Monday, October 8, 2012

Transforming Your Dining Room Into A Hosting Room

Happy Thanksgiving (Canadian) Friends! Well many of you may have already had your big dinners, there are plenty more to be had over the coming months! I was so thankful to hear from David Morrison over at UK Tool Centre, who in my opinion writes very well though out guest posts. I have been so busy recently, and his offer to help me out was gladly accepted. Today, I have a post from David on how to transform your Dining Room into a "Hosting Room".

Preparation is key in the run-up to a party; a good host not only throws a great gig but enjoys being there themselves.  A well planned event can guarantee little work or stress of the day of the event, though you might be dusting off your power tools in the run-up!  When you don’t have space to entertain, you have to make do with what you’ve got.  Following these tips and tricks will ensure that your next bash goes off without a hitch.


via 100 layer cake

Depending on the occasion or time of year, it is usually a great idea to decide on a theme. With that said keep decorations simple and use what you have. Guests usually notice decorations last, if at all. Choose a few key places to decorate and call it a day. I would recommend decorating the front door, possibly a fireplace mantel, or the powder room. Decorating smaller areas is easier and more noticeable than trying to decorate an entire living or dining room. Also use candles wherever you can. Candles are inexpensive and provide a ton of bang for your buck. They truly “set the mood” and make your ordinary rooms feel special.


via style me pretty

Unless you are hosting a formal dinner party, I would suggest removing all of your dining chairs from around your table. Treat the table as a buffet and use the chairs as extra seating around your home. Since decorations are limited, your dining table and all of the food should be the centre piece of your party. People will always crowd around the food (or drink!) so this is the area you want to spend most of your time preparing.
First I would recommend covering the table with layers of linens. Start with a table cloth, and then layer on additional table cloths and runners. Because this will be a buffet and not a dining table, bunch up the layered table cloths so they flow over the table rather than laying them flat. Next gather your best dishes, cake plates and serving platters from around your home. The key to creating an interesting arrangement is to create levels and differing heights. Use boxes under the tablecloths to create platforms and elevate different dishes. You want the highest levels in the centre of the table and lower levels around the perimeter.


If you are a chef, this is your time to shine. If you are not, now is not the time to start pretending. In other words, don’t fool yourself. Keep the food simple and fool proof. For a party of 10-15 guests I would recommend preparing 3 cooked dishes, and using store bought items for the rest. Never underestimate how much people appreciate a bowl of festive M&M’s or gourmet potato chips. Make any food the day before so you can simply plate it the day of the party. With your table scape in place, use sticky notes to label exactly what food will go on each plate. This way, even if you are running around taking care of last minute details the night of the party, someone else in your family can put out the food.

Additional Hosting Tips

When hosting a party it is important to act the part of the host. This means greeting your guests at the door and taking coats. In addition it is nice to have a guest book out in your front hall as a way to remember the evening. Make sure to have appropriate music playing in your home to set the scene, it’s a great way to evoke an initial feeling.  On the buffet table make small signs for each dish so guests know what you are serving and have some extra recipe cards in case anyone asks.
Remember that the host always sets the tone and looking stressed and disorganised will create a bad atmosphere so being on top of everything for when your guests arrive is paramount! The other thing to remember as the host is that you have to look the part too, finding the time to look well groomed and appropriately dressed for the style of your party will always help settle the mood of the occasion too. And most of all, after all your hard work and preparation, you must have fun too.

Author Bio:  David Morrison is an avid DIY’er, renovator and party host.  Being a husband, father and brother; he’s attended his fair share of parties and knows a thing or two about how to run them.  Embracing his inner tradesman, David currently works for UK Tool Centre.


  1. Great post! I enjoyed all the hostessing tips and tricks :-)

  2. Kerry, enjoyed this guest post.... One of the best tips (and one I always do) is to use sticky notes to label what food goes on the serving dishes I have set out in advance. That way I remember to get all the food out!!
    I never thought of music to set the tone of the evening. I'll have to give it a try. Thank you for the hosting ideas and tips.

  3. Great guest post! These are really great tips!


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