Need a little more room for the party season? Quick fix Ideas!
It’s difficult in the winter, the time of year you’re most likely to have a house full, over Christmas and New Year, to not feel overcrowded in your home. Doors are shut to keep the warmth in, if the man of the house ventures out to the garage there are scowls from womankind at the opening of the back door, and there’s more room than ever taken up by visitors’ coats, scarves, and bags of presents! Yet many of us can’t afford to buy a bigger house, and even if we can, wouldn’t necessarily need one for the rest of the year, and definitely wouldn’t be able to get into one for the end of this holiday season.
But there are other ways of growing your entertaining area to accommodate more guests, without having to move home. Whether something to think about after this Christmas for the early months of 2014, or whether to plan for next Christmas after feeling overly crowded this year, there are plenty of potential solutions.
Shelter from the weather
For occasional use, you could buy a gazebo, with or without walls depending on when you’re likely to use it and how much protection you are going to need. For autumnal rain or spring showers, a light protection from the wet may be sufficient. My parents have a gazebo to house their bbq in year-round, so that they can begin enjoying ‘summer’ and having dinner outside from the middle of March! It doesn’t have any walls so if it’s pooring down and windy, they head indoors, but for the lighter showers when it’s not too cold to be outdoors, they still love to wrap up and sit outside and bbq – authentic al fresco if ever I saw it.
How to BBQ a turkey!
For winter use, you’d need walls as the wind will feel much harsher and colder than in spring or autumn, so you’ll need protection from direct gusts. If you get walls which can be clipped on or off, or rolled up for the summer, you can use the same structure all year round. Similarly, you’re best off buying outdoor furniture which will last, yet you’d also like something which when sat on in the cold weather won’t feel like sitting on ice! With the shelter from the rain, you have more options for tables and seating than if you had to get something which would be rained on for months. You can opt for solid oak furniture, which can be dressed on party days with cushions or throws, and blankets, and your extra party space will feel designed and purposeful. You can even make a theme, like the outback or safari in Africa, where everyone will be keen to sit around in blankets in to the night. You could always keep a rug or spare piece of carpet in the garage which you bring out for specific times when you’ll be using the extra room outdoors.
Mere protection from the wind or rain alone won’t be enough to keep you warm in the coldest months. As the temperature drops outside, it’ll take more of a concerted effort to keep warm. You’ll need to heat the area under your gazebo, and having walls will go a long way to ensuring the heat doesn’t all escape. Have you sat outside restaurants which have enclosed tented walls and overhead heaters, and been surprised at how pleasantly warm it can be? There are various types of heaters you can buy and either keep set up outdoors for long term use, or buy and bring outside as and when you need them. Alternatively if it’s only once a year you need to maximise your outdoor space why not look into hiring some heavy duty outdoor heaters for the day. It’ll still be cheaper than moving house or building a conservatory!
Splash out on a conservatory
Definitely not a quick fix nor a penny saving exercise, but in comparison to feeling forced to move house, a conservatory could be a much more immediate or easy solution, if you are going to need extra space more often, and aren’t excited by the idea of sitting around the chimnea or fire pit with friends in blankets in your makeshift conservatory.
The benefits of a conservatory are that if there’s just one or two of you in the house for most of the year, you can shut the door to the conservatory and not worry about heating it for the rest of the time. My aunty even uses hers as a place to keep all the drinks cold if she’s having people round and isn’t going to need the conservatory for entertaining. Additionally, a conservatory can be an extension of the house, so if you need more room for dining on Christmas Day, you can really rearrange the furniture and make the most of the extra space. Or you can use it as an additional living room, if you think having a couple of different ‘zones’ for a party is going to suit your guests and your party ambience.
If you want some defined additional space for set purposes (i.e. not multipurpose space), such as a specific dining room and a larger kitchen, and you are able to afford it, why not have an extension. You don’t always have to move house to get the house you dream of, and if you already love your neighbourhood, and the work you’ve put in to the rest of the house, but feel you’re outgrowing the size of your current house, an extension can be the perfect solution. The architect can work with you to discuss your needs for more space, look at what you currently have available, and work with the space around the house to design solutions which are custom made for you and your family’s requirements. An extension is a real investment, not only will it make your life feel more relaxed and you’ll all have more room to suit your needs, it’ll add value to your house price and incentive to future buyers who are looking for that little something extra in a new house, if it comes to the point in the future that you do want to move – so it’s a good use of any money you do have available, both now and long term.
Happy New Year
Karen loves nothing more than spending time with family and friends, and loves welcoming them into her home, the more the merrier! Homeward Bound are her absolute favourite guilty pleasure when it comes to decorating her home to make it feel welcoming and cosy.