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Rearranging furniture and lighting can help create flow for a party.

“Great lighting is always the key to any fabulous party,” Ms. Boland said. “I know it sounds crazy, but every light switch in your house should have a dimmer, even in the bathroom. When party time rolls around, dim the lights, light some candles - unscented only - put on some tunes and let your guests be the focus.”

Depending on the type of party you are hosting, you may want to add or eliminate seating.

“The way your home is furnished [for a party] is not necessarily going to be the same as everyday life,” Ms. Boland said. “For example, if you are hosting a first Communion brunch, you might have to bring chairs up from the basement for additional seating, especially if you have older guests like grandparents in attendance.”

If you want more space for guests to stand, Ms. Proxmire suggested removing a coffee table or other tables for the party. Moving dining chairs or a set of folding chairs into the living room works if you need extra seating.

Mr. Akseizer said homeowners who entertain often should think about alternative seating when they design their home. In addition to a sofa and dining chairs, he has several ottomans and a built-in bench in the kitchen. He recommended purchasing slipcovers for folding chairs to add style.

Ms. Munn recommended having an extra ottoman or two tucked away that can be pulled out for a party. She suggested experimenting with regrouping the furniture during a party for better flow and covering a desk or an end table with a tablecloth to extend the color scheme and provide an extra space for food or drinks.

“You can extend your seating groupings outdoors, too,” Mr. Akseizer said. “An outdoor heater can be a great investment for parties, because people like to get fresh air in any season. I always put ice, drinks and glassware outside, but it’s better to keep the food indoors.”

You can create party flow as well as decorations with the placement of refreshments at a party.

“It’s generally not a good idea to place food and drink in the kitchen, especially if someone is still doing meal prep,” Ms. Boland said. “You can put the bar and food on a sideboard or perhaps a kitchen island if it’s not in the way. You should place food for a buffet on both sides of the dining table to eliminate lines.”

Separating the bar from the front door and kitchen helps create flow, because all three areas naturally become congested during a party. Mr. Akseizer recommended placing serving platters on several levels, using jars or risers underneath if necessary, to make the buffet more visually interesting.

“Always have a signature drink at your party and make sure it is different each time,” Mr. Akseizer said. “It’s a great way to establish your theme and get your guests to try something new.”

Mr. Akseizer said he uses Pandora radio to create party playlists, and other hosts use an iPod with speakers for their music. The important thing is to plan the music before your guests arrive.

“Music is extremely important, and I think it helps people relax even more than alcohol,” Mr. Akseizer said. “At a party, you need to appeal to the sensory elements with the scent of good food, dim lighting to rest your eyes and the right music.”

Regardless of the type of music that appeals to you and your guests, it is key to have music playing from the moment the party begins to set the tone.

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