Just because your dwelling might be diminutive, it doesn’t mean you can’t entertain in style. Here, designers and experts share some of their secret weapons for how to throw a party in a small space:
Think out of the box when cleaning. While cleaning before a party is an obvious step, in a small space, it’s important to get rid of as much as possible to make more room. Declutter by storing items under your bed and in closets, or ask a neighbor to temporarily hold onto a box or two of your belongings. Make sure your bathroom in particular is devoid of all personal items so that your sink and surrounding areas are cleared.
Plan the menu carefully. You don’t want to put all the onus on a small oven, so make the hors d’oeuvres and the first course cold selections that you can prep ahead of time while your main course cooks in the oven.
Clear your kitchen counters. Remove all decorative bowls and containers, as well as the appliances from your kitchen counter and store them out of sight for the duration of your party. This will allow your kitchen counters to become buffet space for appetizers and finger foods.
Rent a rack for coats and hats. Instead of piling coats on a bed or trying to cram them into a closet, rent a coat rack for the evening. Place it in a hallway just inside your front door if space allows. Otherwise, keep it in the hallway outside your apartment or on your front porch. This will alleviate guests gathering in the main party area to remove their coats.
Manage the flow. Part of the challenge of small-space entertaining is making sure guests disperse throughout your home. Make it easy for them by arranging key features in different areas, i.e., set up the bar on a side table or console in the living room, serve the main course on the dining room table, serve apps and desserts on the kitchen counters, and create a signature cocktail station in another area.
It’s all about the lighting. The size of a space ultimately has nothing to do with the ambiance, but the lighting plays a critical role. Avoid harsh overhead lights and opt for warm table lamps and wall sconces instead. You may even want to switch out your bulbs to a lower wattage for the party. Design each area with its own candle scheme, as well. For example, use tall tapers on the buffet table, pillar candles on the bar and votives scattered throughout the seating area.
Be ready to improvise. Ultimately, experts say, the key to a successful small-space gathering is to be flexible and creative: Take all the books off of a bookshelf and turn it into a bar; fill the sink with ice and let it serve as a drink cooler. The options are endless once you free your mind, and your guests will appreciate the innovation.
Source: Real Simple