There are certain things that are no-brainers when it comes to throwing a party. Food, drinks, music—check, check, check. But there are some other details that can make all the difference between a snooze-fest and an all-nighter (in a good way).

Have you ever noticed how guests always corral in the kitchen during parties, only to leave your living room a ghost town? Do you find that people hover for too long near the canapés and cocktails without circulating? The problem could be traffic flow. While your furniture arrangement might work for day-to-day use, a dining table or an inconvenient sectional chaise can cramp things up when things get crowded, forcing people into bottle-necks. Avoid the holiday traffic jam this year and follow these tips for maximizing your cocktail party floor plan.

west elm - Holiday Cocktail Party Floorplan


A floating sofa might look lovely on a normal day, but it’s only in the way during a party. Scoot all of your furniture along the walls for your fête to create a clear flow for walking and enough standing room for everybody to be comfortable. Bonus points: if you re-arrange often, think about investing in a flip sectional like our Eddy model shown here. You can switch the chaise from left to right depending on your layout.


It may be tempting to artfully arrange food and drinks in a centralized location, but it’s a recipe for overcrowding! Instead, place food and beverages throughout your party space to space people out and subtly encourage mingling. Coffee + side tables are great places to put a bowl or two of snacks.


Need extra seating? Shift some of your throw pillows from your sofa to the floor for a cozy + casual place to sit down.


Move your dining chairs to the wall and form seating clusters to foster conversation. Side tables can be moved from the sofa’s edge to these areas for placing drinks and snacks.


Transform a console into a bar by putting down trays and glassware.


Swing your dining table against the wall and turn it into an oversized buffet for serving large dishes or punch!

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