At any time of year, you want your dinner parties to be cozy, informal, and authentic: it’s a time to enjoy great food, great conversation, and great drink (be it wine, whiskey, or just fine coffee). Cultivating a real sense of warmth and home-comfort is crucial – but how do you do this?
The Importance of Texture and Color
Depending on the size of your house or apartment, you may have only limited space to host a dinner party. No matter how big or small your dining area is, a mix of textures and colors can transform the entire aesthetic and atmosphere.
Embrace the art of hygge: opt for a true coziness and comfort to make your guests feel at home.
Invest in thick, heavy curtains in an elegant color – burgundy, brown, purple, cream. Though each is starkly different, the weight and simplicity of these will keep any drafts to a minimum and add a soft, luxurious texture to your room.
You should also place throws, blankets, and plush cushions to any couch or armchairs in your dining area. Thick, tightly-woven wool (for example) create a feel of homeliness and snug charm, encouraging a warm, relaxed atmosphere even without a need to actually make contact.
Focus on Ambient Lighting
Go for ambient lighting every time. Don’t simply rely on your standard overhead bulbs – these may well be too stark and glaring. Instead, place candles along the center of the table; mount wicks in old wine bottles, lanterns, or vintage holders.
Don’t overdo it, though: be sure there’s enough lighting for your guests to see each other and their food without feeling like they’re under a spotlight.
Alternatively, wall lamps can create a relaxed atmosphere, and may be more practical than candles if you struggle for space on your table.
Avoid A Bare Table
Don’t leave your table bare: even the mot beautiful rustic finish may lack that all-important warmth. Add luxurious texture with velvet table runners, and provide thick napkins for your guests. Go for the softest you can find, for real comfort when wiping hands and lips.
Pay Attention to Your Seating
If you’ve ever endured a dinner party with nothing but cold, brutal wood on your behind, you’ll know how negatively uncomfortable seating can impact your experience. A great dinner with friends and family is all about being relaxing and enjoying the atmosphere.
However, it’s hard to do any of this when you feel you have to fidget constantly in an effort to find a comfortable position. If you only have bare, uncovered seats to hand, be kind to your guests, their posture, and their bodies – add texture and padding.
This may mean placing a cushion on the seat or investing in a cover: anything that provides a soft layer between your guest and the rigid chair itself will help them stay comfortable. Choose a thick, padded material that’s soft to the touch, such as velvet, and make sure it’s fixed to the seat somehow.
Cultivating a warm, cozy atmosphere for your dinner party is vital, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself. If you’re rushing to make everything perfect or fussing over your guests too much, they’ll pick up on it – and perhaps find it hard to relax and enjoy the atmosphere. Focus on taking things easy, enjoying your own space, and being with those you care about most.