These 10 things will smooth the way for bringing guests into your home and ensuring a good time
Feeling overwhelmed by the home-buying process? Don’t get swamped, get focused. Beyond the basics of location, price, and condition, what do you really want from your home? Consider adding these 10 items to your home-buying wishlist if you love entertaining. Pick and choose which ones are right for you, and then add your own ideas in the Comments.
Greeting guests is easier when you can usher them into a spacious entryway. Look for one with room to maneuver and good lighting. On the exterior, look for a covering over the entry to keep visitors dry during inclement weather.
A coat closet near the main entrance is helpful for stashing guests’ coats and bags, and it keeps these items out of sight. If the house has a spacious entry, you can fill this need with wall hooks or a coat tree, but if the entry is more compact, a closet will really help keep things tidy.
Inviting friends and family to pull up a seat and chat while you cook is a fun way to start a casual gathering. Look for a kitchen counter with plenty of space to prep, plus one side with room for guests to pull up a stool.
You need space to keep your ingredients and entertaining essentials like serving platters organized and accessible. Look for a walk-in or butler’s pantry with deep shelving and good light.
Open-plan spaces are ideal for encouraging mixing and mingling during parties. Look for a spacious living area where you can put flexible seating to fit a big group and for good flow between the kitchen, dining and living areas.
If you prefer hosting cozy sit-down dinners, a formal dining room is a must. Look for one with distinctive architectural features and enough space to fit your dining table and chairs, plus a buffet. A fireplace in the dining room can be the ultimate in coziness, but remember that a wood-burning fireplace requires more upkeep (and prep) than a gas fireplace.
A petite powder room is a big help when entertaining: It’s typically easy for guests to get to, and you don’t have to worry about cleaning up your main bathroom each time you have people over. Look for a powder room (also called a half bath) on the main level but preferably not directly off the dining room.
A finished basement can be a big plus, especially for those in areas with cold winters. A fully finished and heated basement offers bonus living space for extras like a bar, pool table or big-screen TV. If you’re considering a home with a finished basement, be sure to find out if the ceilings are regulation-height, and ask your home inspector to check for signs of leaks or excess moisture.
Vast lawns are gorgeous to look at, but a deck or patio is where friends tend to gather. Look for one that’s next to the house with enough room to set up an outdoor living space or dining area. A covered porch can protect your gathering from bright sun and inclement weather. Privacy from neighbors, in the form of hedges or fencing, will make the area more appealing to use. And if mosquitoes are a concern, a screened-in porch makes it possible for you and your guests to enjoy the outdoors without getting eaten alive.
Encourage mingling both indoors and out with a sliding glass or French doors. The visual connection helps groups feel connected and makes it obvious to guests where they are supposed to go. Look for large glass doors leading from the living room, dining room or kitchen (in an open-plan space) to a back deck or patio.
Tell us: Are you a big entertainer? What features do you love the most (or wish you had) in your home?