Do you want to host the party of your dreams but find your space lacking? Never fear! This past weekend, we hosted a party for 26 in a 1050 sqft house with our space and sanity intact. Here’s how you can do it, too.
I have general tips at the beginning of the post and Christmas-specific ones at the end.
Tips for entertaining in a small space
1. Map Out Entertaining Zones
This is crucial to any party, but especially in a small house! Decide where shoes and coats will go. (Hint: you probably don’t have enough closet space for everyone’s jackets, so they might have to go in your bedroom.) Group your chairs so that there are multiple areas for conversation. Keep the food and drinks in a similar location, but not too close together that it restricts traffic flow.
Birthday party or Christmas? Presents also need a designated location. Have a garbage bag or recycling bin handy for any used wrapping paper or unwanted bags.
2. Move Your Furniture
Whenever we host a party, we push the dining table to one side for the food zone and arrange our chairs in a circle to promote conversation. Speaking of furniture, if you have any pieces that could work double duty, now is the time to use them. Crates, piano benches, footstools and the like. Don’t own these things? Ask your guests if they can bring folding chairs.
3. Use What You Have
There’s no need to buy a whole bunch of extra decorations for your party. Besides, where will you store them?
Are there flowers in your backyard or bits of cedar or evergreen you could use in a flower arrangement? Is it fall and do you have pumpkins kicking around? If it’s Christmas, your tree and a couple of re-purposed ornaments are all you need.
Bring out the fine china if you have it. It saves the environment and makes your party look extra fancy. Chances are if you live in a small space, you probably don’t have a table setting for 16 in your everyday use anyway. (We used a combination of paper plates and fine china because we are minimalists who only have 4 everyday place settings.)
4. Invest in Interchangeable Decor
Or in my case make. This baby was made with chalk paint I already had on a board that came with the house. Even though chalkboards are old news, I still personally love them for their versatility. I also keep balloons and streamers of all colours on hand. They don’t take up a lot of space and cheaply make any space instantly festive.
5. Decide where the Kids (and Toys) will go
Chances are if you live in a small house, you do not have the luxury of a playroom. Maybe you are lucky enough to have a finished basement, and all the kids can go there. If you must use a child’s room, designate the largest room as the play area and set up toys accordingly.
If there are many babies and big kids at your party, try to have one designated area that’s more baby-friendly and another that’s more big-kid-friendly.
Let the guest children & their parents know if any rooms are off-limits to kids. The way our house is set up, kids always end up in our master bedroom (and bed!!) and I always end up frustrated. Unfortunately, a small house and its layout usually mean that no area seems off-limits to kids unless you specifically say so.
6. Keep the Dinner Menu Simple
A small house usually equals a small kitchen. Prepare as much of the meal ahead of time as possible because sadly, there is likely no room for more than one person to help you in the kitchen. Here’s what I do to make the most of my small kitchen when I’m entertaining a large crowd.
Also consider how many of your dishes need to be fried, baked in the oven, or require a lot of chopping or last-minute preparation. You need to ensure you have enough room in your oven (especially if yours isn’t a full-size one!!) or that you aren’t trying to prepare everything last minute because everything must be served fresh.
It’s frustrating in any size kitchen to have the meal be stressful to make, but even more so in a small kitchen because you’ll be tripping over helpers or finding that you have no counter space to put anything. Or even worse. . . no dishwasher to store the dirty dishes.
Relax & Enjoy!
At the end of the day, your company is here to see you, not your house. (Well, maybe if you write a blog about your house renovation they might be there to see your house a little. . . ) Enjoy your friends and family, because really, that’s what life is all about.
Is your house also spatially difficult? I’d love to hear any tricks you have for hosting!
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