8 quick tips for how to rearrange a room to create a super-social space before hosting a crowd

Design experts explain the neatest tricks for for how to rearrange a room before your holiday guests arrive

A small living room with a tree inside
(Image credit: Homebase)

Holiday time means large gatherings, parties, and feasts. You may feel your home isn't large enough to accommodate all your friends and family but, with a little rearranging, you'll be surprised at how that may not be entirely true. 

Take it from us: reconfiguring your furniture is as important as the refreshments and decorations. The right layout will open up the area, and encourage your guests to mix and mingle without making them feel cramped or uncomfortable. While doing this task may take a fair amount of time, your efforts will reap large benefits during your soirees.

We have gathered some simple and doable ideas that will allow you to combine your Christmas decor and freshly rearranged home seamlessly.  

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari
Aditi Sharma Maheshwari

Aditi is a homes writer and editor with several years of experience. Her articles, backed by expert insights, offer suggestions aimed at helping readers make the best home design choices. For this article, she spoke to top experts from the industry to understand ways to rearrange the living room for Christmas. 

8 ways to rearrange a room before hosting a big gathering for Christmas

1. Consider the size and location of your Christmas tree first

A christmas tree fitted inside a small space

(Image credit: Homebase)

For your Christmas living room decor ideas, remember to keep the most important element of the room – the tree – in a place that is accessible yet not in the way. The first thing to do, in that case, is to be careful before choosing the tree for your home. 

'First and foremost, the main figment before rearranging the layout is to find a focal point for your tree in consideration of the space, size, and functionality,' says Noorein Kapoor, founder of NKD. 'It is also vital to know how large or small of a tree you need as it helps you in considering moving your furniture into the adjacent rooms and can help in providing the seating without any compromise for the guest when throwing a party.'

'Usually, the issue with the Christmas tree is its diameter; even if it's not very tall it can be very wide,' says Kashi Shikunova, founder of Yam Studios. 'The ideal choice would be to pick a slender tree. Artificial trees tend to be slimmer and a good quality tree can look great so it is worth considering.'

'If your space is too tight, choose a scaled-down version of a Christmas tree,' says Jennifer Morris, founder of JMorris Design. 'And if your living room is too small, then consider skipping one completely and creating a look of one with garlands and wreaths.'

Artificial Christmas Pine Tree from Amazon
Buy now

Artificial Christmas Pine Tree from Amazon

Bring home this 7 feet artificial tree, designed with LED lights for a stunning Christmas look in your living room. The realistic make of the tree will last you seasons.

2. Rearrange seating to encourage conversations

A living room seating arrangement facing each other

(Image credit: Sturtevant Co. Photo credit Douglas Friedman-1)

When it comes to how to rearrange your seating, you want to encourage seamless conversations. Consider moving your furniture, and turning it around so that the sofas and chairs face each other - not the living room TV. have enough space for two to four people to sit down on. 

Perhaps turn the seaters so they are no longer facing the TV, but each other. Add a few chairs as part of your Christmas fireplace decor, so people can sit by the fire, and admire the decorations while having an intimate conversation.

3. Add more flexible seaters like floor pillows

A small living room with pouffes

(Image credit: Liat Eliav design studio. Photo credit Jose Hevia)

If you're hosting a large party of people, you don't need to break the bank with new chairs or a brand-new sofa. Bring in small stools or dining chairs to the mix in your living room. Add floor pillows to your Christmas checklist, and place them by the fireplace or by the window. 

Usually, you do not need to keep the same amount of seating as per the number of guests. At any point in time at a party, there will be a few people who will be seated, and others will be either standing or walking around. 

Hand crochet pouf from Target
Editor's pick

Hand crochet pouf from Target

This indigo pouf is a wonderful seat, footrest, and a great accent piece for the living room.

4. If you have a large living room, create intimate seating zones

A living room with a bench in the middle as a divider

(Image credit: WF Arquitetos. Photo credit Fran Parente)

If you're lucky enough to have a large living room, consider opening up the room to more seating and decor opportunities. Place the furniture in small groups to create possibilities for personal conversations. Don't set the furniture so far apart that you have to lean in across the coffee table to hear what the other person is saying.

