11 Tricks to Make Your Home into an Inviting Family Social Venue
The pandemic and subsequent lockdowns have millions stuck at home when they'd rather be spending time with friends. Many of us have based our routines on meeting with cool people for breakfast, work, classes, lunch, snacks, dinner, and evening activities. As humans, we are social creatures. We love to meet at the coffee shop or the restaurant. We pick a favorite tree for the carnival meet-up or meet friends halfway to each other's house when walking is the only option.
Now with the need to isolate from other households, we tend to crave those everyday gatherings. Now is the time to lean on family and roommate friends the most to provide the social time we all so specifically need. Instead of gathering at the cafe, we're gathering around the breakfast table. Instead of an evening of drinking at our favorite little bar, we're playing board games on living room coffee table.
Times are changing, and so too are homes. As the need for social time at home increases, we're seeing a wave of home improvements and renovations to make this more inviting in each house design. Homeowners are remodeling kitchens, living rooms, game rooms, decks, and basements to make them a more venue-like place for safe loved ones to gather and socialize.
Let's dive into some of the cool ways you can remodel or redesign your home for a more inviting social atmosphere.
The kitchen has great social potential because many people enjoy talking while they cook. Company, assistance, and an audience are all things a home chef enjoys when socializing in the kitchen.
Bar stools anywhere in the kitchen can make the entire room more inviting to others for a little relaxed chatting. The best place for barstools is at the island, arranged so that the chef is inside an entertainer kitchen with the barstool audience. Taste-test, do work, and enjoy each other's company. If you don't have an island, you might have a bar extending from the wall. If you have neither, you can install a bar that folds out to provide a cozy breakfast or sidebar surface for those socializing in the kitchen.
One of our favorite ways to make a kitchen more sociable and roomy is to cut a hole to the living room. A passthrough window allows the chef to be a part of living room activities - and to provide snacks and drinks directly through the countertopped window square. Then, when living room events are over, dishes can be passed back through with expedience.
Best of all, a passthrough links the living room and kitchen so that no one is cut-off from a family event when moving from one room to the next.
As for little upgrades that make a big difference, try a bar sink. This is one small sink added at the edge or side of your kitchen countertops -or in the island. A bar sink essentially creates a workspace for one more chef without taking up much space. If you're looking for more sociable shared cooking, then a bar sink is even friendlier than a passthrough window.
Want to spruce up your living room and/or den to be more welcoming for family social time? We can help! It's surprising how many living rooms are arranged with heavy seating all facing one centralized television. This dominates the space, but doesn't make it very versatile. You can preserve your viewing arrangement while also making your living room more welcoming for other family activities as well.
One great way to make your living room more welcoming is to add a home office. Whether your kids need to do their homework or an adult has taken their work home from the office, a home office in the living room allows for one person to work while still feeling connected. Some people suffer from being in a private office for too long. With a living room office, getting work done doesn't always have to be antisocial.
Instead of facing all the seating directly toward the television, create a gentle horse-shoe or ring of seating. Use the sofa and chairs to face each other, therefore encouraging those who sit to pay attention to the social gathering instead of staring at the off-switched television. Bring in more seating or folding chairs to complete the circle in case your group is larger when the entire family gathers at once.
It's never too late to improve your lighting. If your living room has dim or spotlight lighting, leaving most of the room in shadows, this can be a sibtle discouragement from energetic gatherings. Add more light fixtures and replace your bulbs with smart bulbs to take control of the light levels. Brighter lights - to a point - tend to uplift moods and make a space feel more welcoming. Then dim and color the lights when it's time for parties and evening moods.
Don't forget a central surface for things like drinks and board games. When the family gathers, having one sturdy coffee table can make all the difference for what you can do together.
You can also turn your deck into a hotspot for family gatherings. If you have a nice porch or deck and if your local weather is good, then an outdoor plan might be the most inviting for shared family time. Turn your deck into an escape, a sports court, or a barbecue pit.
With a few modest accessories, your deck could go from a wooden surface to your favorite place to nap. Two or three lounge chairs, maybe a swinging loveseat or a hammock could turn your back deck into a nap escape for the whole family. Don't forget the awnings and umbrellas to keep the direct sun out of anyone's relaxing eyes.
Everyone loves a firepit and they are the most welcoming for a gathering of friends or family. Fire pits inspire leaning close around in a circle, roasting marshmallows, and sharing stories. With a brazier or dug-in firepit, your back garden could become the family's new favorite place to meet and talk by firelight.
You can also build a fantastic outdoor cooking setup. Outdoor kitchens include sinks, countertops, and built-in cooking appliances for backyard parties. Of course, you can always go with the traditional grill and barbecue pit. Grilled meats are a proud tradition in many families, and a great way to bring everyone together for a fun evening of social time during social distancing.
Don't forget your sports equipment. Inflated balls, nerf toys, mesh jerseys, and fold-up soccer goals are just a few goodies you can stow in bench-seats or the shed in your yard. Nearby storage is key so that kids can unpack and put away yard toys as needed. The right yard could be repurpsoed for a dozen different sports that the family and family pets could enjoy. For a house with children or young adults, the right equipment could turn the backyard into a favorite regular meeting spot.
Staying in is the new going out, but you don't have to give up socialization. Improve your kitchen until it's a place you love to spend time, or turn your deck into a garden escape. IF you want to renovate for a new sink location or replacement sink as part of your plans, we would love to help. Contact us today with your home improvement visions to make your house a more inviting social venue.