Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Arrange Furniture for a Party

As a regular "Sally with the Kids" type of a gal, I have this secret desire to have multiple families over to our home without feeling cramped.  This shouldn't be hard considering we now live in a home almost twice the size of our last one--with the extra room mostly in the public spaces.  But the last time we had just two other families over, there was a lot of wasted space and a lot of bumping elbows.  This could easily be fixed by changing the flow of traffic.

We usually have people over for pizza.  Jon loves to bake it, and he makes a mean pizza!  The dough is made the night before with minimal yeast to allow the taste of the other ingredients to shine.  The sauce is made from scratch with just the right seasonings.  Jon can flip the pizza dough into the air as he is stretching it out--just like in the movies--that really impresses people.  And he is superb with matching toppings to an appreciative set of guests.  Our most favorite topping right now is spinach.

At our last party, we let everyone come straight back to the kitchen to talk to Jon while he made the pizzas.  The seating around our oval table quickly filled up, and there was an awkward moment where we didn't have enough chairs for each person.  Then the kitchen was very difficult to move around in because of all the people.

We moved half of our guests into the dining room.  We only eat in this space when we have people over.  The dining table is otherwise used for puzzles, homework, or to look pretty.  The wall behind the table made getting past each seated person nearly impossible, and so some people felt trapped.  I didn't want to leave my seat for fear that a child would take over, not realizing I was sitting there, and then I wouldn't be able to socialize with the adults.  Sigh.

Here are tips that I've gathered from online articles (referenced at the end) and my own rules with proxemics of party furniture arrangement:

1. Conversation areas need to be about 4-5' part.

2. There should be multiple access to the food, and more than one table with food, preferable outside the kitchen.

3. Parties need to have 4' circulation paths, not the residential 3'.

4. Plan on chairs at tables taking up an additional 2' perimeter that people will need walking space around.

5. Create several areas where people can visit and eat (disperses congestion).  Areas that only hold 1/3 of your guests.

6. Have a separate area for children that will entertain them so that adults can mingle without interruptions.

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