Getting everyone together for holiday parties is a comforting practice as the weather gets chilly: Sharing meals and company can be the best part of the holiday rush, but finding a place for everyone to sit can be a challenge. Whether you’re fitting people around a table, or adding seats for evening cocktails, there are some simple solutions.
Before you run out to buy anything new, take a look around at what you already have. You might have an office chair you hardly ever use or a pair of stools pulled up to the counter that can be repurposed. You can use chair covers to dress up existing seats without adding too much clutter. If you get really creative, you can even use outdoor seating a cover. A picnic bench with a stretchy cover will add extra seating and no one will be the wiser.
Add some stylish collapsible seating
One staple for quick extra seating is the folding chair. These can be stashed away in a basement or closet when not in use, but clunky metal or plastic chairs can detract from your overall look. Using a wooden folding chair can be both more attractive and comfortable for guests, and if you want to dial up your style, you can add a chair cushion for colour and comfort. Another option is to add a bench seat instead of separate chairs, which can sometimes allow an extra place or two at the table if your guests don’t mind getting cosy. You can find a foldable bench seat that will store flat, just like a folding table, and will add six feet of seating along one side of a table.
Make your table bigger
For expanded space at the table, you can add a standard leaf to your dining room tabletop, but there are other ways to extend your space even if you’re leafless. You can use a sheet of plywood to add space by placing a larger topper on your existing surface. Measure how large you want your temporary table top to be and then measure the length and width of your existing table. Add blocks at each corner on the underside of your plywood at the edges of where your existing table top will rest. Add some padding to your permanent table top to protect it so that it doesn’t get scratched up, and then place your temporary top. The blocks will prevent the topper from sliding around. Make sure to sand your plywood to avoid splinters, and use a tablecloth to dress it up.
Use the floor
For a less formal seating arrangement, adding seating like a pouf or a floor pillow can stretch your space and give people more places to perch. To opt for something a little more structured, you can choose a folding floor chair as an affordable option. Using a low table like a coffee table with some improvised near-the-floor seating can fit more guests in without a major remodel. Keeping some of your seating low to the floor will also help to create conversation areas where people can gather.
Add a drinks ledge
To maximise space, you can set your food up buffet-style to avoid using the dining surfaces for serving. Using a folding table with a tablecloth can be a good solution for serving, or you can use existing kitchen surfaces if they’re available. Adding drop tables around the room can also keep space more open and allow more people to gather without needing to balance multiple dishes on their knees. A ledge shelf or small wall shelf next to a chair or two gives people a place to set down drinks without taking up much space. You can make your own with a couple of shelf brackets and a board if you have a screw gun to attach it for a simple extra surface. Just make sure to place one bracket for every 18 inches of board length for a stable shelf.
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