Getting the House Ready for Football Season
Are you ready for some football? If your family is like mine, the beginning of August means one thing – the start of the new NFL season. At my house, the fall is filled with the sounds of pads knocking, refs’ whistles and lots of cheering. We love to host friends and fans to help us root on the home team. If you too are getting psyched for football season, here are a few things (beyond the big screen and sound system) you can do to get your house ready before kickoff.
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One of the most important things you need to host a great football party is enough comfortable seating. But chances are your family room doesn’t have enough seats to accommodate everyone you’ll have over on game day (nor would you want it to on a day-to-day basis). We have some folding chairs we use for Thanksgiving dinner when the crowd gets large, but they aren’t comfortable enough to offer up to diehard fans for game day watching. Fortunately, there are ways to get creative with flexible seating for larger parties.
I am a personal fan of floor cushions and have been using them forever. We have a large sectional in our family room that will seat 5 adult males comfortably around an over-sized coffee table. To add to that, I have some floor cushions that find a home tucked neatly under the table, but that can be pulled out to provide extra seating when needed. The cushions allow folks to get around the coffee table (where the food is!) in spots that aren’t big enough to accommodate a chair. Plus they end up getting a lot of use beyond game day as well.
I found this particular cushion at Home Goods a few years back, but I’ve seen an almost identical version at my local Pier One store (and it comes in other colors). Of course you can always pull chairs from another room as an option. I have a couple of armchairs in my living room that are easy enough to bring in for the game. And if you have any beanbag chairs or a yogibo in your house, those are obvious options too.
Finally, if space just doesn’t allow in the main room, you might want to set up a second viewing area. Maybe you are lucky enough to have a man cave to use. The kids in our house often gather in the basement playroom to watch while the adults remain upstairs. If you don’t have a finished basement, a living room or den can work as a makeshift viewing space as well.
Outdoor Tailgate Area
There’s nothing better than being outdoors on a crisp, sunny fall day. When weather permits, we like to let the party extend outside to enjoy the season. We’ll grill, set up the bar on the deck and, to create more of a tailgate feel, make a bonfire in the fire pit.
We received our fire pit as a housewarming gift back in 2001 and have put it to constant use ever since. It’s not pretty enough to photograph anymore but it’s a bowl-type pit similar to the one above. It’s seen dozens of parties and hundreds of s’mores over the years and never fails in its duty. We like this portable style because we can move it by the pool or out into the yard depending on what the circumstance dictates. One modification my husband did make was to drill a few small holes in the bottom of the bowl to allow rainwater to drain out as we found in reality we weren’t always protecting the pit after use with a cover.
More recently, we’ve added a fire table to our deck and have been enjoying the convenience of instant warmth any time we want. What it lacks in character it makes up for in practicality as it doubles as a coffee table in our main seating area. We didn’t pay a lot for the table – I think $300 or so at BJ’s (a wholesale club like Costco near where I live), and while it hasn’t held up as well as we’ve liked, we are full into our third season and, appearances aside, it works like a charm. The table creates an ambiance that has extended the use of our deck well into the night on many occasions and has certainly upped our outdoor entertaining game.
Normally, we’ll chill bevvies in coolers out on our deck, but for inclement days, I like to use a large tabletop beverage tub to cool down the drinks so folks aren’t trekking out into the weather. And after spending years using one inexpensive metal tub after another and dealing with the wet mess they created on my table, I finally bit the bullet and invested in a stainless steel, double-walled number from Frontgate and I’ve never looked back.
Second only to the cold libations at a party is the spread. Here’s where I like to add a bit of the theme to the table with some fun football-inspired items. And since the bulk of the fare at football parties is finger food and everyone is eating around my coffee table, I like to have small appetizer plates on hand. The plates are small enough to fit on the coffee table along with all of the food and encourage folks to (at least) try to be neat :).
The platter above is from Nora Fleming and it satisfies my need to incorporate a little bit of whimsy without committing to pieces devoted entirely to football. Her serving dishes each have a slot for a “charm” that allows you to dress it up for any number of occasions. This one is the square pearl charm platter paired with the mini touchdown charm and I like it for a small cheese tray or for hot appetizers like wings. There are charms for every holiday, season or event and platters and bowls in all shapes and sizes. Worth a look if you’re not familiar.
Of course if disposable tableware is more your speed, there are many football-inspired options online like this one. I’ve also personally used this tablecloth and these oval football plates before and can recommend.
DIY Football Decor
Football parties (like birthday parties) seem to me a good place to flex the old DIY decorating muscle. It’s a fun and casual occasion after all, not really begging for over-the-top decor – just a few fun novelties here and there to keep spirits running high. And, if you’refresh out of ideas, there are so many great DIY decor projects on Pinterest to borrow from you’ll surely find something that tickles your fancy. We put together a board of some of our favorites here to get you started. We are keeping it team-neutral as rivalries run hot, but you can of course personalize any of these ideas for your favorite franchise. Below is a fun way to point out the powder room for your guests. You can download a copy to print out for yourself on our site.
The bottom line is to have a comfortable space for all of your guests and have fun with the party. So don your team jersey and get your game face on – you’re ready for the season!