Last year, my husband and I bought a house. It is cool, it has a backyard, we've decorated (sort of), remodeled a weird rental unit into a fun room, and have a grill and patio furniture and everything. We're even conveniently located on a bus line and there's parking in front of our house.
We want to make our house the hangout spot for our friends, the way that our parents (or our friend's parents) made their houses the hangout spots for us. How do we do that? Every time we try to throw a party, we spend way too much time and money getting our place and the food and the music all ready.
How do we make our house ready all the time, without emptying the bank and becoming Martha Stewart?
I've always been lucky that the spaces I live in have been frequently been used as a place for my friends to hang. To the point where I'd come home from work and find a group of friends had let themselves in, and were relaxing on my couch watching TV… which I LOVE! I happen to be a homebody, and am so much more comfortable partying at home then I am at a bar or club.
Now, pulling this off has been quite a feat because I've never had an outside space, I have nosey/complain-y neighbors, and parking is crap. So you already have a LOT going for you. Here are a few ideas on how you can easily make and keep your house party-ready.
- Don't stress. If you're getting all worked up about having the right food or the right music or if your guests are having a good time or not, it's probably obvious that you're stressing out. Your friends are going to notice and feel like they're putting you out. Which means they won't want to hang at your place, because they feel bad for you.
- Stock up on easy foods and drinks. Hotdogs last forever in the freezer. If you have fruit, you have a fruit salad. Keep chips and salsa on hand. If all else fails, you can always order in. Also, one of the reasons my place is so popular is because I'm known for being the gal who always has a bottle (or 4) of wine at the ready.
- Have a designated hang spot. Arrange your living room so that your couches and chairs are always arranged in an L or U shape — it's the best for encouraging conversations and for making everyone feel included.
- If you're outside invest in a fire pit. Even if your backyard isn't dressed up for a party, light the fire and watch the ambiance take shape.
- Wire for sound. My favorite part about my parents' house (which also was a party destination) was that they had indoor/outdoor speakers. Often times all you needed to do to get the party started was to turn on the outdoor speakers and it was go time.
- Have a couple party playlists ready to go. If it's small hang, some chill background music is fine. If it's a big hang, kick up the tempo. If it's a family party, pick music that won't offend. If it's an orgy, make sure you've got a lot of sexy tunes.
And just keep in mind that you don't need to be Martha Stewart to throw a good party. It's not about decorations, signature drinks, or Pinterest-worthy menus. If your friends are comfortable and you're having a good time, that's all you really need.
So what are YOUR tricks to having an easy party-ready pad?