It’s fun to host fantastic parties, especially when you’ve got the right kitchen for the job. From new stone countertops to a built-in espresso maker, there are many features you can add to make your kitchen the perfect space for entertaining.
Creating that space starts with choosing the right materials. Long-lasting, high-performing materials that easily withstand a lot of wear and tear can make your kitchen the place to be at your next party. Below, we’ve listed ten fantastic ideas for ways to make your kitchen the party center you’ve been wanting.
1. Install a Multi-Level Kitchen Island
The island is the center of activity in the kitchen, where the cook creates beautiful dishes and where the guests line up to chat, sample goodies and get more to drink. Low countertops are just right for meal prep, while taller countertops are better for sitting and socializing. The multi-level kitchen island supports both activities, giving the cook somewhere to create a masterpiece while the guests look on and visit.
2. Create an Open Layout
Open layouts are perfect for facilitating large group activities. With no barriers between the living room, dining room and kitchen, party goers are free to mingle while roaming from one space to another, one group to another.
Older homes rarely have an open layout by design, but this trick can be achieved by knocking out a few well-chosen walls. Consult with a contractor to perform the work. If you feel like you can knock the wall out safely on your own, it’s still wise to check with the professional to ensure that the wall isn’t load bearing.
3. Install Specialized Appliances
Gadgets like built-in espresso makers and beverage coolers make entertaining more fun for everybody, including the guests and the host. If it’s in your budget, install all new appliances and purchase matching finishes, to reinforce the visual continuity in the room.
If installing a countertop appliance, like a freestanding espresso maker, consider installing more counters to avoid loss of valuable cooking space. Your contractor can help you come up with creative ways to make room for additional counters. A small addition, called a bump out, may be what you need to make extra room for more cabinets and counters.
4. Select Durable, Easy to Maintain Counters
Countertops are like works of art, featuring swirls, speckles and layers of color that add flair to your kitchen. They’re also meant to be strong and durable, able to withstand the everyday wear and tear that comes from cooking, cleaning and eating.
Stone countertops are popular because they fill both of these needs at once. Stone is one of the hardest and most durable substances on earth, and also comes in a range of colors. Many types of stone have additional characteristics that serve homeowners well when entertaining. Marble, for example, never fails to impress guests with its stunning beauty, while the durability of granite makes it a high-performing stone for homeowners who do a lot of cooking.
There’s only one countertop material that could be said to out-perform natural stone: quartz. Quartz countertops mimic the look and texture of natural stone, but they’re even more durable and require no maintenance besides regular cleaning. Whatever you choose for your home, be sure to buy from a quality stone fabricator to get the best value for your money.
5. Create a Serving Area
For homeowners who like buffet-style entertaining, a serving area is an important feature for any kitchen and dining space. Build in a hutch to create a sophisticated and elegant fixture to showcase your meals, or have your contractor design a kitchen island with a serving area.
Do you sometimes use a catering service for your parties? A butler kitchen creates an out-of-the-way area where staff can easily set up their dishes for serving. Match the countertops in the hutch or butler kitchen to the countertops in the rest of the kitchen to create a uniform space.
6. Consider Warming Drawers
Keep dishes hot while you’re waiting to serve with professional warming drawers. This is a must-have in a kitchen where you regularly cook large meals for big groups or meals with multiple courses.
7. Focus on Lighting
No party is complete without mood lighting. Your kitchen needs multiple types of lighting, including task lighting under the cabinets, and ambient recessed lighting for clean up after the party is over. During the party, dimmers make the kitchen a little cozier and more comfortable, while layers of light keep prevent shadows from creating tripping hazards.
8. Double Up on Appliances
Big dinner parties may require extra appliances to help with meal prep and clean up. Two dishwashers makes clean up easier, while two ovens makes it possible to cook meals for larger groups. Consider installing a wall-oven above your warming drawers, and a cooktop on your kitchen island for cooking sauces and soups.
9. Install a Flat-Screen TV
A flat screen TV gives guests something to look at while you’re chopping and serving up drinks. If no counter space can be spared for such a luxury, consider installing a wall mount television with a moveable arm, so you can adjust the television as needed. This is a good feature if you enjoy game day parties, or if you have a big group of friends over for World Cup or Super Bowl activities.
10. Create Ambiance With a Fireplace
For those holiday meals like Thanksgiving and Christmas, install a gas burning fireplace to create ambiance. Gas burning fireplaces don’t take up as much room as you might think, and they create an atmosphere guests find charming. If your kitchen already has a gas line for a stove, then it won’t take much to divert a gas line for this purpose.