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Party planner: How to create kitchens that are ideal for entertaining

Updated: Jan 21

It happens every time you have a party, everybody ends up in the kitchen—even if there are trendy games on the lawn and your cousin's band is playing Springsteen covers in the garage. At Kitchens By Design, we love having people over, too, so were happy to share some tasty ideas for creating the ideal kitchens for entertaining.

As you start envisioning your party kitchen, there are some important questions to ask—aside from, Does your cousin's band know how to play "Thunder Road?" For instance, do you like to host small get-togethers or are you more likely to invite everyone you know—and everyone they know—for the birthday bash-of-all-birthday bashes?

Question No. 2: Do you tend to serve just hors d'oeuvres and finger food or do you prefer to have people sit down to a multi-course meal? Is this thing catered? And, who's going to clean all this up? All kidding aside, the point here is making these decisions during the design phase will prevent you from having to knock out a wall or rearrange your appliances on the day before for the party.

5 key 'kitchens for entertaining' concepts

One word: Islands. A well-designed kitchen island can be the literal life of the party, particularly if you are the finger food and pizza-type host and your cousin's band isn't very good. KBD is eager to help bring your vision to reality and start the envisioning process, here are a few ideas from our fellowing designers:

  1. Flow: You want your family and friends to flow through the space when they're heading in and out to the deck. You don't want people banging into coffee makers and water features. Homes & Gardens recommends thinking about where people will sit or stand and "how they will move through the room."

  2. Openness: Spaces are all about space, nowadays. From the kitchen itself to any adjacent dining areas, your family and friends need room to mingle. Or help with the dishes. And a well-situated island or peninsula doesn't have ti interrupt anybody's flight paths. Better Homes & Gardens has some more ideas about how to design open layouts.

  3. Zoning out: Consider dividing your kitchen into prep, cooking and cleaning zones, the folks at KitchenAid say. That means easy access to the refrigerator, wall ovens and strategically-located sinks and dishwashers.

  4. Sound and illumination: Sounds like an art exhibit, doesn't it? Well, Homes & Gardens wants to think about acoustics, lighting, partitions and other flourishes that will make your kitchen a highlight of the local get-together circuit. For instance, a few soft surfaces will cut out some of the clamor of even the hottest parties.

  5. Winning wear and tear: If you entertain often, you don't want your cabinets and countertops to look worn out. HouseBeatiful notes, for instance, that non-porous countertop materials such as quartz and porcelain will only need to be wiped down regularly.

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