• Make comfort a priority. Nobody can relax after a delicious meal in a hard chair or on a stiff sofa. Incorporate oversize, comfy pieces of furniture that invite rest and relaxation. Donít forget to include throw pillows and blankets for after-dinner snoozing.
• Create space. Entertaining can be a challenge when you have to corral all your guests within a single area. Create multiple gathering areas around your home that encourage guests to make themselves at home. These can include separate "bistro" areas with a small table and chairs or stools along a kitchen island.
• Add some novelty. Brenda came up with the idea of arranging a separate coffee-bar area near her kitchen to encourage gathering and conversation. The self-serve setup also frees up the hostess to attend to other duties. No room for a coffee bar? Invest in a small cart with casters and make it mobile!
• Allow easy access. Keep items useful for entertaining, such as table linens, large bowls or cake stands, in view on open shelves or in glass-fronted cabinets so they are instantly accessible when needed.
Photographed by Bill Mathews
Styled by Gloria Gale