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Entertaining can be one of the holiday season's greatest pleasures, but also one of its biggest stressors—especially when cramped quarters and crazy schedules throw a Grinch in the works. However, a few subtle decor tricks can easily solve the problems of space, seating, and time that prevent many would-be hosts from sending out invitations at all. Once you've set the scene for your festivities, you can focus on what really matters: keeping the conversation going and the libations flowing! But first, four decor tricks that make hosting a cinch:
1) Set a welcoming tone as soon as guests cross your threshold.
If your home lacks a formal entryway, carve one out by positioning a bar cart near the front door. Adorn the top shelf with flowers and a lamp to strike a stylish note, and stock the bottom with supplies for a few go-to cocktails that you can whip up while making introductions!
2) Don't set the table.
No space for a sit-down? Drop-in cocktail parties are a great option for entertaining when you lack a formal dining area (and are an easier way to entertain even if you do!). Prevent a bottleneck around a single table of food—and encourage mingling!—by arranging small accent tables and chairs around the room for additional hors d’oeuvres display.
3) Store supplies in one place.
Stow supplies like linens, cutlery, and serveware together in one easily accessible storage piece—whether that's a section of the kitchen or a dresser in the hallway. Keeping entertaining essentials organized means you’re not hunting down napkins when guests arrive. And it ensures a smooth workflow for everyone if you need to assign table setting duties to any guests that want to help.
4) Multi-use furniture is a holiday host’s best friend.
Pepper the room with versatile pieces like stackable stools that can double either as accent tables or extra seating, and poufs for putting feet up or setting drinks on; castered storage units that can be shuttled into closets and corners to accommodate a crowd!
Where do you store linens and serveware? Do you have a dining room table? Let us know in the comments!
Author of the blog The City Sage, Anne Sage's new book Sage Living is all about great spaces and the people who inhabit them.
Photos by Emily Johnston, from Sage Living by Anne Sage (Chronicle Books).