Maximizing seating aids entertaining
The joy of home entertaining at the holidays often comes with a challenge: How do you provide enough seating for a roomful of holiday revelers with just a sofa and a few chairs? Are there creative options besides resorting to folding chairs?
Los Angeles-based interior designer Betsy Burnham frequently hears from clients who want help solving this puzzle. “People are doing more home entertaining than ever,” Burnham says, so they want to design their living space to accommodate guests easily. For those without huge rooms, that can be challenging.
Here, Burnham and designers Brian Patrick Flynn and Kyle Schuneman offer advice on maximizing seating without sacrificing style.
Stealth seating: Use ottomans, stools and sturdy side tables. These pieces can work as tables or storage surfaces, then occasionally serve as extra seating for game nights or casual gatherings around the coffee table. Benches can work the same way.
Chairs from elsewhere: Use a mixture of different chairs and benches at a dining room table year-round, rather than a matching set. The look is stylish, and when chairs need to be brought into a living room for a party, they don't necessarily look like they're been taken from the dining room set. Or, bring in your outdoor seating and deliberately mix it in with the indoor pieces. The juxtaposition can be nice, plus you can coordinate them with similar colored cushions or accessories.
The right sofa: Pay attention to size and depth when choosing a sofa. A standard-size sofa is 7 feet. If you have three seat cushions, people sit in a pristine way in their cushion, and you'll be limited to a maximum of three guests on your sofa. But sofas that have bench seams offer one big seat, making it more likely that four guests might use the space.
Longer sofas offer additional seating, but Flynn says they're best used in what he calls a “floating space plan,” where two identical long sofas are placed across from one another in the center of a room, rather than having one sofa against a wall. They need to be “balanced with an extra-long coffee table,” he says.
Folding and stacking: “Folding chairs are often eyesores,” Flynn says, so he prefers chairs that can be stacked when not in use.
Burnham and Schuneman have each found a few types of stylish folding chairs, but they tend to come with higher price tags. She favors black bamboo folding chairs from Ballard Designs (about $100) for rooms with a more traditional style, and has used clear Lucite folding chairs (“kind of like the Philippe Starck ghost chairs”) in more modern living rooms.
Schuneman likes the fabric-covered “terai” folding chairs from Anthropologie (about $200), and suggests they can serve as a “great inspiration point for a DIY project.” Try recovering the cushion of an old upholstered folding chair “in some beautiful fabric that works in your room,” he says.
Planning carefully, shopping well and using a little DIY creativity are the keys to solving any holiday seating dilemma, Schuneman says.
“I always tell people to buy pieces that can move throughout your home,” he says.
Melissa Rayworth is a staff writer for the Associated Press.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Polamalu enters training camp as Steelers’ longest tenured player
- Starkey: Pirates, Burnett could work again
- Victim of Monessen standoff committed suicide
- Elizabeth police under new leadership
- House Dem panel meets in Monessen
- Outfielder Polanco driving force for Pirates in victory over Dodgers
- Blaze ravages South Huntingdon home
- Lower Burrell sewer projects will cost millions
- Pirates notebook: Phillies’ Burnett not demanding trade
- Westmoreland County gets the word out about drug problem
- Pop star Perry brings high-energy world tour to Consol