How To Make the Most of Your Space When Entertaining
With a little attention to detail, you can throw a bash that's big on entertainment value, even if it's in a small space.
Sound Like You?
You can't wait to get back to entertaining, but even before the pandemic sent us all into our respective cocoons, your living space just wasn't made to fit all your loved ones.
Well, we have some good news. You don't need a 5,000-square-foot home to host a party. With a little advance planning and attention to detail, you can throw a bash that's big on entertainment value even if it's in a small space. Below are some of our tips for how to host a party in a small apartment.
Organization: Planning Is Key
Organizing can make or break your party's success. You want to plan ahead of time and get things where they need to be to make party day easier. Clean and declutter every part of the party area to make the space feel less closed-in. Keep these tips in mind:
- Bathroom: Stash personal toiletries under the sink. Keep the soap out.
- Kitchen: Ditch unused appliances that eat up valuable counter space. You can store them in a bedroom or cabinets and cupboards.
- Living room: Put away throw pillows, remotes, magazines, games and anything else you won't use during the party. The lack of extras will help the room feel bigger.
- Porch: If you have good weather and even a small amount of outdoor space, consider extending the party outdoors. Make the most of outdoor spaces by opening them up for beverages and socializing. You can even decorate your porch to match the inside theme and invite people to bring their own fold-up seats for hanging out.
- Playroom: Throwing a kids' party in a small house means tidying up the playroom and moving things around. You need lots of space for young guests to play games. If you have a playroom table, remove a leaf or fold it up.
Arranging Your Furniture for a Party
Generally speaking, the less furniture in mingle spots, the better. You can keep your dining room table, chairs and your living room sofa in place, but consider clearing out other things, like consoles and displays, to make room for party traffic and encourage people to stand around talking. If you are lucky enough to have a multifunctional sofa like the Flex, you are home free.
When deciding which pieces of furniture to keep for the party, choose creative ones that will spark conversation and try to make them more functional. Place a pitcher of drinks on a smaller table rather than setting up an entire bar, which uses up valuable space.
Also, consider moving furniture around to allow the flow of conversation throughout your space. While a sectioned-off living room area might be great for day-to-day living, moving furniture against walls will open up floor space, create a sense of cohesion and community and help with the flow of foot traffic. Modular sofas, like the Flex, can be readjusted to allow for open socializing.
The After-Party: Hosting Overnight Guests in a Small Apartment
If you have people staying the night after your party, finding a comfortable space for each person may seem like a challenge. Not everyone may get a room all to themselves, but if you have multifunctional furniture, such as sofas that turn into beds or wall beds, you can offer a comfortable bed without jeopardizing space.
Wall beds are the perfect way to help entertain in a small space. For dual dining and sleeping space, try our Penelope Dining wall bed. Use the attached table to place party food, drinks and any other gathering items needed for a good time. When you're wrapping things up for the night, simply clear off the table and bring out the queen-sized wall bed for guests to sleep.
Other multifunctional options that take guest comfort to the next level are sofas that become wall beds. With the Oslo sectional, you'll have plenty of space for guests during and after a night of hosting. Seat visitors on the sectional during the day and pull down the wall bed at night so any guests staying over can have a restful night's sleep. For even more sleeping space, pair the non-bed couch section with an optional ottoman and have room for another guest to rest.
Feeding a Crowd
If you're entertaining in a small apartment or house, a buffet could be the way to go. You could try staging it in the kitchen so your tablespace isn't crowded with food. That way, you can fit everyone at your dining room table, like our expanding Axiom table. You can also choose a table that's out of the way during the day and can be transformed into a dining table when needed, like the Goliath.
When space is tight in the dining room, strategically position things on the table so people won't have to keep getting up. For example, put several salt and pepper sets on the table and a few bread baskets. Try using a tablecloth so the room feels more festive — and bigger. Keep the centerpiece small and simple so as not to take up too much space.
If you need creative dinner party ideas for a small space, try testing out tiered platters. Tiered platters and servers use the dining area's vertical space to stylishly and effectively display lots of food for a party — savory snacks, sweet treats and dipping food all fit in one place with multi-tiered platters. To spice up a tiered platter, try adding small, themed decor pieces to the levels. Greenery, real or fake, can bring life to a plain serving piece. Small knickknacks and decorations around the levels will also help add to the design.
Tiered platters come in dozens of sizes, styles, colors and shapes, so test out different types to see what you like best. If you're laying out food buffet-style, they're the perfect way to get everything you need onto one table. Place round and square sets next to each other or use different tier amounts for different foods. When the party's over, use customizable cabinets to attractively and smartly store your platters for the next round of entertaining.
Whether you hold a dinner party or just serve drinks and apps, have people label their drinks with a sharpie, some DIY wine glass charms or different cup holders. This way, you don't end up with a pile of glasses on the counter, which makes small spaces feel cluttered.
Use Your Space in Smarter Ways
Even a small home or apartment has lots of space. Here are a few unique ideas for small space entertaining:
- Use your counter space: Counter space is worth its volume in gold while entertaining, so use it at a premium. Use tiered plates for dessert served on your kitchen counter so that you can fit more dishes. Clear off anything unnecessary, so only essential party elements take up space.
- Keep table space for dining: Use a single, petite centerpiece rather than multiple ones on your buffet table. Serve appetizers on a small coffee table in the living room. Put decorations on the ceiling, such as streamers and light strings, instead of using things that take up space on tables, like vases.
- Bring light in: Don't underestimate the impact of turning on a light or opening a curtain. A light space seems airier and larger.
Seating for a Small House Party
At most parties, people stand around and talk, but they enjoy the occasional sitting break. Increase seating space by moving dining room chairs into other parts of the house. If you do have your dinner party at a table, borrow a bench like the WAM Bench to swap in for chairs — you can seat more people there.
How to Have a Big Party in a Small House
Whatever you do to create the illusion of space and declutter will help people feel comfortable at your party. But don't spend the whole night worrying about it. Enjoy the time with your friends and remember that the rest is just details.