Do you fantasize about having the kind of home that everyone wants to hang out in? Do you daydream about dinner parties where the lights are lit low, the food is delicious and the conversation a mix of intelligent discourse and lighthearted teasing? Do you want to start your own tradition with friends in your own home? Whatever your reasons for wanting to have the kind of place that your friends always want to hang out in, here are the things to try in your space to transform it.
Some of it is location — sometimes the hang-out spot for groups of friends is the home that is the closest to everyone. But if you've ever wanted to start your own regular hang-out tradition (maybe you didn't grow up with holiday traditions or you just love the home you created and want to show it off) or if you're new to a city and want to create a friend group at your new place, here are some ideas to try:
Make your space comfortable for different types of folks
You know how there are cats that like to jump up on fridges and hide up high on shelves? And then there are those kind of cats that like to park it under your bed and under the sofa? Not that I'm comparing people to cats, but the differences between low and high cats does illustrate the fact that members of the same species can have different types of environments where they feel secure. So too, the mighty human. Some folks love curling up in a cozy sofa, while others find a too soft seat to be disarming. Some folks love perching high on top of stools while others like to stayed grounded on a pillow on the floor.
Make your space focus on the subject of the hang out
Does all your living room's seating point to the television when you want to host a weekly book club? Does your seating arrangement make guests have to crane their necks to see the screen if you're trying to host a monthly science fiction movie night? Want a dinner party but you've paid more attention to your art gallery wall than you have to the comfort of your dining chairs? Think about what kind of hang-out or tradition you're trying to start and consider which important physical elements need to exist to make it the kind of place people might want to linger in.
Don't embarrass them
You're going to have a hard time convincing people to keep coming over if they're not comfortable (as we've established above) and even doubly so if they feel embarrassed in your space.
Have something to do and consider a theme
Even if you're just hoping for some stimulating intellectual discourse, you want to offer folks something to do in case the conversation lulls or to lure shy folks into coming over and having something to do with their hands while they get comfortable in your surroundings. Try having board games around or interesting books and accessories to be observed. Or try having a theme that can get guests excited about participating and inspire them to create costumes, share their favorite media or prepare snacks.
Don't hover or fret
Not to be comparing humans to animals again, but people can pick up and feed off of your energy when you host. So if you're feeling nervous — hovering over people who are snacking or fretting over coasters — your guests might also feel nervous, and that might make for an environment that isn't the kind of place they want to hang out in on the regular. But in the same vein, if you give off an effortless, carefree vibe, it could relax guests and create the kind of hangout space you're looking for.
Invite them over
Sometimes people congregate regularly at spots naturally. And sometimes you've got to put forth effort to create the kind of hang-out traditions you dream about. And you won't ever get started if you don't invite people over. So go ahead, give it whirl. Maybe even mention to your closest friends that you'd really like to try and make this a regular thing (and you'd appreciate their input on what else you can do to make it the kind of place they'd come back to again and again). But most of all, just try!