Entertaining In a Small Space: the Only Guide You Need
You might think that small space living might restrict your ability to party, but rest assured; this is far from the case. If you think about the essence of what makes a gathering great, it has little to do with the cash spent on the event or the square footage of its location. No, the heart of a great party is the overall experience, and that’s exactly what you need to focus on when hosting in a smaller location.
This blog post looks at a few different ways to give your guests a fantastic experience, ranging from getting cosy, to secret tips for creating more space, to what to do about food.
What is the ‘why’ of this hangout?
Thanks to new technology and flexible office policies, it’s never been easier to never leave home. Take a conference call from the couch, join a workout from your living room, then enjoy some backyard-brewed beer. Because these days, there’s truly no place like home.
– Pinterest 100
Home has become a hub of activities in recent years, so much so that now home isn’t just the place you live, it’s your office, gym and party locale as well. The space you had to begin with has been divided up and there’s much more expected of it than in years gone by.
How can you possibly entertain in a multi-purpose living room that’s already small to begin with?
Well, you should really be focusing on the ‘why’. People are coming over to hang out with you, not to be impressed by your roomy spare bedroom or kitchen counter space. That’s pretty great, right?
So how can you make your guests’ experience extra special?
Why are you of all people hosting them in the first place? If your top priority isn’t to impress your guests, it’s probably more about creating an authentic connection between you.
Get off on the right foot by defining a purpose or intention for the gathering. The theme could be ‘movie night’, and you could even make it extra special by providing popcorn in little bags and pretending you’re all in the cinema. Other ideas for special extras and themes include:
- Pre-poured bubbly might make the mood extra special
- If you’re planning a Mexican meal with build-your-own fajitas, throw on a mariachi playlist and serve your guests margaritas
- Decorate a blackboard sign to welcome your guests
- Use what you have. Make a special playlist on your favourite music streaming service. Break out the candles (everyone looks better in candlelight anyway)
Work with what you’ve got
Being short on space when you’re entertaining could actually work to your advantage, in that smaller living rooms or apartments are naturally more cosy than giant penthouses with vast, echoing rooms.
Interested in getting cosy? Read our post The Cosiest Inferior Design Ideas We’ve Ever Had For Your Autumn Refresh.
So, we beg you, don’t focus on square-footage: instead focus on how homey your home feels. You want your guests to be comfortable and to enjoy their time in your company as much as possible.
“When all of your guests are crammed—welcomed!—into your setting, it will feel like a lively, cosy get-together much sooner than if you were in a more spread out space.”
- Chantal Aida Gordon of The Horticult, as reported in Apartment Therapy.
Quick tips for maximum comfort:
- Play with texture – rugs, throws, and cushions. In velvet, if possible
- Turn down the lighting to avoid any nasty glare. Table lamps are your friends for this, as sitting under the unforgiving shine of an overhead spotlight is never anyone’s cup of tea
- Pay attention to the music volume. You want it just loud enough to be audible and ambient, and quiet enough so as not to be too distracting or offputting
Space-saving ideas for your small living room
Creativity is key, especially where use of your interior space is concerned. As we said earlier, living rooms are often more than just a living room nowadays. They’re more like ‘rooms of requirement’, to borrow an idea from Harry Potter, transforming into an office, a TV room, a dining room, even a bedroom if needed.
So, to help you out, we went over onto Pinterest and found clever ways to make use of wasted space:
Sometimes saving space means creating space
We get it though, that sometimes you’ve done all you can and you’re still just left with a tiny apartment to work with. Which is still OK, trust us.
First, get rid of any clutter as it breaks up the visual impact of your room as well as physically taking up space.
Yes, one of our tips is literally just “corral your stuff.”
Are you a home bird? Our ultimate guide to staying in is especially for you!
If you’re seriously stuck, looking for overflow space is maybe a good idea. Are there other areas of your small home that you could open up to party guests? You could set your bedroom up as a chill-out room, for example, if you’re living in a small one-bedroom flat. Even a tent on a balcony would do! Especially if it looked as dreamy as either of these:
Food glorious food
No, your food portions don’t have to be as tiny as your small living space! If you’re expecting a crowd, and you’re cooking, we have some bonus ideas to create more floor space while improving the experience of your guests, all in one fell swoop.
- Plan and prep your food ahead of time & if possible have something (like lasagne) already cooked and ready to go
- Ordering out is fine too! These people are, presumably, your friends after all. Plus, you really don’t have to go showing off your cooking skills if your place is going to be packed anyway. Just make it memorable with fancy napkins, proper plates, and crystal-clean wineglasses.
- Use the glassware and plates you already have. Honestly, in 2020, there’s no need to go creating more waste, is there?
Small space entertaining ideas: a roundup
Small space living doesn’t mean you can’t live large too.
Experiences bring us more fun: focus on the experience rather than the money you’re (not) spending or the space you (don’t) have.
Because we’re kind of obsessed with small space living and tiny homes in particular, here’s our very first blog post on small space living ideas that we’ve learned from the ‘tiny home’ trend.
If you’ve just skimmed to the end, here’s a ‘top 10’ of our most helpful tips for throwing a party in your small apartment:
- Start with ‘why’, and be realistic
- Set an intention or a theme for your gathering
- Thoughtful extras wow your guests much more than your home will
- Work with the space and the glassware you already have
- Get cosy! This is where soft furnishings with lavish textures come into their own
- If possible, save space by looking for any areas of ‘wasted’ space
- Create more room for your guests by finding some overflow room (a bedroom or a balcony are perfect)
- Hide the clutter
- Prep your food ahead of time
- Ordering for a takeaway can be special too