How to Create a Versatile Kitchen Layout That’s Perfect for Entertaining Guests

Julissa Arangure
Written by Julissa Arangure
Updated December 27, 2021
Family dining together at home
Photo: Thomas Barwick / stone / Getty Images

Your kitchen will be the life of the party

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When it comes to dinner parties and parties, a kitchen is an essential part of the experience. Friends and family gather around to share stories, laughter, and, of course, delicious food. If you’re looking to redesign your kitchen or incorporate a new layout, there are several things you can include to make it perfect for entertaining. You’ll have to prepare yourself, though, because you’ll soon become the go-to home for celebrations. 

The Basics of Creating a Kitchen Layout for Entertaining

Before you start gathering quotes or moving your kitchen items around, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does my current layout work for me?

  • Do I have a budget for revamping?

  • Will I have large parties?

  • Are there kids here often?

  • How much cooking do we do?

  • Where would I like guests to sit?

Once you’ve established your kitchen goals, you can incorporate some of the following ideas depending on your needs. And don’t think you have to tackle it all at once: You can start by making small changes and working your way up to the kitchen of your dreams. A kitchen redesign can cost anywhere from ​​$4,310 and $25,160, depending on how big the project is, so don’t be afraid to start with little upgrades.

1. Consider an Open Kitchen Layout

White breakfast table with black leather chairs
Photo: Perry Mastrovito / Image Source / Getty Images

Open kitchen designs are the perfect solution for family gatherings and entertaining because they encourage movement between the living and dining rooms. It’s a non-traditional approach that allows your guests to eat where they are comfortable and gather in different areas of the house. Think of creative ways to place your furniture, like corner seating and modular units to act as room dividers. 

This idea is certainly one of the more drastic changes on the list, but if you entertain a lot or just love the idea of an open floor plan, it could be worth tackling. A local kitchen remodeling pro will be able to give you a unique quote and see how big of a renovation this will be for your space. 

2. Incorporate an Island 

 Bright kitchen with blue and white cabinets
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Kitchen islands are great for prepping food, putting out appetizers, and serving as informal seating and bar areas. Friends and family can gather around while you prepare the finishing touches for dinner. Adding a kitchen island costs about $4,000 on average, but you’ll have many unique options here, which can change the price. 

If you need additional room in the kitchen, you can invest in a moveable island that rolls to any area and typically costs much less than a permanent island. This addition will create more space for you and your guests, but will still allow them to have a surface to set their drinks.

3. Extend Your Kitchen

Cheerful family celebrating in dining room
Photo: Klaus Vedfelt / DigitalVision / Getty Images

If you are hosting larger parties, consider extending your kitchen outdoors. You can go all out and invest in the cost to create an outdoor kitchen, or if you don’t have the space, you can make this happen by adding patio furniture that matches your kitchen decor. 

If your space is right for it, open doors that lead to the patio or deck can bring in more light and make things feel more connected. You can also add a grill in the backyard for fun summer gatherings and heating lamps for a winter soirée.

4. Choose the Right Appliances

Wine cellar in a home kitchen with white cabinets
Photo: alvarez / E+ / Getty Images

Aside from just the basic appliances you have in your kitchen, think of items that will step your party game up and make it even easier to entertain. Set up a beverage station with drinks and an ice machine, a wine fridge or cellar, a warming drawer to serve buffet style, or an upscale coffee machine that will pair perfectly with dessert. Little details can go a long way, and the easier it is to have people over, the more you’ll enjoy it.

5. Create Ambiance With Proper Lighting

Open concept kitchen and dining room
Photo: Photo London UK / Adobe Stock

Lighting sets the mood for any gathering, and though your tablescape may include candles to complement the mood lighting, it’s also important to have good light for cooking. Dimmers are a great way to have it both ways because you can adjust the brightness to whatever your needs are at the moment. For an impressive kitchen look, you can have a focal light in the center of the kitchen, like a chandelier or oversized lampshade.

6. Focus On Making Your Kitchen Functional

Woman opening kitchen drawer
Photo: Lourdes Balduque / Moment / Getty Images

While having a unique and beautiful kitchen is great, it’s also important that it makes sense for you. After all, a dinner party gets a lot less fun if it’s difficult to whip up your famous pasta dish. 

For a mix of function and fashion, you can incorporate open shelves and island cabinets. A rolling cart can also be useful for storing drinks and utensils during parties. When it comes to the pantry, use turntables to store spices and snacks. Installing hidden drawers (also referred to as toe-kick drawers) can add storage without changing the aesthetic of your kitchen.

You’ll also want to find the type of dining room table that works best for your space and needs, from a smaller round table to a large rectangular table one that can accommodate multiple guests.

7. Add in Technology

Woman shredding cheese on top of a pasta dish
Photo: Westend61 / Westend61 / Getty Images

If you love to play music or plan on hosting a party to watch the big game, a charging station or outlet tower can make a huge difference. Here you can use various gadgets at once for the ultimate experience. It can be useful when following a recipe online, waiting for phone alerts of guests arriving, playing music, and controlling your TV. Charging stations can live on your island, breakfast nooks, or easily hide in drawers.

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