interior decor for entertaining guests

Interior Design for Entertaining

This time of year, we’re all thinking about dinner parties, holiday hosting, and cocktail nights at home with friends. The holidays are a busy time of year for your home, and if you like to host, you’ve got to consider this when you choose interior decor. 

We like to think of entertaining as two different types: casual entertaining and formal entertaining. Casual entertaining is what we do with our close friends and family. This style of entertaining is more lounge-like. It’s board game nights and movies in cozy clothes. Formal entertaining is more large family gatherings or work parties. These get-togethers can feel more like cocktail parties or fancy dinners at times.  Both entertaining styles are lovely. However, they require different considerations when designing your home. 

Here are the things to consider when decorating your home for entertaining:

Seating Requirements

One of the most important things to consider when decorating your home for events and entertainment is planning where people will sit. Choosing comfortable dining chairs is crucial for any entertaining style, but it’s essential to think about what kind of seating you have in the living room area for socializing. 

Deep and comfortable sofas and sectionals are great for casual entertaining as you can sink in and enjoy long evenings spent catching up with close friends. However, for more formal entertainment, deep sofas can be a negative. For formal entertaining, you’ll want to choose seating that provides more structure so guests can sit and stand more easily. Coworkers don’t want to struggle to get out of the deep sectional sofa, and grandma may find it challenging to sit for long periods at the family dinner in an accent chair without enough support. 


Nothing says casual night in with friends like a large coffee table to crowd around, play a board game, or set the communal popcorn on. However, for formal entertaining, having a variety of surfaces spread out around the room is the best option. This interior decor tactic allows guests to place their glasses or small plates close by without having to lean over each other uncomfortably. 

An ottoman may be the perfect solution for casual entertaining as a tray provides a place to put glasses of wine while also allowing guests to put their feet up and lounge. But that same ottoman wouldn’t be as valuable for a more formal entertaining environment. Having side tables more evenly dispersed around a room is the right tactic for formal entertaining. 


Casual entertaining means you’re generally more comfortable getting up close and personal with your guests. This entertaining style involves being close, cuddling up with family and friends, and swapping the latest juicy life details. If this is the purpose of your home, you only need a little floor space to move around each other with ease. 

In a formal entertaining space, you’ll want to choose furniture that maximizes floorspace so that guests can easily stand and move past each other rather than stepping over the legs of others like in a crowded theatre. For this reason, smaller, more structured sofas and accent chair combinations can offer more versatility and floor space for guests to move around and intermingle without feeling like they are sitting on top of each other. 

design tips for an entertaining space

What kind of entertaining style speak to you? If you’re wondering if there’s a way to decorate your home for both entertaining types, there is! Our experienced designers are here to help you find the perfect solution. Our complimentary design process means you can get all the help you need from qualified, no-pressure professionals. Get in touch today or visit our showroom at 564 Yates Street in Victoria, BC.