How to provide enough seating

  • By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press
  • Wednesday, December 12, 2012 8:02pm
  • Life

The joy of home entertaining at the holidays often comes with a challenge: How do you provide enough seating for a roomful of holiday revelers with just a sofa and a few chairs?

Los Angeles-based interior designer Betsy Burnham and designers Brian Patrick Flynn and Kyle Schuneman offer advice on maximizing seating without sacrificing style.

Stealth seating: “I’m a big fan of vintage ottomans, stools and sturdy side tables like stumps for this exact purpose,” said Schuneman, author of “The First Apartment Book: Cool Design for Small Spaces.” These pieces can work as tables or storage surfaces, he said, then occasionally serve “as extra seating for game nights or casual gatherings around the coffee table.”

Benches can work the same way. Schuneman suggests buying two benches that coordinate nicely with the decor of your living room, and then storing them at the foot of beds.

Flynn, founder and editor of decordemon.com, uses ottomans in a similar way. “Inside the storage ottoman, I keep floor cushions.”

Chairs from elsewhere: Flynn often uses a mixture of different chairs and benches at a dining room table year-round. When extra chairs are needed, they don’t look like dining chairs. Another option he suggests is bringing in your outdoor seating.

Burnham does something similar with seating from game tables: A poker table with four chairs can be a great way to fill one corner of a room, she said.

The right sofa: Burnham prefers “sofas that have bench seams, so that it’s one big seat.”

Longer sofas offer additional seating, Flynn says, but they’re best used in what he calls a “floating space plan,” where two identical long sofas are placed across from one another.

If you have extra space after choosing your sofa, Burnham suggests focusing on adding chairs to your living room rather than a loveseat. “A loveseat’s a tough one,” she said, “because I don’t think people want to be super physically close” at parties.

Folding and stacking: Flynn said prefers chairs that can be stacked when not in use. “My favorite stacking chair is the Emeco Navy chair. It’s super light, maybe 7 pounds or so, and it’s classic in design. When not in use, stack them seven high in a closet and you’ll never know they’re there.”

Burnham favors black bamboo folding chairs from Ballard Designs (about $100), and has used clear Lucite folding chairs, “kind of like the Philippe Starck ghost chairs.”

Schuneman likes the fabric-covered “terai” folding chairs from Anthropologie (about $200).

“I always tell people to buy pieces that can move throughout your home,” he says.”

More in Life

‘Found’: Author and climber a 20-year veteran of mountain rescue

In her second book, Bree Loewen shares her experiences of volunteering with Seattle Mountain Rescue.

Secret garden: Privacy trees that won’t outgrow a small space

These plants offer some height to block out unwanted sights without taking over your yard.

Stock your winter bookshelf with these animal and nature reads

Four new books cover outdoors topics from butterflies to wolves.

The Shed Players recently released their new album “Our Shingle Most Favorites.”
Listen here: Josh Clauson, The Shed Players release new CDs

This feature is all about Snohomish County’s homegrown talent: locals who make music and record it.

Newfangled cooker isn’t for those with tried and true methods

Columnist Jennifer Bardsley recently succumbed to peer pressure and purchased an Instant Pot.

Now is the time to assess your student’s back-to-school plan

Take a good look at how your kids are managing their new routine, class, teacher(s) and homework.

Author’s talk of birds and clouds kicks off Marysville series

1. Birds and clouds Marysville’s Outdoor Adventure Speakers Series is kicking into… Continue reading

How to shop in the street markets of France

It’s the best way to connect with the nation’s farmers and artisans.

Oprah Winfrey joins ‘60 Minutes’ for 50th anniversary year

The media giant debuts on tonight’s show, reporting on a story about America’s political divisions.

Most Read