Dinner parties bring people together through one of the best ways — food. But if you live in a small space, you may wonder how to host a group and serve food without feeling cramped. The process is much simpler than you think, and it doesn’t require you to knock down walls or make expensive renovations — especially if you live in an apartment. Enjoy a stress-free atmosphere while entertaining your friends by checking out these six dinner party tips below.
1. Get Creative With Seating
Wide windowsills, bean bag chairs and footrests all function as charming seats when you don’t have room for chairs. Place pillows and throws on the ground to make gathering spots if your guests don’t mind sitting on the floor. Have an antique stool you keep shoved in the closet? Now’s the time to take it out and put it on display. Use your coffee table as a makeshift bench if it’s sturdy enough to hold weight.
Have people sit in the bedroom if you don’t mind them on your bed, which works well with an open-plan space like a studio. Your sofa can even serve as dinner seating if it fits the height of your dining table.
2. Rearrange Furniture
Get moving and change up the arrangement of your space. You may find yourself with a surprising amount of room once you move decor and other non-functional objects out of the way. Designate pathways for your visitors to walk through instead of climbing over furniture or other party-goers. Consider making the dining table the focal point and arranging everything else around it. After all, your visitors will be chowing down for most of the night.
3. Prepare Easy Recipes
Stick to simple menu ideas, especially when you plan to have numerous people over. Prepare dishes ahead of time. Many big-batch meals reduce the number of cooking tools you need to use, and you can keep nibbling on them long after the party’s over. Some large-serving recipes include meatballs, mac and cheese or pozole rojo, a Mexican-style pork stew.
Cook a one-pan Thanksgiving meal with all the fixings, or whip up a chicken pot-pie Christmas dinner in a slow cooker. Experiment with some easy Valentine’s dinner ideas that exude sophistication while honoring simplicity. Make a seafood dish of lobster grilled cheese with sharp cheddar, cooked lobster, herbs and country-style bread. The cooking time is akin to regular grilled cheese, meaning you won’t be sweating over a stove all night. A small space doesn’t have to equal a boring meal.
4. Use Lighting to Your Advantage
Small spaces have a lot of positives — one being that they’re perfect for intimate gatherings. Use mood lighting to create a comfy setting. Keep it dim with candles, tea lights or string lights, but not so dark that people can’t see their plates. A string of bulbs hung around a doorway or a bookcase adds a lovely touch of character. Candles give you the bonus of a pleasant fragrance to suit their warm flame.
However, you may be more into brightly-lit spaces — play with natural lighting. Pull back curtains and keep the window coverings out of sight. Placing a large mirror opposite your window spreads light across the room and creates the illusion of wider space. If the sun’s down when your dinner party kicks off, brighten the space with wall fixtures, overhead lights and floor lamps instead.
5. Clean It Up
Declutter during your party-planning stage. Place items on shelves, in the closet or under the bed if you need to. Hype yourself up by pretending you’re spring cleaning and need to remove all the clutter from your life. Don’t forget to toss the trash out after — it’ll likely be full. Even if it’s not, it still serves you well to remove it before guests arrive. You don’t want to offend their eyes and noses by keeping trash around.
Lots of guests equals lots of cleaning. If you only plan to serve a few courses, you can put used dishes in the dishwasher while everyone starts on the next meal. Consider using paper plates and utensils to minimize the amount of after-party clean up. Ask a few friends to chip in and help you tackle what’s left.
6. Decorate Wisely
Keep your decorations low-maintenance to avoid taking up room. Decorating vertically — such as with wall decor — works amazingly for those without floor space to spare. Incorporate artwork by hanging paintings on the walls and placing sculptures on shelves. A sleek coat rack epitomizes the concept of functional aesthetic. Experiment with what you already own by using texture and color. White space opens up an area, but you can benefit from tossing in a few pops of color.
Host a Party Without Hassle
Your small home, apartment or studio can transform into a roomy abode with a few well-placed designing ideas. Start searching for more recipes, because your friends will soon be over at your place all the time for festivities.
AUTHOR: KACEY BRADLEY
Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, SUCCESS, Guides for Brides, Hotel Online and more!