How to Prepare Your Home for Holiday Entertaining

Entertaining for the holidays is certainly a challenge, but preparing and staging your home to maximize space will help your events go as smoothly as possible. As you prepare your home, it’s critical that you optimize your space to create flow throughout the party. Making sure that you spend ample time setting up will allow you and your guests to enjoy all the festivities!

Make Sure Your Home is Suitable for Hosting

Determine a Budget

If your home is going to be the designated “holiday house,” it’s crucial to choose the right home for entertainment purposes. As you search for a home perfect for entertaining, determining how expensive of a house you can afford will help you ease this process as you determine your wants and needs and overall budget. Factoring in any extra costs like a finished basement, large kitchen island, or expansive backyard patio for summer entertaining will give you a better idea of a budget for homes in your area. Once you determine this, you can begin looking for your dream entertaining home and start planning some beautiful holiday parties!

Consider the Layout

When choosing a home to entertain in, an open floor plan might be the right option for all your hosting needs. Having a large, open living space will allow your guests to move freely throughout your home and interact with one another. As a host, an open layout will also help as you prepare because you can move furniture around more easily. If you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner, an open floor plan will benefit you immensely because you’ll be able to add more seating if your dining table doesn’t have enough for the number of people you’re hosting.

This open-floor plan is perfect for entertaining. The hosts can still get things ready in the kitchen while still interacting with their guests. Party attendees can wander around freely to talk with various people.

Create Flow Throughout the House

Place Furniture Strategically

Although having an open floor plan makes entertaining a breeze, this isn’t always an option for everyone. If your home has a more closed-off layout, hosting all your family and friends for the holidays can still be easy. Having expert help to redesign your home will maximize your layout for all your entertaining needs. Creating small sitting areas in your home is great, too, as it gives guests somewhere to relax with a drink before dinner or sit and enjoy coffee with dessert while conversing with one another.

living room with teal and burgundy accent colors

Our experts at SSTS always recommend creating separate zones in your living spaces. This comes in handy when entertaining so people have different places to sit and talk, and prevents the party from getting too cramped. 

Sophisticated midcentury design with earth tone accents.

This home’s entertaining areas are partially closed off. However, having only a half-wall separating the living and dining areas still keeps the space open enough for entertaining as guests can freely walk from room-to-room. Guests can even talk to others through the opening in the wall. 

Make Food and Drinks Easily Accessible

If you aren’t having a formal dinner or plan on serving some hors d’oeuvres when guests arrive, having different offerings in different spaces of your home will prevent everyone from gathering all in one place. Having everyone cluttered in one room can make it difficult for guests to access the food and drinks, especially for larger events. Having appetizers on a buffet in your dining room and a festive cocktail bar cart in your living room will help the party flow more and allow you space in the kitchen to prep for dinner.




holiday entertaining space in midcentury home

Try placing food platters both in the kitchen area and on the dining table to avoid lines and crowding in just one space.


kitchen/diner perfect for holiday entertaining

Declutter and Clean Your Entertaining Space

Only Leave Out the Essentials

When entertaining, giving your home a good deep clean is a great start. Once you’ve determined your menu, number of attendees, and plan for the evening, you can go through your kitchen and entertaining areas and put away anything that won’t be useful for you. This way, you can free up counter and table space for meal prep. This also gives your home a cleaner look and feel so guests will be in awe of your decorations and party-planning abilities this holiday season.


Get Rid of Unused Items

The holiday season is the perfect time to declutter and donate your unused belongings to those in need. As you sort through your cookware, decorations, and party supplies to get ready, you can create a separate pile of items you no longer need and donate or sell them. This will also give you some extra storage space if you wish to purchase some new decorations and supplies for this upcoming holiday season.

living room with burgundy and blue accents

Purchase Holiday Decorations and Supplies

Choose Timeless Holiday Decorations

As you decorate your space for your holiday parties, it’s important to choose high-quality pieces that will last you many years to come rather than trendy items that you’ll be tired of after a season or two. These timeless decorations will wow guests as you welcome them into your home and will supplement your current decor. Spending time carefully selecting each piece is a great way to add some personal touches to your space for the holiday season.


neutral holiday decorations

Gold and champagne-colored decorations and warm-white lights are always timeless and elegant.

dining area with light fixture with pillar candles

Adding candles in your home and utilizing your fireplace are easy and affordable ways to instantly make your home feel luxurious and party-ready.

Gather Entertaining Supplies

Once your home is decorated beautifully for the festivities, you can spend some time gathering supplies for the party itself. You’ll need the basics like plates, cups, and utensils, but it’s also important to have the right cleaning supplies for after the party and proper serving tools. Once you’ve decided on a menu, you’ll also need to purchase all the ingredients for each recipe and some drinks and desserts for your guests.

Enjoy the Holiday Festivities

Finally, the party prep is done! The most important thing you can do during your holiday gathering is to remember to have fun. The holidays are a wonderful time to catch up with friends and family we don’t see as often as we’d like. During your get-together, be sure to spend time interacting with each guest while still fulfilling your hosting duties. These tips will help ensure that your holiday party is a success and that guests will be excited for your next event. By that time, you’ll be party planning like a pro!

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