It’s easy to balance everyday life with being the life of the party, if you have the right implements to retool your living space when needed.

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Q: Any tips on making our home and outdoor spaces more party-friendly?

A: The key here is versatility. Unless you live in a full-on bachelor or bachelorette pad and don’t ever switch out of hosting mode, your home’s setup will need to adapt to accommodate whatever you have going on at any given time — even if it’s just lounging alone.

It’s easy, however, to balance everyday life with being the life of the party, if you have the right implements to retool when needed. Here are a few must-haves for the homeowner who does it all, and does it all well.

Mobile mixing bar. Don’t let guests’ glasses run dry; let the drinks come to them via a portable bar cart. Incorporating mixology on the go is a great way to get guests to congregate where you want them to, and carts with wheels can be easily stored somewhere out of the way when the last night owl finally gets the hint and leaves.

Indoor/outdoor speakers. A proper sound system takes both casual gatherings and holiday all-nighters into stratospheric next-leveldom. Cue up favorite jams and one-hit wonders to get the party started, then switch to your favorite live concert and let the sounds blend seamlessly into the background, subconsciously stimulating conversation. Look for speakers that sound good but also match the décor of their surroundings — you can even purchase rock speakers for the garden area, which, yes, look exactly like rocks.

Pretty party lights. Stringing up some globe bulbs above the deck or patio brings a sense of understated elegance and comfort to an outdoor space. Don’t worry about getting too wild with colors, either — clear, vintage string lights provide versatility for any occasion while adding the right touch of class. And there’s really no wrong way to configure what’s sure to be the most illuminating aspect of your backyard bash.

An open kitchen. More and more, the kitchen area is becoming the center of the modern home. This one is easier inherited than created, but an open kitchen concept pays dividends when shuffling treats and drinks to and fro and during meal prep. It also helps facilitate conversation when things naturally filter into the place where the food and fridge are. Plus, the airy, uncluttered look and feel plays nicely with an overall welcoming, casual vibe via natural illumination (typically found when walls aren’t present).

Hardwood flooring. Let’s face it — carpet just doesn’t cut it when it comes to hordes of stomping, dirty feet and occasional spills. Hardwood floors are much easier to clean and don’t get embedded with dust and allergens. Proponents of hardwood say you can’t beat the natural beauty that comes with various hues of tan, teak and chestnut that seem to stay looking new forever (with proper care).

HomeWork is written by Cameron Poague and contributing member professionals of the Master Builders Association (MBA) of King and Snohomish Counties. If you have a home improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of the MBA’s more than 2,800 members, write to