Home renovations for the entertaining-minded

by Todd Lewys

If you’re an entertainer – but your home isn’t all that entertainment-friendly – don’t despair.


Simple: no matter whether your home is brand-new or a century-old River Heights Classic, there are plenty of ways to transform it into a true entertainment haven.

Here are some ways to give your home a makeover from simple to slick:

• Floor Plan Fix. Older homes often feature traditional layouts, where each space is separated by a wall. In many cases, a wall (with doorway) separates the dining room from the kitchen. To give your home’s main living area a contemporary open concept feel, enlist an expert to remove the wall separating the two spaces. Doing that will unite the dining room with the kitchen, making for improved traffic and light flow as well as better overall connectivity with guests.

• Imagine an island. If your kitchen doesn’t have one, consider putting in an island, placing it conveniently between the living room and the kitchen’s prep space. Not only will it add seating for guests, but it can also be used as a hub to serve finger food from while entertaining.

• Put in a patio door that leads out to a backyard deck. While many newer homes already have this handy feature, a high percentage of older homes don’t. In short, doing this can take your main living area to the next level for entertaining. Access to a deck or patio extends entertaining area in the spring, summer and fall, providing another area for guests to mingle and eat. Add some stylish, comfy outdoor furniture and wire the area for sound, and you’re all set!

• Sideboard Synergy. The addition of a sizeable sideboard to your dining area can pay big dividends in two ways. First, it adds additional serving space in an unobtrusive yet accessible spot. Second, a quartz or granite countertop can add a welcome dash of style while cabinetry below adds extra storage space.

• Transform your living room into a home theatre. This can be accomplished no matter whether your budget is small or large. If you’re working with limited funds, opt for a simple entertainment unit and sound bar with sub-woofer, sticking with well-known companies such as Bose, JBL or KEF; products from dedicated sound companies tend to deliver higher-quality sound. Those with more generous budgets can go all out with a drop-down high definition movie projector, monster screen and 5.1 Dolby surround sound system with wireless speakers placed around the periphery of the space (and above!). Add in some motorized window blinds to black dim the area while watching movies. A comfy sectional with cupholders is a bonus.

• Or, put in a dedicated theatre room downstairs. This is the route many people choose to go, as the theatre room can be placed in an area that opens onto a games room (more about that shortly) – or can be a separate room. In either case, you can go with the previously mentioned hi-def projector, monster screen and surround sound. Throw in some theatre-style seating, dimmable lighting, bar fridge and a popcorn maker, and you’re good to go.

• Go for a game room. To maximize the effect, place it across from your open concept home theatre. Those who want to watch the Big Game can watch it in the theatre, while those who prefer a game of pool can rack it up just steps away. The beauty of having the two spaces proximate to each other is that everyone can stay connected while doing what they want to do. To optimize the experience, add in a portable bar, compact fridge and a couple of bar-height tables for two where guests can sit down to enjoy a beverage and munchies while they visit.

The good news is that these home renovations can be as simple or elaborate as your budget permits.

There’s a wealth of options out there, from budget-friendly to state-of-the-art, so have at it!