How to Entertain in a Small Home

Six Simple Tips To Make The Most Of Your Space

A guest post from Tara Wagner a staff writer for TechBreach. She has worked from home for over a decade, and loves sharing news and advice with fellow telecommuting moms and dads. She’s fascinated by new tech and new ideas; and when she finds time to unplug, she enjoys long hikes in the mountains near her home. She lives in Denver.

If you’ve moved to a smaller space to save money, it’s easy to feel like your house is just too cramped to throw a good party—but if you love entertaining, don’t give up. Here are a few creative ways to make even a tiny home a great place for a party.

1. Hide bulky furniture in a bedroom

One way to open up your living areas is to move a few pieces of furniture out of sight of partygoers. Dragging that extra love seat or end table into your bedroom can create a lot more standing space, or make room for less-plushy furniture. If you plan on entertaining frequently, invest in a couple low-profile card tables and a dozen folding chairs—they can accommodate guests in a much tighter configuration than your everyday living room furniture.

2. Keep it cool and comfortable

A lot of guests in a small space can dial up the heat and humidity in your home. If the weather is nice and you have good screens, open up your windows. If that isn’t feasible (or isn’t cooling the place down enough), turn your A/C a few degrees cooler. To the extent possible, have your food prepared 30 minutes in advance, to allow stove and oven heat to dissipate. A light, refreshing scent like citrus or linen can also keep your home from becoming stifling.

3. Provide simple buffet fare

Trying to keep food moving for a large number of guests is a real challenge in a small kitchen. To reduce the burden on yourself and your appliances, keep your menu simple; casseroles and salads are easy to produce in bulk, as are grilled chicken and burgers. By making your meal buffet style, you won’t have to worry so much about setting out a place for every guest, leaving more of your table space to accommodate the spread. If you can move some of your preparation to an outside grill, so much the better.

4. Increase the illusion of space

Mirrors are a great way to make a room feel more open; they increase the sense of visual depth, which can help claustrophobic partygoers breathe easier. Running a line of Christmas tree lights behind your kitchen cabinets and bookshelves can make your ceilings feel higher, and create a sense of openness.

5. Move it outside

This is by far the easiest way to take the pressure off, especially this time of year. Pick a weekend with good weather, and set up your patio and yard for a barbecue. If you live somewhere cooler, schedule your party in the heat of the day over a weekend, when it’ll be the most enjoyable outside. If the weather is too hot at midday, start your party in the evening, and set up tiki torches for light.

Before the party, wipe down your patio furniture, and set up extra tables and chairs to accommodate all your guests. Be sure to clean up dog poop and clutter in the yard before guests arrive, and have plans to cover up food to keep it safe from bugs.

6. Break down tables and chairs

This is a great trick to impress your guests. Serve dinner on folding card tables with tablecloths that clean easily. When everyone has finished eating, gather up plates and silverware, then simply lift the tablecloths away for cleaning and break down the tables and chairs. With a little practice, you can transform the room before your guests know what’s happening, and voila—you have an open, comfortable mingling area where your spread used to be. If this process takes too long, your guests will feel obligated to help, but if you’re quick, it will look effortless.