Party Architecture: #2 – Structure

(Image credit: Maxwell Ryan)

Last night two friends threw their first party since they finished renovating. Everyone was impressed by the colors, the windows, and the furniture. But the party itself felt a little blocked.


While the density was about right for the sophisticated air, they hadn’t set the place up for a party. People were trying to talk across the big, blocky (no doubt fashionable) living room furniture.

I found myself wedged between a column and a couch, and later boxed in a corner wishing I smoked so I could escape outside. I didn’t know where the bar was!

The party had bad structure…


Structure, a second tenet of Party Architecture, refers to how you arrange your apartment for a party. Like density, the right structure depends on the type of party. Here are a few ideas for cocktail parties and late night, fun parties.

1. Spread the Joy

There are four cardinal points in your party space: entrance, bar, food, and music. Keep them separate. And be sure to have open space in between, preferably open to the entrance. Don’t be afraid to shift some furniture.

2. Use Party Feng Shui

With the entrance at your back, the bar should be on the left, ideally visible from the entrance. The music should be opposite the entrance or the bar. If possible, windows should be on one side of your open space.

3. Spread Your Zones Out

The open space will help people to mix early in the party. If you have additional room in your apartment, arrange separate zones for the extremes: intimate conversations and dancing. This allows your guests to gravitate to their comfort zone over the course of the evening.

– Billy Mac

Party Architecture Series

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