America’s unofficial national holiday is quickly approaching. Super Bowl Sunday is Feb. 2, and if you’re hosting a party, you might be asking yourself, “Does my home have what it takes to pull this off?” Rest easy — with a few simple updates to your décor and theater setup, you’ll be ready to host a Hall of Fame-worthy party with time to spare.
1. Keep the room fan-friendly by prioritizing comfort and flexibility.
One idea is to sub out the traditional coffee table in favor of a few ottomans. These pieces work as utility players, packing extra seating, a footrest and a plate-resting surface into one compact punch. Plus, an ottoman is easy to move around if you find yourself with extra guests and need to do some ad-hoc rearranging. If space allows, create nooks on the sidelines so people chatting about something other than the game can do so without getting any side-eye.
2. Take a page from the Hollywood playbook and set up a craft services table.
Stocked with enough to keep a whole film crew fueled for the day, these tables work because they aren’t in the center of the action. Rather than serve your chips, dips and wings in the center of the room on a coffee table — where grazers will inevitably be obstructing someone’s view — use a side table or buffet to keep food on the sidelines. Rest assured, where the guacamole goes, the fans will follow. (Though do yourself, and your flooring, a favor by staging drinks, cocktail fixings and the like in the kitchen.)
3. Before the big day, stand in the room and consider how the traffic will flow.
Can your guests get to and from the kitchen, food table and bathroom easily? While it was a thrill to watch vintage Marshawn Lynch pirouette through the opposing line, do you really want your guests going Beast Mode on your carpet? With a plate of Swedish meatballs in hand? Of course not. So use runner rugs and arrange furniture in a way that makes the path clear and obvious. Avoid configurations where people have to climb over anything — or anyone.
4. If you’re hosting a crowd, you’re going to need extra seating.
Choose chairs that are as comfortable and supportive as they are stylish — when the game goes into OT, you don’t want people squirming with lumbar pain. That said, if your regular seating is of the over-stuffed, low, nap-all-day variety, then a few straight-backed, firm chairs will give people a chance to switch it up at the half. And leaving a few throw pillows around the room will give people the option to optimize their own comfort.
5. Now’s your chance to make some simple cosmetic improvements to the look of your space.
For a quick fix, straighten out any unsightly electronics cords and cables and conceal them with covers and organizers. To go big, consider whether touching up the room’s paint makes sense. Darker walls will make the space feel like a private screening room, while one boldly colored wall can focus attention and add energy. Of course, just changing out accent décor, like throw pillows and blankets, will make a big difference. Decking the room out in your team’s colors? Well, that’s your call.
6. During a high-stakes game, poor visibility is a flagrant foul.
A few days ahead of time, check for glare on your screen throughout the time of day the game will be played and then update your window coverings and lighting if needed. A few well-placed table and floor lamps will keep the room softly lit from the sides, without overpowering the screen. Similarly, hanging inexpensive sheer curtains will easily reduce interference from outside light.
7. Last — but probably first — take stock of your home theater setup.
If you were looking for an excuse to upgrade your TV or speakers, game on. The straightforward choice here is a plug-and-play system called a “home theater in a box.” With this setup, all of the basic components come bundled together and setup is streamlined. The downside is that this doesn’t allow for much customization in the future if you want to upgrade individual components.
If you’re more of an audiophile, go the a la carte route and buy the pieces individually for a truly custom setup. Regardless of the choice you make, a basic home theater system will include a good LCD or LED TV or projection system, a soundbar and at least two other speakers. If you watch a lot of movies and your budget and space allow, you may want to add a subwoofer.
No matter the option you choose, consider how the components connect — are you okay with cables, or do you want a wireless system? While image and sound quality are crucial, don’t ignore design. Will the pieces fit in with the look of your room? Do you want to mount the TV or speakers? Lots of plays to consider here, and there’s no right answer — it all comes down to what gives you, and your guests, a great experience. Of course the on-field action impacts that too, but that’s out of your hands. No matter how long it’s been since you washed that lucky jersey.