Entertaining at home, though without a doubt delightful, can be a lot of work and a not-insignificant expense, especially if your home isn’t fully equipped to host a crowd. Fortunately, there’s a way to throw a fabulous, fuss-free party without having to rent furnishings—while still pulling out all the stops to make guests feel at home (and to encourage them to stick around all night!). The key? Investing in versatile pieces that work just as well for entertaining as they do for everyday life. Read on to discover the items you need and exactly how to use them.
The Makeshift Table
By day, a midsize ottoman is a living room essential—the perfect complement to your sofa, and a place to prop up your feet as you kick back and relax. But come party time, it’s the ultimate multitasker: When topped with a tray, it doubles as a table and a spot to rest drinks, and also provides an easy perch for guests to sit.
Pro tip: If you’re worried about stains or general wear and tear, try an ottoman (and other upholstered pieces) made with performance fabric, which is designed to withstand everything from muddy paws to red-wine spills.
The Miniature Buffet
The sofa table—a slim console normally found behind the sofa—is just the spot to set up a food and drink spread for guests to graze and serve themselves. Move it out of the way against a wall to give it more of a buffet feel, or keep it where it is if you’re short on space.
Pro tip: Serve small bites on a series of elevated cake stands to free up extra space on the console surface.
The Drinks Station
The bar cart will always be essential for entertaining (it is, after all, where the drinks are made!). Bring yours away from the wall and into the entertaining area to help foster conversation and allow guests more room to access the goods.
Pro tip: If you need more space for your spread, pair the bar cart with a drinks table of similar height.
The Extra Seat
Storage ottomans are perfect for providing extra seats for party guests in a pinch. They also have an especially handy bonus feature: You can use them to put away last-minute clutter before company arrives!
Pro tip: If you have storage ottomans in rooms that your guests won’t see (such as bedrooms or offices), move a couple into your main entertaining space before the party. You can tuck them into corners or beneath a console until they’re needed.