How to Entertain in a Small Space
From a holiday dinner with family to a chic wine tasting with friends, create an inviting setting for entertaining in your apartment, condo, or small house. The key to a lively evening with your favorite people isn’t more square footage — just purposeful use of the floor space you do have. Read on for tips on how to host in a small space comfortably year-round.
Furnish Your Home With Entertaining in Mind
You’ll always be ready to open your home to guests if you invest in multipurpose pieces. A drop-leaf table fits into a kitchen nook for the kids to eat breakfast before school, but expands in a snap for laying out pizza and cupcakes when throwing a birthday party. If you’d like to gather your besties for a sit-down friendsgiving or Christmas dinner, reach for the leaf stored at the back of your closet and create a seat for everyone at an extendable dining table.
Friends can leave the blustery cold outside when they drop by for New Year’s Eve cocktails. Hang their jackets on a wall-mounted coat rack that saves space and keeps your entryway neat. Separate the nesting tables in your living room for more surface area, and draw guests inside with an enticing spread of finger foods and snacks to nibble on.
Get Creative With Seating
You can accommodate extended family for a merry sit-down feast if you think beyond a traditional dining area. Try setting up a few separate tables in the living room when hosting in a small space. Easy-to-store folding tables and chairs offer practical functionality. They’re effortlessly elevated into a sparkling holiday backdrop with gold and silver table linens and décor.
Need a few more seats? Cluster guests on comfortable floor pillows arranged around a coffee table, where they can tuck into heaping plates of food and toast each other with drinks. Individual tray tables boast a compact silhouette that makes them easy to pair with ottomans or accent chairs to enable a few more guests to dine. They hide away quickly when the meal is done. Use placemats and napkins that match the rest of your room’s décor to tie all the pieces (and seasonal elements) together neatly.
Create Conversation Nooks
When you’re thinking about how to entertain in a small space, consider a casual buffet-style meal that lets people eat where they please. You can create pockets of seating throughout your home to spread guests out while they’re waiting for the New Year’s countdown.
Let friends know they can kick back in your den or bedroom by extending the party atmosphere into these areas. Play music that suits the soirée, and soften the lighting in each room with flameless candles that stay safely lit till the wee hours of the night.
Rearrange rooms by removing unnecessary pieces. If you use candles for mood lighting, for example, you can replace that big floor lamp in your den with a few counter stools from the kitchen, giving guests a place to perch with a drink and chat.
A bed is a laid-back place to lounge if you have backrest pillows to lean on. Throw a plush sheepskin rug and fluffy pillows in a corner for relaxing — guests will naturally sink into the cushions if you’ve set a decorative tray of tempting snacks nearby.
Designate a Few Places for Food & Drink
People tend to congregate around food, which can lead to a tight squeeze around a buffet table. Encourage friends to roam by setting up food and drink stations throughout your home.
End tables and desks can become surfaces for serving when you tuck away belongings in decorative storage baskets or underbed organizers during the party. Let guests flow into your bedroom by placing a festive tablecloth on a dresser and laying out gingerbread cookies and shortbread for your holiday cocktail party. There’s room on a nightstand for food if you use tiered serving trays instead of platters.
Turn your entryway table into a beverage station so guests can serve themselves a drink as soon as they arrive. You won’t need to find a spot for bottles and cans if you fill drink dispensers with a themed drink — try sangria for your Cinco de Mayo party or sweet tea for your best friend’s baby shower.
Focus on Space-Saving Decor
Once you’ve maximized the layout of your apartment, shift the focus from the size of your space to the occasion you’re celebrating. Set the tone at your front door. Fall-themed doormats adorned with pumpkin or autumn leaf motifs cheerfully welcome visitors at Thanksgiving, while a Christmas door wreath exudes festive spirit.
Hang decorations inside to draw the eye upward and take advantage of unused vertical space. Dangling bats and spiders can watch over your Halloween party and take up less room than a skeleton on a chair. Strings of twinkle lights add a sparkle at Christmas, and your television can do double duty as a fireplace when you stream a crackling Yule log.
Instead of a big centerpiece, opt for small, edible decorations tucked among seasonal napkins and tablecloths. Your guests will appreciate an elegant, foil-wrapped chocolate bunny awaiting them at their place setting at Easter dinner.
Expand Your Party Outdoors
Encourage your party to flow outside. Cushions can make your front steps a comfy place to grab a breath of fresh air. Set out a fleece blanket to fend off the chill and lanterns for a gentle glow. If you have a balcony, move your breakfast bar outside, creating a beverage or dessert table and freeing up space in your dining nook. Patio heaters can draw guests outdoors if you’re entertaining in colder weather.
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