When planning a party, many people fail to realize what good usable space they have sitting right off the main house. Garages are often large open spaces with good lighting and ventilation, but garage parties can require more preparation because of the cleaning required. At the very least, dirt and clutter should be removed. Any further sprucing up will depend on your time, energy and money. Then add tables, chairs and decorations and, voila, you have turned a car barn into party central in a very short time.
Remove as many items from the garage as you can. Take out boxes, lawn equipment, tools and anything else movable that would detract from the party you have planned. Anything that cannot be moved should be covered with a sheet or blocked with a decorative screen to make it less noticeable.
Clean thoroughly. Sweep the floor to get rid of all dust, dirt and debris. If possible, hose down the floor and sweep out the residue to make the space even cleaner. If time allows, consider applying an epoxy coating to improve the look of the floor, and freshen the walls by painting them a light color.
Position one or two long tables along one wall to serve as a buffet area for the party. If the party includes gift-giving, then a section of these tables can be set aside for presents. Cover the tables with tablecloths. Select something with a theme, like patriotic colors for Fourth of July, or a simple light color. Use table skirts to hide the legs and provide storage for party-related supplies.
Place other smaller tables around the garage and an ample number of chairs to seat all of the guests. Decorate the individual tables to match the buffet area. If space is an issue, consider setting up tables just outside the garage. Add patio umbrellas to keep off sun or rain.
Position ice-filled coolers near the buffet tables to keep drinks cold. A nearby refrigerator can serve the same purpose. You'll also want to keep a sufficient amount of clean ice on hand to add to drinks, especially on very hot days. If you don't have enough freezer space, consider setting aside a cooler solely for ice that can be added to drinks.
Bring a stereo, iPod and speakers, or some other form of sound system into the garage. Even if you prefer a quiet gathering more conducive to talking, low-playing background music adds a nice touch. For theme parties, consider playing theme music. Depending on the type of party, a television displaying home videos is also a nice way to add some fun.
Hang paper or plastic multicolored Chinese lanterns from the ceiling in a draping fashion to give the lighting a more festive look. Ensure adequate lighting or the garage may appear dingy and small.
Arrange posters or other artwork on the walls. If it's a family reunion or birthday party, enlarge old snapshots. Balloons, streamers and confetti, with flowers and candles on the tables, all help create a festive setting. You'll almost forget that this fun party space is where the family car is usually housed.
Tips & Warnings
- Area rugs are good for hiding grease stains, cracks or other flooring defects. To protect the rugs, consider laying plastic sheeting under them.
- Set the automatic garage door control to safe mode to ensure it doesn't close on anyone during the party. For manual garage doors, lock the door open, or place a scrap of wood between the door and the track to keep it from accidentally falling.
- "Parties that Wow: Setting the Stage for Creative Entertaining"; Jonathan Fong; 2007
- "Easy Entertaining for Beginners: You Can Throw a Fabulous Party, from Holiday Fiesta to a Romantic Evening for Two"; Patricia Mendez; 2008