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Shifts in home design have created a variety of gathering places

May 13, 2014

Hand Scraped Hardwood FloorsNo matter what part of your home you're trying to make more socially appealing, having hardwood flooring will create continuity between different rooms. With choices like those from Anderson's Dellamano hickory floors collection, the warmth of the wood makes any gathering place in the house a welcoming spot.

Although certain rooms may be your personal sanctuary, there's bound to be at least one space where people gravitate. Homeowners frequently design a place in their homes to be a social setting for entertaining guest or focusing on family activities. Traditionally, it's been the kitchen, but these days it's as much the area immediately removed from the kitchen or a nearby space where the dividing line between cooking and socializing is blurred.

According to Style at Home, kitchen cabinetry is changing from traditional rows of doors and drawers to cabinets that look more like furniture, allowing the cooking space to tie in more easily with furnished areas of the kitchen. Some configurations are customized to fit right on top of counters for a truly built-in look that encases the kitchen appliances. Some come in different colors and styles to further create the impression of furniture rather than storage space.

More gathering places
Entertainment centers vary from sophisticated viewing rooms with seating for guests who join in on the activities, while others may simply dominate one side of a family room. Either way, according to HGTV, the emphasis on electronics for seated entertainment or more active pursuits has taken hold in modern home design. Family rooms now host games at a billiards table while guests mingle at a wet bar for beverages and snacks and watch their favorite teams on a large-screen TV.

Outdoor living spaces, even in cold-weather regions where people can only use them during certain months of the year, have taken on new importance as gathering places for the home. Outdoor kitchens go well beyond simple grilling, while guests linger well into evening warmed by outside fireplaces or fire pits that can be moved to suit the size of the party.

As a result, homeowners are investing in furniture made with weather-resistant materials that look like they could as easily be situated in the family living room. With wireless technology and all-weather TVs, outdoor activities now include all the computer and entertainment capabilities that homeowners can enjoy indoors. Along with dining and relaxing, these upgrades have broadened the definition of outdoor activities for patios and decks.