(BPT) - Entertaining at home with friends and family can be both exciting and stressful. With big games, awards shows and book clubs filling your early spring social calendar, prepare your home by kicking off your spring cleaning routine a little early. Instead of just cleaning the kitchen counters, tossing a few extra towels in the guest bathroom and ignoring the rest of the house, try taking a few extra steps, which will leave you feeling ready to host at any time.
Knowing where to start is the most important thing. Lifestyle guru Susie Coelho has provided entertaining tips for the home on HGTV, 'Oprah,' 'Today' and 'The View' and knows just what to do.
Tip No. 1: Food can make or break a party. Start your preparations by stocking the bar and cleaning the kitchen.
Set the table or buffet before people arrive. There is a good chance some of the seating for your gathering will be located in the kitchen area. Make certain the kitchen is clean and the sink area is cleared of all food prep materials. If your garbage disposal has an odor, your guests will be sure to notice. Before the party starts, drop in a Power Pack of Liquid-Plumr Disposal + Drain Foaming Cleaner and run the disposal. The fresh citrus scent indicates your disposal is cleaned and deodorized, eliminating the chance of an embarrassing lingering smell being sensed by your guests.
'If you decide to host a a party, ask your guests to participate by bringing an appetizer on a decorative platter. This will add different flavors to your party and help encourage conversations about the combination of foods prepared,' Coelho says. Also, encourage them to match the theme of the gathering, like chips and salsa for a Mexican-themed party or olives, hummus and pita bread for a Greek-themed party.
Tip No. 2: Once the space is clean and the food is ready, add simple decor to make the space warm and inviting.
When decorating the seating and buffet areas, Coelho suggests going simple with tea lights in glass votive jars and choosing a one or two-tone color palette for dishes, napkins and flowers. 'For beautiful ambiance, arrange candles down the center of the table,' she says.
In addition to the candles as centerpieces, Coelho also recommends making the food part of the display as well.
'Contrast is a buffet's best friend and you can find it in different heights, sizes, colors of the food, dishes and accessories. I have used everything from fabrics, herbs and pottery to flowers, candles and vases, turned over a dish to get height and used an odd container for display,' she says.
Tip No. 3: The more room you have to mingle, the happier everyone will be.
As people start making themselves comfortable, they won't just stay in the kitchen. Having all areas of the house clean and open will invite guests to gather and socialize, keeping the party going longer.
One room your guests will be sure to visit is the bathroom. Make certain you have the room stocked with plenty of paper products as well as soap and hand lotion. Consider also placing a clean scented candle in the room.
Most importantly, be prepared for clogged drains in the bathroom and kitchen sinks, which could disrupt the flow of the party. 'A clogged sink drain always comes at the wrong time,' says Coelho. 'To avoid these inconvenient situations, I recommend keeping two products handy at all times: Liquid-Plumr Double Impact Snake + Gel System and Liquid-Plumr Urgent Clear. These products work great for both the bathroom and kitchen sinks to keep them running smoothly.'
Now that you're ahead of your spring cleaning chores, you can enjoy the company of your friends and family at the comfort of your home.