens.