Entertaining Hack: Big Parties in Small Spaces

If you’ve ever lived in a small space (and really, who hasn’t), you know what it’s like to throw a party. Everyone in that situation has the same thoughts…

  1. How will my guests fit?  

  2. Will my furniture get in the way?

  3. Where will my food and drink go?

  4. What will I do with all the clutter?

  5. How can I decorate without those decorations getting in the way? 

Here are some clever tips and tricks for throwing any kind of party—dinner, birthday, holiday, or otherwise—in your, let’s call it, intimate space!

BEEF UP YOUR BUFFET

The best thing you can do for your food table is to think vertical. A buffet of flat platters is the worst use of space, and also not the most visually interesting either.  

1. Bookshelf Buffet

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It may seem like a PITA, but if you can clear a centralized bookshelf of all it’s clutter, books, and knick knacks, you’ll have lots of room for a fabulous food display. Perhaps resist putting food near the floor, for obvious reasons, and instead display candles or even baskets of plates, napkins, and cutlery. If you have a smaller, movable bookcase, you can prop it up on your table like this for a little extra height and space. 

Image via Feastivities Events 

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2. A Crate Idea

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We’ve all seen risers on a buffet table, but instead of just lifting the food for visibility reasons, use crates to create a multi-tiered serving situation. Not only does it give height and interest to your table, but it allows you to have food both inside the crate and on top of it. 

Image via Cherryblossoms and Faeriewings

3. Hanging Out

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This convenient display is a multi-function contraption. First, it allows you to put a tub or cooler on the floor for drink bottles and cans, leaving any higher surface free for food. And instead of just taking up precious floor real estate, you can crate this vertical hanger for plates, napkins, and cutlery that also seem to hog buffet space.  Visit Lil Luna for all you need to know to construct this handy beverage station. Best part? It only takes 10 minutes to do!

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SPACE-SAVING DECOR

While you may want a gorgeous floral centerpiece on your buffet table, it’s not the best use of your space. So think walls and ceiling to add the pizzazz your party needs.

1. Up Up and Away

If you feel your party is incomplete without balloons, try letting them just float to the ceiling. If you tether them to something low, they will get in the way and block vantage points around the space. Buy an at-home helium tank at Party City and skip the string. Last thing you want is people swatting ribbon from their up-dos all night.

Image via Design Love Fest

2. Wonder Wheels

If you are young and mobile and dwelling in an apartment, chances are, you have a bicycle hanging around your pad. And if your apartment is as small as we think it is, you have it mounted up on the wall. Instead of trying to shove the bike into a closet or leaving it on the street for who-knows-what to happen, use it as decor! Invest in a cool and colorful wall mount like these flocked faux taxidermy ones. 

Image via Homes & Interiors

And why not just embrace it’s presence on the wall and light it up? (Maybe think twice about making a beer run on it though!)

Image via Millenion Design

3. Flower Shower

And if you can’t live without the beauty of fresh flowers at your party but you have no space on the table, consider this floral wall display. Choose hearty stems like carnations or gerber daisies that won’t wilt in an hour. Attach to the wall with washi tape to protect your precious paint job. 

Image via The Merry Thought

DINNER PARTY DILEMMAS

Even more intimidating than a stand-up and mill-about party in small space is an actually dinner party. Many tiny apartments don’t have big dining areas and a gaggle of chairs.

1. Fancy-Up that Folding Table.

If you have access to a folding table, use it! But the one universal quality of folding tables is they are all ugly, down to the rubber stoppers on the feet. So if you are using one, you need to cover it down to the base. If you don’t want to spend a ton of cash on a huge table cloth, just dip-dye a white bed sheet to match your decor.  

Image via The Kitchn

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2. Pillow Talk

No table? No chairs? No problem! Take your dinner party to the floor, bedouin style! Use your coffee table as your dining, and pillows as chairs. This set-up will instantly relax your guests…and you may end up with some sleep-overs.

Image via Design Love Fest

HANDS-FREE FEEDING

We all know what a pain it is to hold a plate, wield a fork, and manage a wine glass all at the same time. Here’s a thought: invest in these handy wine glass clips that attach to your plates. Your guests can mill about, mingle, and munch with no problem! (If you plan on entertaining a lot, you can invest in these clever dishes that have a wine glass slot built in!)

Plate Wine Glass Clips, 6 for $7.99; truefabrications.com

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