Holiday Party Guide: Small-Space Entertaining

November 19, 2019 | Expert Advice

Chilly weather, changing leaves, and cozy fire-side nights can only mean one thing: the Holidays are fast approaching, and with them invariably comes the task of holiday entertaining.

  • Four Tips for Small Space Entertaining

    We love the holiday season — all the massive spreads and time spent with friends and loved ones. But when you’re living in 1,000 square feet or less, the prospect of hosting your kin during the holidays may seem daunting, even impossible.

    Perhaps you feel your home is too cramped to comfortably entertain, but you’d be surprised how accommodating small spaces can be with a little ingenuity. Our designers will tell you that you don’t need to live in Gatsby’s mansion to host a glamorous party — in fact, all it takes to turn any home into a picturesque party retreat is some good planning and efficient use of available space. Our guide to small-space entertaining has all the tips you need to throw the ultimate winter holiday celebration in comfort and style.

  • 1. Envision Your Party

    Take a moment to envision your ideal party. What does it look like? Is there décor? How many guests are there? What food and drink are you serving, and how? You don’t have to have all the details filled in; but visualizing your party will give you a roadmap to follow as you begin the planning process. If you need additional inspiration, visit Pinterest for party ideas and create your own holiday party vision board!

    Tip: Once you’ve determined the overall look and feel of your holiday gathering, compile a party checklist. Make sure to include all necessary food and drink, décor, lighting, music, and seating!

  • 2. Movement and Spacing

    When limited to a small space, you’ll need to dedicate extra time to considering your home’s layout. When entertaining, as in everyday life, you’ll want your floorplan to create a sense flow. Rather than being cramped into separate, disjoint seating and dining areas, arrange your furniture in a way that encourages guests to move freely between social spaces. A simple (and bohemian) way to do this is to provide ample seating throughout your living and dining rooms with ottomans, floor poufs or benches.

    For those of us with very limited floor space, the Toda bench is a brilliant spacing-saving  option. Using hidden seats, the Toda can extend to fit up to seven people for large gatherings. When the guests have all gone, simply remove the extra seats and stow them in the Toda’s built-in storage compartment to collapse this bench into a compact one-seater.

    Another way to encourage movement throughout the space is to integrate a bar area into your home. People love to gather around the bar, and with space-optimizing options like the Mister sideboard, you won’t have to worry about sacrificing tons of valuable floor space. The Mister features five removable drawers and seven removable shelves, allowing this bar to perform double duty as a sideboard or desk when you’re not entertaining.

  • 3. Plan Your Menu

    Cooking for a large holiday party can be quite a stressful task, even for the most experienced host. But when you commit yourself to making multiple complicated dishes at once, in a tiny kitchen, it can become seriously anxiety-inducing. To keep yourself from getting in over your head, plan a simple menu ahead of time and stick to it. You may even consider forwarding your menu along to your guests a few days ahead of time to get an idea of what — and how much — you’ll need to make.

    Whatever dishes you decide on, remember to keep it easy — fresh ingredients and simple seasonings go a long way. Honey glazed ham, roast chicken, deviled eggs, mixed olives, crudité, cheese, fruits and roasted nuts make for incredibly easy but impressive options.

    Tip: While you’ll want to keep your menu simple, remember to cover all your bases. You may need to include a vegan or vegetarian option, or prepare dishes to accommodate guests with food allergies or sensitivities.

    If you’re strapped for table room, extendable dining tables can be a great solution. The Goliath is an expandable dining table that extends up to nine and a half feet to seat up to 10 guests at a time. When the party’s over, the Goliath folds back into a discrete console table, perfect for your entryway.

  • 4. Set the Mood

    Last but not least, any good party will need the proper ambiance to really set the tone of the night. Think back to that ideal party you envisioned in your head — how did it sound, look and feel? Intimate, cozy, warm, social? Find the mood lighting and music that best encompasses this atmosphere. Breathe the warmth of the holiday season into your space with decorative candles or fairy lights; their soft glows set the perfect tone for an intimate party. Then, find or curate the perfect party playlist ahead of time — so you won’t be playing host and DJ all night long!

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