Whether it’s for Christmas and the New Year or even just for a birthday party, it can be stressful ensuring you feel confident hosting parties in your home. But rest assured, you’re not alone - with research showing Brits find planning parties more stressful than work deadlines, school runs, and even being late.
Along with planning food and festivities, you’ll need to figure out the best way to accommodate all your family and friends. From hosting evenings full of drinks and dancing to providing comfortable accommodations for guests staying over for a few nights; you’re going to want your home to be as welcoming and comfortable as possible.
But don’t worry - we’ve got all this and more covered with our handy hosting guide. Read on for recommendations on guest beds, sofa beds, dining tables, and everything else you’ll need in your home to comfortably host family and friends.
Let’s start with the heart of any social gathering: the living room. Comfort is king here, especially if you’re hosting a large group of friends and family.
One of our favourite choices, especially for smaller living rooms, is a modular sofa. Available as individual pieces to mix and match, these sofas are endlessly adjustable to create different shapes and sizes for your lounge. There are even modular sofas that seat up to 10 people, making them fantastic for larger rooms too. Better yet, some modular sofas offer handy features to guests, such as the Storeaway’s reclining, charging, and drink-holding capabilities - just the ticket to make you the host with the most!
Regardless of the size of your lounge, however, it’s always a good idea to offer several separate seating areas. The most popular combination for living rooms is a 2 seater sofa and 3 seater sofa, and these can easily host small groups. For more room to stretch out, there are larger options like 4 seater sofas and corner sofas, serving as excellent spots for friends and family alike to cuddle up, watch films, or play games together.
There are also classic armchairs, ready to accommodate solo seaters; the undeniably classy chaise longues that turn your living room gathering into a sophisticated soiree; or complement the décor with an accent chair, providing that extra bit of seating space. Don’t forget about the classic comfort of recliner chairs either, which are perfect for kicking your feet up after a hearty meal (and maybe even a snooze).
The centrepiece of the dining room, there’s plenty to consider when choosing a new dining table. Not only do you need to think about size, but shape too. Round dining tables are less formal than rectangular, serving well for casual dining experiences like buffets. They can also seat more guests compared to a rectangular table. Rectangular tables, on the other hand, offer more legroom for guests. They’re also good choices for those who want to choose benches as seating areas, which can be pushed under the table and out the way when not in use.
If you’ve invited the entire extended family for a feast, you’ll need a bigger table, or at least a dining table that can become bigger. That’s why extending dining tables are a great choice, as you can keep your table more compact for day-to-day purposes, and easily make them larger when you’re on hosting duties. For more information on how to choose the right table for your dining room, check out our dining room buying guide, which includes how to measure the space you need to comfortably seat guests, as well as advice on the shape of the table you should choose.
With a dining table picked out, you next need to find matching dining chairs. For an easy option, you can pick a dining table and chair set, which will include both. However, if you want to create your own unique dining set, you’ll want to focus on comfort, style, and available space. Most dining chairs feature padding for comfort, regardless of whether they’re made with a wooden or metal frame. They’re also available in many different styles and types of upholstery, such as fabric, velvet, and leather. Pick out a matching set of dining chairs for a simple and sophisticated aesthetic, or mix and match dining chairs for a more eclectic style.
Remember, whatever dining chairs or seating you choose, you’ll need to make sure they can be comfortably tucked under the table. So, always take measurements of your dining table to ensure there’s a good enough sized dining area for your seats to slot into! And, if you’re looking to truly make the most of your dining room, you’ve got two particularly good space saving options: bar stools and dining benches.
Bar stools are great for more casual gatherings, especially if you’ve got an open plan dining or living space with a kitchen island or bar area. They’re also easier to store away than most chairs, as well as often being a more affordable option. Both reasons make them a great option as extra seating that you bring out when the need arises.
Dining benches are also a fantastic choice for casual dining, although they can only be paired with rectangular dining tables. If they fit your dining dimensions, you can tuck these benches under the table when not in use. Then, when friends and family pop over, you can squeeze more guests on these longer seats. And, when they are in use, they’re a good choice for fitting in as many guests as possible, not being restrained by needing one seat per guest.
When it comes to buying the right guest bed, you need to think about size, as well as the mattress itself. For size, we’d advise single or small double beds for box-sized spare rooms, and double beds for any room larger than that. Of course, you can always treat your guests to a bigger bed, such as a king size bed or a super king bed, but only if you’ve got the room to accommodate the larger dimensions.
As for your guest bed mattress, we’d recommend choosing a medium mattress, as they’re more likely to work well for any guests you have over. Typically, you should steer clear of more specialist mattresses, such as firm mattresses or soft mattresses. These types of mattresses might not be the best choice for a guest bed that’ll see different sleepers, so it’s best to stick to a good all-rounder.
For more information about finding the best guest bed for your home, read our guest bed buying guide, which covers everything from day beds to divan beds. We’ve also got plenty of great tips for finding the best mattress for your guest bed in our mattress buying guide.
Naturally, you can have a guest sofa bed in a guest bedroom, especially as they’re great choices for smaller guest rooms, or those which perform multiple functions - like a home office. However, sofa beds have been tailor made for living rooms and lounges, allowing your guests to enjoy unrivalled comfort during the day and into the night.
It’s just a case of finding the right size of sofa bed for your lounge. You need to think about the dimensions of fitting the sofa, as well as the space you’ll need to pull the bed out of the frame. If you’ve got a large living room, opt for a big corner sofa bed. These L-shaped seaters are excellent choices for both single sleepers and couples, offering both a good amount of space to stretch out and get comfy.
A more modest choice that’s still big on comfort is 3 seater sofa beds, as they take up less space than a corner sofa and still serve well as both a seating and sleeping area. 2 seater sofa beds are also good choices, especially for smaller living rooms. You can accommodate both single sleepers and couples, though the 2 seater could prove a tad snug for a couple.
It’s also worth noting that there are charmingly homey chair beds, which are great additions to any living room or lounge. These armchairs-turned-sofa beds are an ideal choice for single sleepers, especially as they can easily fit into small living areas.