5 Things You Should Never Do When Hosting People in Your Living Room
These mistakes can make your next gathering a bad experience for your guests.
Hosting feels like a serious responsibility: Even those of us who keep tidy know the anxiety of inviting people into our homes. While your space may be suitable for daily life, it might not be quite ready to receive guests. You'll likely want to make some upgrades—both in terms of the furniture and decor on display, and your hosting behavior—so that your guests feel extra welcome. We consulted experts to find out about the things you shouldn't be doing when you're hosting people in your living room. Read on to discover the five biggest mistakes to avoid.
Don't overstuff your space.
You may prefer having a homey feeling to your living room, complete with a large collection of cozy features. But Artem Kropovinsky, an interior designer and founder of the Arsight studio, says this could be a difficult design choice when it comes to hosting.
"I advise against stuffing your living room with too much furniture and accessories, as it can make the space feel messy and tight," he explains.
Kropovinsky recommends people "choose pieces that are proportional and harmonious," while also making sure whatever they pick allow there to be "enough room for people to walk around and chat."
Susan Anderson, home expert and founder of The Worthy Goods, says this perspective is not only important to keep in mind for furniture.
"Avoid cluttering the space with too many decorative items," she adds. "This can make the room feel cramped and uncomfortable."
But don't leave your guests without somewhere to sit.
On the other hand, it's important that you don't get too consumed with making sure your space doesn't feel cluttered. This could end up leaving some people without a place to sit, Anderson notes.
"Providing adequate seating for your guests is crucial, so make sure there are enough chairs or sofas for everyone to sit comfortably," she says.
Aleka Shunk, a hosting expert and founder of Aleka's Get-Together, advises pulling out extra chairs or renting them if you expect you'll need more seating for the amount of people coming.
"Guests should never sit on the floor or be forced to stand," she warns.
Don't allow for distracting entertainment.
Is your get-together centered around the television in someone way, like a Super Bowl watch party or a movie night? If not, you shouldn't be turning on the TV at all, according to Shunk.
"It takes away from the conversation and intimacy of the get-together," she explains.
At the same time, you should also play it safe when playing music. While music can add ambiance to your gathering, it can also create a distraction.
"If you're having a sit down conversation-type event, make sure the music volume is low enough that people can converse without shouting," Arden Clise, an etiquette expert and owner of Clise Etiquette, recommends. "Pick music that is more suited to background music, which means it's not too lyric heavy or jarring."
For more home advice delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
Don't forget to have places for your guests to set food and drinks down.
Providing food is certainly good practice when hosting guests. But even if you're just offering small snacks, you'll need to consider where people are going to put their plate down during the gathering.
"There should be appropriate places for guests to rest glasses and plates," advises Jodi Smith, an etiquette consultant and owner of Mannersmith. "If you need to add coasters, placemats, or even tablecloths to protect furniture, you should plan to do so in advance."
Shunk says it's important to keep must-haves like small plates, napkins, and appetizers within easy reach.
"It's vital that guests can easily help themselves to a snack or drink if needed," she shares. "If you do not have a large coffee table, pull other smaller tables from around the house next to the couches."
Don't keep certain things out in the open.
While you want to make sure your guests have everything they need, there are some things that should definitely be cleaned up or tucked away.
"With a keen eye, look for any hazards or breakable pieces. You may automatically lift your foot before stepping on the uber plush carpet, but that could be a tripping hazard for guests," Smith says. "Your miniature crystal collection on your coffee table and the antique vase on the pedestal may look lovely, but anything within brushing or breaking distance should be moved."
Lauren Doss, a cleaning expert and owner of Nashville Maids, recommends you don't leave any personal belongings out in the open when hosting others in your home.
"This includes items such as jewelry, mail, and other valuables that can be taken without you noticing. It's best to keep these items out of sight or put them away until after your guests have left," she suggests. "This will give you peace of mind and help to ensure that your belongings are safe while you're hosting people in your living room."