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1st Dibs 10-13-17: "7 Ways to Get Your Home Dinner-Party Ready"

Richard Mishaan Design

Interior designers dish out advice on prepping your home for entertaining.

Create Multiple Seating Areas

"The way to make a room comfortable for those who entertain or simply for when there are two people in the room is to make it feel quaint," says Richard Mishaan, who is known for this artfully crafted, spirited spaces. To achieve the cozy effect Mishaan strives for, he "creates multiple, smaller eating areas. You need to be able to hear a person when they speak to you."

OPen space can be a good thing, but Mishaan cautions against "setting up sofas on opposite ends of a large room. That can make people feel isolated." For a client's Upper West Side townhouse, he integrated sofas, oversized chairs, love seats and cocktail tables to craft cozy conversation nooks.

Add Moveable Furniture

Populating a communal area witha variety of moveable seating options is key to accomodating guests, whether it is just a few or dozens. Mishaan achieves this by enlisting furnishings like stools, cubes, and ottomans that can be easily moved around. "Stools can live below a console or float in areas so as not to crowd the room," the designer says. These pieces can also add a bold design element. The designer notes that "the more character they have, the better, so they can become an accent piece when not in use."

Get a Bar Cart

One of Mishaan's hosting rules is to not leave guests stranded in one room while you prepare food and drinks in another. His furnishing solution? "I love setting up a bar on a tray or a bar cart," says Mishaan. "That way, you have what you need near you." He also has a trolley in his own home, which he uses to hold serving dishes so as not to overcrowd the table. When the party's done, he simply folds it up and tucks it away. If only the rest of the cleanup could be so easy.

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