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.
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 painted with chalk paint I already had, on a board that came with the house. You can see its summer variation in this post. Even though chalk boards are kind of 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 play room. Maybe you are lucky enough to have a finished basement, and all the kids can go there. If you have to use a child’s room, designate the largest room to be the play area and set up toys accordingly.
If there are lots of babies and big kids at your party, try and 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 there are any rooms that 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 means 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 you possibly can, 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 make sure 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 it all has to 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 challenged? I’d love to hear any tricks you have for hosting!
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Kristen is a former farm kid turned urban gardener who owns the popular gardening website, Shifting Roots. She is obsessed with growing flowers and pushing the limits of what can be grown in her zone 3b garden. She also loves to grow tomatoes, but oddly enough, dislikes eating them raw.