Consider dividing the room into quadrants and placing an equal amount of seats in each of the four areas. Keep a daybed or a console in the middle as a divider, to give a more pronounced sense of seating areas. 

'To separate the area, create something bespoke that looks like it was always meant to be separated,' say interior designers Jenna Choate-James and Mariana Ugarte of design studio Interior Fox. 'Think of bespoke shelves and cabinets for a more dramatic dip into the living room that makes it seem like it was always two different areas.'

'The most important thing to consider is leaving space to walk through each section easily,' says Jennifer. 'Add an area rug in each space, light up certain areas, and also think about adding bespoke cabinetry if need be.'

5. Place all the Christmas decor on to the mantle to keep the floor empty

Christmas living room decor with mantelpiece garland and baubles on deer antlers

(Image credit: K&H Design)

While it's great to go all out with Christmas decor, scale down a bit in the living room, so you can make space for people to sit, move around and enjoy the party. One way to do this is by moving all the decorations to the mantel, leaving the floor space and other table tops empty. 

'Consider the mantelscaping trend that offers a great excuse to get experimental with Christmas decorating,' says Abi Wilson of Habitat. 'Fasten evergreen foliage to the mantel from which you can hang decorations and baubles. Place hanging lights in different heights and mix matte and shiny finishes to craft a considered yet eclectic festive look. '

6. Use a layered lighting scheme to enhance the ambiance 

Green living room with layered textiles

(Image credit: Studio George, photographer: Edmund Dabney)

The key element of this festive time is the Christmas lighting, and a well and warmly-lit living room can go a long way in making your guests feel comfortable. 

‘Light has a huge influence on how it makes people feel,' says Jonas Bjerre-Poulsen, co-founder of Norm Architects. 'Think of the power of the sun. A well-designed room with poor lighting design just doesn't work.’ 

‘Work with the constraints of your living room and select lighting that helps overcome these issues,’ says Massimiliano Tosetto, managing director of lighting brand Lodes. ‘If you have a small living room, don’t overpower the space with large statement pieces. Choose subtle wall lamps that don’t obstruct the room to diffuse light evenly.’

Bring in string lights, populate tabletops with candles and add floor lamps to dark corners.

7. Wheel in a trolley for food and drinks

Living room corner ideas reading nook and drinks trolley by Kitesgrove

(Image credit: Kitesgrove)

Whether vintage or modern in style, a cart can double as a side table, snack tray or magazine rack, especially useful when you are hosting a large party of people. Choose a beautiful design, perhaps marble or stone, or a brass-detailed piece that can be moved from room to room, adding a decor touch and extra functionality wherever it goes.

For your Christmas bar trolley, remember to keep all the bulky bottles, ice buckets and decanters on the bottom tier, and the lighter, more delicate glassware and cutlery on top. This will ensure the weight distribution and balance of the cart as you move it from room to room. 

Oval Gold Bar Cart from Amazon

Oval Gold Bar Cart from Amazon

Choose this serving cart made in gold metal to add a sparkling touch to your indoors, and elegance to your parties. 

8. Place all tables along the perimeter of the room, as a buffet style

a living room in a modern rustic style

(Image credit: Michael Clifford. Design: Jake Arnold)

Push all the tables and stools out of the center, and along the perimeter of the room. This will give your guests plenty of space to walk around and mingle. Plus, with tables placed against walls and corners, you can utilize them as buffets, by placing hot piping food, drinks, and more on them. 

Consider doing the same for your Christmas kitchen decor, with tables placed along the walls, for easy a la carte eating. 

Design Editor

Aditi Sharma Maheshwari is the Design Editor at Livingetc. She is an architecture and design journalist with over 10 years of experience. She's worked at some of the leading media houses in India such as Elle Decor, Houzz and Architectural Digest (Condé Nast). Till recently, she was a freelance writer for publications such as Architectural Digest US, House Beautiful, Stir World, Beautiful Homes India among others. In her spare time, she volunteers at animal shelters and other rescue organizations.