Stack of board games

Open up your space for fun and games

Hosting a game night for family and friends is a fun way to entertain. This is especially true during the winter months, when cold weather keeps us confined to inside spaces. Make sure your guests have plenty of room to relax and enjoy the festivities with these simple planning tips.

Make a game plan

Game night tip: Mix people up and assign party guests to teams, rather than letting everyone choose their groups. It's a great icebreaker and a way to encourage people to mingle.

Choosing the game for the evening is the first matter of business and will guide all party-planning decisions that follow. For example, the guest list will be dictated by the number of players required. Additionally, this will help you decide which room to arrange for play. Most board games are best when played with small groups of people -- around four to six. Games such as Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit and Taboo are better for larger groups of people because they work with teams.

Make some room

Focus on removing and reorganizing clutter. Put magazines and books away, pick up toys, and put extra floor pillows and floor decorations in a spare room for the evening.

Prepare for party clutter by making extra space to hang coats, totes and purses. Try adding an extra coat rack that's stocked with hangers to the entryway. If the forecast calls for rain or snow, make a place ready for your guests to drop off their shoes and umbrellas.

Organize your refrigerator and pantry to make room for refreshments. Hosting a game night is also a great motivator to clean out the refrigerator and get rid of any old leftovers that have been hiding out since the last party you hosted.

If you need to make a little extra room at your table, lay a sheet of plywood big enough to offer the space you need on your table; place a pad between the plywood and table for protection. Make sure that it's stable, and remind your guests to go easy with their elbows.

Make a test run

Testing out your space is the best way to uncover any possible space pitfalls and to adjust for them. Set up the game as you will for your guests the day before game night. Get acquainted with the game to make sure you have all of the necessary pieces and you understand the rules.

Account for lighting during game night. Sufficient light is just as important as enough space -- especially if the game involves reading cards with small print or watching someone draw a picture from across the room.

Once you feel good about the game space, move furniture around to accommodate snacks and drinks during play. Use your coffee table as an hors d'oeuvres station. Create a DIY cocktail station on a buffet or card table to help keep your guests in the game and out of the kitchen.

Let the games begin

After all the planning and preparation, the most important job of hosting a game night is to make sure you have fun. Your mood will set the tone of the evening, so have a drink and let the games begin.

More family game night tips

Budget-friendly game night ideas
3 Ways to make time for family game night
Beat board game boredom

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