Just because you don’t have a designated dining room with ample square footage does not mean that you can’t host a proper dinner party. Small spaces may limit what kind of furniture you can buy or how much storage you may have, but they in no way prohibit you from hosting friends or family for the holidays or just a simple get together. With a little bit of ingenuity and a lot of good food and wine, you can successfully host a dinner in your small apartment. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Rearrange the Furniture
When you are hosting a dinner party (either large or small), you want to be sure that there is a good amount of space for your guests to sit and eat. Depending on the layout of your apartment, you may want to try rearranging the furniture so that you can make room for a large table and several chairs, or even a few smaller tables. Don’t be afraid to move your couch against the wall and put the table in the center of the room. The idea here is to create space temporarily, so there’s no need to feel embarrassed that your armchairs are leaned up against your bookshelves or that your coffee table is shoved right up against your couch. Do what you can to make your space as comfortable as you can for your dinner party guests.
Move Clutter to the Bedroom
Another way to create space for a dinner party is to move any clutter into a bedroom. Move things like stacks of books, magazines, or even extraneous furniture that could get in the way. It’s unlikely that your guests will be hanging out in the bedroom, so don’t worry about how crowded it looks. Even if you can’t reach your bed from the door—remember that it’s just for one night! Don’t have a bedroom? Put things out of sight in a closet or under the bed.
Get Creative with Tables
The best part about hosting a dinner party (besides eating the food) is creating the table design. Is your dinner party being hosted for a holiday? Incorporate stylish autumnal pieces for Thanksgiving, or decorate in all silver and gold for a New Year’s Eve shindig. Head to your local thrift shop or discount store to score some great deals on fun and quirky table décor. The more festive you make it, the more your guests will get into the spirit of the evening. If you have combined tables of different sizes to create one long table, make it seamless by adding a large tablecloth and your guests will never know the difference.
Add Some Ambiance
Lighting is key when it comes to creating an ambiance or mood at your dinner party. Overhead lighting in apartments is either nonexistent or too harsh, which doesn’t lend itself to a party atmosphere. Add several tealight candles on the table and around the apartment and even bring in outdoor string lights or lanterns and hang them so they drape above the table. Ensure that your lighting isn’t too dim, however. You want your guests to be able to see the food in front of them and see each other’s faces when they’re having a conversation.
You may not live in a 3,000 square foot home, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t get fancy in your small digs. Add little touches to make the evening more elegant like place cards at the dinner table, a chalkboard menu of the evening written out in calligraphy, or even just something as simple as a perfectly curated dinner playlist. Ask your guests to dress up and even send out paper invitations (yes, we do mean the kind with stamps and everything) to really jazz up the evening.
Serve it Up
The most important piece of the dinner party is, of course, dinner. Get as simple or as decadent as you want—it is your dinner party after all! Feeding a crowd always has its challenges with dietary restrictions or personal tastes, so do what you feel is best for the particular group of people that are coming over. When it comes to serving, use your best plates and serving trays to continue the elegance throughout the evening. If you don’t have serving trays or bowls, hunt in thrift stores or borrow from a friend. Paper plates have also come a long way and can be a cheap and easy way to add a touch of glam without having to wash dozens of dishes.
Sure, your apartment may not be perfect, but you shouldn’t let that interfere if you want to entertain in your home. You don’t need to wait until you have your dream home to host friends and family for an evening. The furniture may be rearranged and the table space might be tight, but the most important thing is that you are sharing food with the people that you love, and really you can do that just about anywhere.