Ask Nicely: Can you give me ideas on how a remodel can help me better accommodate entertaining?

Dear Evelyn,

I love to entertain in my home. There is nothing that I love more than being surrounded by friends and family, and hosting summers cookouts and holiday gatherings. Although my home is spacious, and I have an ample sized dining room, my family seems to always gather in my kitchen. My kitchen is narrow and with everyone congregating there, it tends to get a little crowded. With the Thanksgiving holiday and Christmas season quickly approaching, I am considering a kitchen remodel. Can you give me ideas on how a remodel can help me better accommodate entertaining?

Dear Hostess with the Mostest,

So, the party is at your house—and, more specifically, the party is happening in your kitchen. Interestingly, many homeowners are considering kitchen remodeling projects centered around the kitchen as a hub for entertaining large families and holiday plans. It most certainly sounds like your kitchen needs a remodel to be more family friendly before the fire marshall gets called out to break the party up! I hope that the following tips will help you design a kitchen that will keep side dishes warm without the worries of managing crowd control.

Have a Vision and Set Goals

As you consider a kitchen remodel, the thing to keep in the forefront of your mind is how you envision using your kitchen space in the future, as well as a layout that will not only create an inviting space, but also meet your cooking, storage and seating needs. Set goals for your remodel based on that total vision. Setting goals will keep you aligned with that vision as you contemplate the features of your design, such as floor plan, appliances, furnishings, cabinetry and more.

Space Planning

Space planning is also an important factor to consider for a great entertaining kitchen. The real value of a kitchen remodel comes from proper space planning to improve how your entertaining kitchen functions. When designing a kitchen that functions as an effective entertaining space, specialty features that are integrated in the space should make cooking and serving food easier. Space planning will help determine the types of specialty features to integrate, such as:

  • an oversized island with a row of stools to add additional seating for socializing, and also increase counter space for serving a family-style buffet

  • a beverage prep area or wetbar to serve drinks and house wine and beverages

  • a butler’s pantry to store large amounts of food and ingredients

  • additional cabinetry and shelving, that doubles as display and storage, for serving platters, bowls, trays, linens etc.

Open-Concept

Open-concept kitchens beg for family gatherings. Open-concepts create a no-barrier design which is great for hosting because it opens up the space, eases congestion and creates flow. This will enable your guests to move about unrestricted, and you can freely cook and chat as others help serve up food and drinks. Keep in mind, when it comes to incorporating an open-concept, it will be helpful to work with a designer to ensure that the features of your kitchen will integrate seamlessly with the rest of your home’s aesthetics.

Appliances

Decisions about what type of appliances you will need also comes into play. The idea of being able to have a separate wall oven (or two!) is pretty exciting for many home cooks who love to entertain. Are you considering new cooking appliances? Your dream setup may not work in your current kitchen. Whether you’re dreaming of a stacked double oven, or a single oven, microwave and warming drawer combo, a designer can help you determine the best appliance configurations that will work best for your space.