A kitchen is where the party inevitably ends up, no matter how small it is. This is a fact interior designer and host of Queer Eye, Bobby Berk, knows all too well as he revealed the ultimate solution for hosting Christmas in a small kitchen to the Ideal Home team.
Aside from the most stylish kitchen ideas, it's all about getting the audio and seating in order. A sociable kitchen layout is essential for making sure you have enough space to cook and prep as a host, as well as enjoy your guest's company, but the music is what will keep people in the room.
So when you're designing a kitchen, it's important to factor spatial audio into the layout, whether that's through the best speakers or even cleverly arranged seating that encourages a fun, social atmosphere. Bobby's top tips on exactly how to design a space for hosting will help you get your kitchen ready to celebrate this Christmas.
Bobby Berk's tips for hosting
Hosting is a real art, one that Bobby Berk has certainly mastered. Hosting well, and easily, relies on clever interior choices that make socialising come naturally and of course, planning what you'll eat and drink (which the Queer Eye hosts cleverly work together on).
A kitchen is where this all comes together, so whether you're planning an entire new renovation or simply looking to add a couple of festive updates to your space to make hosting for the holidays run smoothly, Bobby's tips will lead the way.
1. It's all about audio
Music is essential for any good party, but having speakers at your fingertips will also make cooking much more enjoyable. Whether you're prone to a Michael Buble singalong or feeling inspired by the Beckham's Islands in the Stream kitchen dance, having your go-to playlists will create core memories when hosting or simply living day-to-day.
When speaking to the Ideal Home team, Bobby revealed he's a lover of Sonos speakers for situating around his kitchen and in the outdoor areas around his home. 'It's cool how Sonos will integrate with Spotify. It's really great because our guests can literally just open up the Spotify app and select whatever area we're in on the Spotify app, they don't have to have a separate app for it', Bobby says.
'It's very user-friendly for people that are coming over.'
2. Socialise your seating
Planning a kitchen layout is one of the core factors that will transform how you use a space, but it's easy to get it wrong. When designing the overall layout, thinking about what type of seating you want - whether this is a bar area or a large extendable table will be essential. To do so, it's important to assess exactly how you like to host, and how many people you have to visit and alter seating accordingly.
'We have a large dining room table, but if we had put a bunch of chairs around it, it wouldn't seat as many people as it does with a bench,' Bobby explains.
'So what I've done is actually on one side of the table, I do chairs, but then on another side, I chose a big bench. This way, we can fit three additional people on the side with the bench because everybody can sit much closer together,' he says.
'Visually it takes up less space too because chairs usually stick above the dining table.' Perfect for an aesthetically pleasing party, we say.
3. Expand on tech
While a good audio system like Bobby's Sonos set-up is essential for ensuring the music is heard loud and clear, you might want to make it even easier for guests to get involved in the curation.
'We have a Google screen in our kitchen which has the Spotify app on it. We use it on a daily basis because we can watch YouTube on it or we can listen to Spotify and it also has the news and the weather,' says Bobby.
'But when hosting it's great because it's also a speaker for music. So I think that's a really great way to integrate music into your kitchen if you don't have a lot of space. It's something that's utilised on a daily basis for recipes or for watching something, but it's also a great speaker for when you're hosting or when you're cooking and you want music yourself.'
Plus, it allows guests to visualise exactly what's lined up on a playlist. Multiple requests for the same Abba song, no longer.
4. Look to height for added serving space
Small kitchens make hosting challenging. From balancing bottles of fizz, delicate glassware, hot dishes and serving platters with limited worktop space can be a juggle.
Instead of trying, and failing, to squeeze more plates onto your kitchen worktop, Bobby suggests looking upwards for the space you need.
'A lot of times, especially in cities and small flats, you don't have a lot of counter space. So get those multi-tiered trays where you can put plates on different levels for your different hors d'oeuvres,' he recommends.
'So don't think about your counter space from just side to side, think about it up and down as well, and stack things up so that way you can get more food and orders out there.'
Et voila - in just a few simple steps (and no time at all) you can make your kitchen guest-ready and achieve your very own Queer Eye transformation.
Get the Ideal Home Newsletter
Sign up to our newsletter for style and decor inspiration, house makeovers, project advice and more.
After starting out her journey at Future as a Features Editor on Top Ten Reviews, Holly is now a Content Editor at Ideal Home, writing about the best interior ideas and news. At Top Ten Reviews, she focussed on TikTok viral cleaning hacks as well as how to take care of investment purchases such as lawn mowers, washing machines and vacuum cleaners. Prior to this, Holly was apart of the editorial team at Howdens which sparked her interest in interior design, and more specifically, kitchens (Shaker is her favourite!).
IKEA's new outdoor table includes a clever feature to help add more plants to a small garden – and it's a steal at £115
Fancy a cascading plant display in your garden? Then you need this genius outdoor table
By Kayleigh Dray
How to choose the perfect scented candle for Mother’s Day
For moments that matter, make it Yankee Candle
Energy experts reveal the upgrades that will increase the value of your home by 15% – by boosting your EPC rating
Prioritise these now for a huge payout later on
By Jullia Joson