Some people just have the gift of hospitality. They love having their house full of people and always know how to make people feel welcome and cared for. They are the ones that throw the neighborhood block party in the summer and invite friends, neighbors and family over for Christmas cookies and eggnog. Their party tables are laden with home-cooked goodies of a wide variety. They have the appropriate serving dishes for every major holiday. If there’s going to be a get-together, they’re the first to say ‘Why don’t we have it at my house?’
If I’ve just described your hospitality lifestyle, the rest of us applaud you! You truly do amaze us; we are grateful that you enjoy entertaining large groups of people like you do. Not everyone has that gift. But entertaining large groups of people can be difficult if your kitchen is not properly equipped to do so. No one knows that better than the star hostess of these types of gatherings.
Entertaining Large Crowds
There is a big difference between the preparation needed when filling your house with dozens of people and what is needed when having a quiet sit-down dinner with a small group of friends. If you’re the type of person who frequently fills their home with large groups of people, you will have certain needs in your kitchen that others might not have. Plenty of storage for serving platters and dishes will be very important. Ceiling height cabinets are ideal for the party planner. Ceiling height cabinets provide that extra room for special items to be stored that come down only for those big events, like your punch bowl, stacked serving trays and cake plates.
Since you’ll be preparing large amounts of food and have lots of people in your home, you’ll want your kitchen to be plenty spacious. Give careful consider to the traffic patterns through the kitchen to allow servers space to go in and out, while still leaving room for guests to mingle, when you design your kitchen layout. In the appliance area, you’ll need plenty of refrigerator space and a warming oven will be an essential. A full-sized pantry with a workspace for sandwich prep can be ideal. It allows you to finish up those last-minute details and then just close the door, leaving clean up for later.
Fine china, your best crystal, the linen tablecloth and napkins – if these items fit into your hospitality lifestyle, your kitchen needs may be a little different than for the crowd-size entertainer. You certainly don’t want your fine china and crystal goblets to be hidden in high, hard to reach, cabinets. You’ll want their beauty displayed through glass doors. You may want your goblets securely hanging from their bases, instead of sitting upright, where they could easily be knocked over when reaching into a cabinet. A china hutch designed specifically for your pieces would be ideal. Drawers for your silver settings and table linens should be included down below. Consider adding a thermostatically controlled wine cooler to your kitchen that can keep your wines chilled perfectly until your guests arrive. For formal dinner entertaining your kitchen should be closed off from the formal dining room, but still easily accessible for serving.
Casual and Relaxed
For entertaining that small group of friends in a casual atmosphere, you don’t require a spacious kitchen, lots of storage or a fancy china hutch. This is especially true, if your home is smaller in size. For casual entertaining, a beverage cooler with a glass door makes it easy for your guests to help themselves. An open floor plan that allows easy traffic flow and conversation between the kitchen and the rest of the living space makes for a relaxed setting. Sleek contemporary style cabinets with solid color countertops make smaller kitchens seem roomier and less cluttered. Add seating at a peninsula eating bar or along one side of your kitchen island to provide a comfortable spot for your guests to enjoy your company as you prepare items in your kitchen.
Of course, many homes will include each of these different types of social gatherings at different times throughout the year. It is important to take your entertaining or hospitality lifestyle into consideration when you are planning out your kitchen, even if it is something that takes place only on occasion. The well-planned kitchen can make entertaining guests much more enjoyable and less stressful for the hosts.