As you ready your home to host a holiday party, the focus is typically on the main rooms guests will spend time in.
But having an entryway make an impression is equally, if not more, important.
After all, it’s the first thing your guests will see when they arrive.
Here’s how to properly welcome guests into your home — from the outside in.
Entryway Party Prep Step 1: Start Outside
The entryway includes more than the space after walking through the door.
“I like to set the tone of the party before guests enter,” says professional party planner Julia Lake.
Line your mailbox and pathway with simple white holiday lights so guests can easily identify your house, and can easily see the path to the door.
The door itself can be dressed up too.
“Decorate with a bay leaf or boxwood garland and a wreath on the front door.
Upon arrival, your guests are immediately met with some holiday flare,” says Lake.
Switch out your normal welcome mat for a festive holiday mat.
Entryway Party Prep Step 2: Be Functional
Once inside, help your guests quickly feel comfortable, and easily move into the party atmosphere.
Clear out space in the entry closet for guests to hang their coats in the moments you aren’t immediately available, providing enough hangers.
If you have the room, add another coat rack, table or umbrella stand for convenience.
Entryway Party Prep Step 3: Set the Mood
Scents are the easiest way to instantly create a specific mood.
Holiday-scented candles, such as apple spice, cinnamon, or vanilla, combined with the glowing fire, will immediately bring warmth to your home.
“Candles placed at different levels around the home will create interest,” says Seri Kertzner, founder of Little Miss Party Planner.
If you don’t have out-of-reach spots in your entryway, look for holiday scented air fresheners.
Another easy way to set the mood?
Welcome guests with a small table placed to the side holding champagne cocktails; it will quickly get everyone into the holiday spirit!
Entryway Party Prep Step 4: Beautify
Because the entryway is the first space that sets the tone of the party, continue with your color palette and decorations in this area.
“Buy flowers; decorate with antiques stuffed with holiday flair, such as gold pine cones; or stuff colored ornaments into clear vases,” says Lake.
These can be placed on a side table or entry hall table.