When you’re furnishing a new home, one of your top priorities is probably making sure that everyone who lives in that home will be comfortable. That makes a lot of sense—you’re the ones who are going to be spending the most time there, after all, so you need to go with the chairs, couches, beds, and bookshelves that you like best.
However, if you’re someone who likes to entertain, you may also want to consider just how you can lay out your new abode to make guests feel at home. You don’t need to do anything over-the-top, like adding on ten luxury guest bedrooms or installing a pool with a swim-up bar (unless it’s in your budget and you really want to). One of the best things you can do is also the simplest—choosing the right seats.
Comfortable seating makes a surprisingly big difference when you’re having guests over. Think about the last gathering you went to at a friend or family member’s house. Was there room for everyone to sit? Were people creating makeshift seats out of folding chairs and sofa arms? Seating can make or break a gathering, and while people might not always actively appreciate it, they will remember if they had a good time and felt comfortable.
So how do you know what seats are right for your particular home? Follow these tips to choose seats that will make your guests want to put up their feet and stay a while.
Know how you want to entertain. Before buying any furniture, the first thing you need to do is assess what kind of gatherings you most want to have in your home. If you like throwing dinner parties, for example, you may want to splurge on nice seats to go with the dining room table. If you and your friends are movie buffs, you might want to get rows of movie theater-inspired seats for your entertainment room. If you like having conversations with a small group of friends, you might want to get an L-shaped couch and matching chairs for the living room so that you can all face each other.
Measure your space. While it’s nice to daydream about the beautiful furniture you want to add to your home, you still need to get practical and determine how much space you really have. If you haven’t done this already, take a measuring tape to the rooms you want to furnish and write down the dimensions. Keep in mind that you don’t want to fill the room to maximum capacity—people still need room to comfortably walk in and out, and there may be other items, like a TV or liquor cabinet, taking up some of the space.
Maximize your space. The dimensions of your space might put some constraints on your design plan, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t maximize your entertaining area. For example, you might consider purchasing a couch with a bench seat, rather than individual cushions, because people will feel less like they need to be confined to one particular section of the couch at parties. You might also want to add a few individual chairs like the Breuer chairs seen here, instead of a loveseat, as these often take up less space and will make people who like having a personal space bubble feel more at ease.
Choose a style that matches your décor. Comfort is king, but aesthetics are pretty important too. You don’t want to choose seating that sticks out like a sore thumb in your home because this can make people uncomfortable, even if they can’t pinpoint exactly what’s off. Instead, look at the current color scheme of the room you’re furnishing and pick seating that either complements it or adds a nice accent. If your room has a particular decorating theme, you may also want to consider this when purchasing seating. For example, if the room has a rustic feel, you might choose a couch or chairs with a wooden frame rather than ultra-modern seats.
Make extra seating blend in seamlessly. If you like having a lot of guests over but don’t want to crowd your house with chairs and couches, consider investing in a few items like ottomans or stools that can provide extra seating in a pinch without making the room look too cluttered.
Keep your personal style in mind. Remember to cater to yourself as well as your guests when you’re planning out your entertaining space. Your space doesn’t need to look like a showroom—your friends and family will be most comfortable if they get a sense of you in the room design, so add some little details like your favorite throw pillows or blankets to let your personality shine through.