How to Entertain in Small Spaces

Entertaining at-home

Do you have a small living room? Do you feel you do not have enough space for entertaining guests? That is far from the truth; with an excellent flow strategy, any space can be used as an entertaining hub. Whether you have a small living room or one that can easily seat a dozen guests, it makes no significant difference. You can still be the best host and throw a great party.

All you need to do is make a few intelligent choices of gently guiding your guests where you would like them to be. And utilize a few simple tips and tricks to become the perfect host [regardless of the size of your home]. From cleaning to the menu to table décor, you can make minor changes to ensure that your guests [and you] enjoy a wonderful, memorable evening.

Top 8 Tips to Entertain Guests in Small Spaces.

So, we spoke to designers and event planners [and a few self-proclaimed “best hosts”] for a few small space entertaining recommendations. And as a result, here are eight tried and tested tips to help you entertain guests in a small space.

Cleanliness is the key.

Cleanliness is essential. If your place is cluttered, it can cause even a reasonably ample living space to appear much smaller. So, spend a significant amount of time cleaning and maintaining your space. Put away all unnecessary things. Store them in a dedicated room, under the bed, or anywhere they will be out of sight. Vacuum the place and ensure it is dust-free and clean.

There are two goals to keep in mind when it comes to your living space: first, always have a home for everything you own—and second, take 15 to 20 minutes a day to declutter or put things back where they belong. These two simple tips will decrease the stress of receiving unexpected guests and keep you organized.

Tweak the menu.

If you have a small space and many guests to entertain, the best thing is to add items on the menu that are either easily made or do most or all of the preparation beforehand. Think of pre-packaged food you can serve [I am not a fan. However, I have seen others use it creatively], finger foods, a cold salad, or a cheese board to keep your guests engaged while the main dishes are being prepared in the oven. Remember to curate a fabulous cocktail menu to keep guests basking in the experience further.

Be smart about the table décor. And keep it simple.

I am all about elegance and simplicity regarding décor for at-home events. You might be tempted to use that grand centerpiece you bought last summer on your trip to Japan. That can be a big mistake. When you are already short of space, avoid adding large décor pieces, including grand centerpieces that will not only occupy crucial space but also quickly weigh down the room. Instead, add multiple small elements like flowers, lamps, candles, and other things to brighten the space.

Make use of the kitchen. And all of the spaces in your home.

Utilize your kitchen as much as possible. Do not just use it for cooking and preparing the dishes; get creative and make it a part of the main party! If you have enough space, you can consider setting up a bar in your kitchen or lay out food on the countertop [like a buffet]. Allow guests to gather in your kitchen as they please. It helps to create additional space while allowing spaces to appear as different areas. You can have a different lighting strategy for the kitchen to give it a distinct setting and a cozy ambiance.

However, remember to clean your kitchen and eliminate any messiness beforehand. I am big on using my kitchen each time I entertain. I lay out my cheese board or appetizers on my countertop, encouraging gathering amongst my guests. One New Year’s Eve, I placed cutting boards across my stove to set up a buffet station.

Do not fill the space with chairs [not everybody needs one].

You will need sufficient and appropriate seating for everyone; however, remember– not everybody needs a chair. If you are hosting fifteen people, you do not need fifteen chairs. A lot of people might prefer to stand or move around. And eventually, everyone will be moving around, eating, drinking, dancing, and conversing with others. Try using different furniture pieces already existing within your home, like the couch, chairs, and more.

Think of unique ways to style the existing furniture and create space for people to sit without cluttering the home. For example, you can place cushions around the coffee table and use it as a dining table. As a last resort, you can always get a few folding chairs or other types of furniture that can be stashed away when not needed. I adore floor cushions; they are a chic budget-friendly way to add additional seating.

Create an ambient atmosphere.

If you can create a relaxed, fun ambiance, you have already won half the game. Put on some fun music and soothing lights. Avoid bright, blaring lights; it is an instant mood kill. If you want, you can add various lighting elements across the space. You can have lamps near the food and, maybe, hang rope lights by the window. If you are hosting a small, intimate gathering, you can also consider candles to light up the place.

Allocate space for coats and bags.

Almost everyone will arrive at your event with a coat or a bag. If everybody carries their stuff around or lays it wherever they want, it will clutter your place in no time. And clutter will cause the space to appear much smaller than it is. So, it is wise to allocate a space beforehand to hang coats and store bags. It would be best if it is close to your door or maybe in a room that will not be used throughout the evening.

Relax, it need not ALWAYS be perfect.

Lastly, remember that your home does not need to look picture perfect like the entertaining magazines each time. It need not always look perfect. If a few things are out of place, that is okay. It is your home, after all—plan for the things you can control and stop worrying about those things you can not control. Relax and enjoy the evening.

All you need to do is follow these eight clever tricks and tips to host a great party at at-home! Remember, it is all in the strategic flow of things. And experiment with different setups, and over time you will figure out what works best for you and your home.

As we end the entertaining series, we hope you have had as much fun reading these articles as we had creating them. And I sincerely hope they help you to entertain at home with confidence. We will continue to share more articles on entertaining at home throughout the rest of the year. Next month we will share a few cocktail recipes and easy menu options to elevate your next at-home event.

Nat C.


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