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How to Use Your Garage for Safer Holiday Entertaining

Abby Slutsky loves entertaining. She likes to come up with innovative ways to maximize safety and fun.

Here is one table in a garage that has been spruced up for garage dining during COVID-19. In a standard two-car garage, you can fit two or three tables.

Here is one table in a garage that has been spruced up for garage dining during COVID-19. In a standard two-car garage, you can fit two or three tables.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and other winter holidays are upon us. While many people are going to celebrate in small groups, there is still concern over how safe it will be to dine indoors. However, if you are in a state where the weather turns cold, dining outside on a porch or deck may not be an option. If you have a garage, it may be possible to transform it into a dining area that has both fresh air and sufficient warmth. These steps can help make your garage a welcoming dining area that will enhance the comfort of your guests and help maximize safety during the era of COVID-19.

How to Turn Your Garage Into a Dining Room

  1. Clean your garage and make it as clutter-free as possible.
  2. Put an area rug or old carpet remnant on the floor.
  3. Arrange one or more tables
  4. Put up a screen, sheet, or another item to shield stored items from view.
  5. Bring a space heater in to add warmth.

1. Clean and De-Clutter Your Garage

To the extent possible, you want your garage to feel and look clean. Dust off any shelving, throw out excess items that you no longer use, sweep the floor, and move seasonal items to another location. For example, move your mower and other seasonal items to your basement or outdoor shed. Remember, on the day of your holiday gathering, you will need to move your cars outside so that you can set the table in your garage and improve the ambiance.

2. Put a Carpet Remnant or Area Rug on the Floor

This will make the garage more inviting. If someone chooses to take their shoes off under the table, the carpet will give them the feel of being inside. There is no need to purchase one; you may have one from a dorm room or a remnant leftover from carpeting another portion of your home. Do not worry if it does not cover the entire garage floor.

3. Arrange Your Thanksgiving, Christmas, or Holiday Tables

How you position the tables will depend on the size of your garage and the number of guests you expect. You may have one table or multiple portable tables. Arrange the tables a few different ways to decide what is going to work best.

If you use a long table for your Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, plan on leaving space between guests from different households. Set the tables with attractive paper goods or real china. Use flowers or other embellishments to make the table attractive.

This candelabra helps create ambiance for garage dining. The base is a simple crate covered with a piece of fabric.

This candelabra helps create ambiance for garage dining. The base is a simple crate covered with a piece of fabric.

4. Hide Stored Items From View

When you are in a restaurant, no one wants the seat next to the bathroom or the one near the kitchen. Although there will still be some visible items in your garage, try to figure out how to hide some of the things you store there to make your garage more inviting for holiday dining. Here are some ideas:

  • Hide items by placing artificial or real trees in front of them.
  • If you have a temporary hanging bar, remove the clothes from it and drape a pretty sheet or tablecloth over it to block stored items.
  • Pile some boxes in front of stored items and put a cloth or sheet on them.
  • For Christmas, dig out some old artificial Christmas trees, decorate them, and set them in front of some large items you cannot move. Wrap fake presents around them to complete the look. For other holidays (or a dinner party), use decorative items you have on hand. Try a small table with a pretty floral arrangement.
  • Do not worry about hiding everything in your garage; that is unrealistic. You just want to spend a little time making your garage interior more attractive.
  • Use other holiday decor to improve the visuals in your garage or bring in accessories from another part of the house. For example, I bring a candelabra I use in my fireplace into the garage to create an inviting ambiance.

5. Set Up a Space Heater to Warm the Area

No one likes to be overly hot or cold, so planning ahead will help ensure that your guests are comfortable. Prior to the holiday gathering, inform your guests that you are planning a garage dining experience to enhance the safety of the Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, or Christmas meal.

Encourage your holiday guests to dress warmly. I personally like 32 Degree shirts for layering under clothing. These thin shirts come in a number of colors and provide a lot of warmth without being heavy. They are available in sizes for men and women. It might be the year to eliminate fancy clothes and just go for jeans and a Christmas sweater or a pretty holiday top. Tell guests to bring a coat that they may be comfortable using while they eat.

Many garages have outlets, but if yours does not, consider running in an extension cord from an adjacent room. Many people have portable heaters in their homes because they have lost electricity in the past. If you happen to have one, this is the perfect time to whip it out. If you have a wood-burning fire pit, you can use that near the part of your driveway that borders the garage door.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2020 Abby Slutsky

Comments

Abby Slutsky (author) from America on November 09, 2020:

Thanks for reading.

Sp Greaney from Ireland on November 09, 2020:

We don't have a garage. But it's a space that is probably underused and wasted by many households. Space heaters are a great idea as they work in any area.

Abby Slutsky (author) from America on November 09, 2020:

Thanks for reading. We are lucky it is still warm here, but it will turn soon.

Abby Slutsky (author) from America on November 09, 2020:

Thanks for reading. Yes, it did motivate me.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 09, 2020:

I live where it may be warm for the holidays, and it will be for Thanksgiving. I do think using the garage is a good idea, and I like your suggestions.

Liz Westwood from UK on November 08, 2020:

This is a very resourceful idea, backed up with practical suggestions for achieving it. It also will give many the much needed incentive for a garage clear out.