How to Renovate a Kitchen for Entertaining

by Kelley Rowland

How to build an entertainment kitchen that is the heart of the home—and the party

Hosting friends and family in your home is a big job with a seemingly endless to-do list, from the cleaning marathon the day before to the inescapable, last-minute trip to the wine store. One way to make the whole process easier: design your kitchen with entertaining top-of-mind. These homeowners, who all renovated with Sweeten, did just that when remodeling their culinary spaces. Here’s a look at how they built an entertainment kitchen in their homes.

1. Keep it open

Let’s face it, the host shouldn’t be hidden away from guests while prepping hors d’oeuvres. A layout that leaves the kitchen exposed to the dining area allows you to enjoy your own party while keeping the food and drinks flowing. Marie and John wanted their Brooklyn adobe to accommodate their friends, children, and grandchildren, so they optimized their kitchen layout, leaving the dining and living areas open to the kitchen. Jennifer and Joe “entertain so much” they had to take a departing wall down except for a load-bearing one which was perfect for the fridge.

This open concept entertainment kitchen lets hosts serve guests just a few steps away from the kitchen
(Above) Open dining area and kitchen

It's easy to go straight from the kitchen to dining room to family room in this open-concept entertainment kitchen
(Above) Open concept except for a small structural wall

2. Double up

Two of anything is almost always better than one. The double oven in Bellamy and Zak’s was a “non-negotiable,” and for good reason. Anyone who’s cooked multiple dishes at once knows the struggle of balancing oven time. Two appliances eliminate the hassle of planning around such restrictions. The same thought can be applied to sinks. Nilda and Brian’s entertainment kitchen has two of them, one in the main cooking area and another in the wet bar. A central sink can hold the inevitable pile of dirty dishes, while the other stays free for cleaning glasses for fresh drinks.

Double ovens and bar seating make it easy to prep for and host a crowd in this entertainment kitchen
(Above) Double ovens

Ample countertop space means more room for hosting and prepping for guests
Double sinks makes preparing food and cleaning up easier for homeowners
(Above) Double sinks

3. Think smart storage

When you’re rushing to set the table before guests arrive or putting the last touches on a meal, you’ll be grateful dishes and utensils are in sight. These Sweeten homeowners (and avid entertainers) installed open shelves in their L-shaped kitchen, making it easy to grab-and-go as needed—not to mention they look pretty, too. Other creative ideas include toe kick storage, like these self-described “foodies,” whose passion it is to cook, or a pull-out pantry next to the fridge for access to dry ingredients.

Exposed shelving makes it easy to grab stuff on the go, making this the ultimate entertainment kitchen
(Above) Open-shelving

These toe-kick kitchen drawers leave no space wasted in this small city apartment
Toe kick storage

A hidden, pull-out pantry gives homeowners more storage space
(Above) Pull-out pantry

4. Make it work

Placing the workhorse of your kitchen (the stove) in a central location like an island or peninsula allows hosts to put the last touches on a meal while talking to their guests. Sonali and Shalaj’s peninsula and Ainsley and Simon’s island are such examples of an ideal set-up. “We like that the stove is in the peninsula now, because it allows us to cook and interact with guests when we have them over,” Sonali said.

This entertainment kitchen lets the chef prepare a meal, while socializing with loved ones at the bar
(Above) Working island

This entertainment kitchen comes complete with a workspace kitchen island meal prep(Above) Cook space island

A final note: Use these suggestions and ideas as guidelines for your own kitchen renovation. Layout, budget, and space are major game-changers when it comes to remodeling, so for some, an open floor plan or giant kitchen island may not be an option. The most important thing is to design a space you love.


For more entertaining tips, check out 6 Home Bar Ideas That Deserve a Toast.

Refer your renovating friends to Sweeten and you’ll both receive a $250 Visa gift card when they sign a contract with a Sweeten general contractor. 

Sweeten handpicks the best general contractors to match each project’s location, budget, and scope, helping until project completion. Follow the blog for renovation ideas and inspiration and when you’re ready to renovate, start your renovation on Sweeten.

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