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Successful Dinner Parties are Possible in Small Spaces Too

From Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s, how many times have you considered – or even volunteered – to be the host? You’re eager to have friends and family over, but are afraid they’ll feel uncomfortable because of the lack of space. It’s also possible to just invite a handful of close friends over, but this means risking others feeling left out.

Maybe next year then, when you’ve (hopefully) transferred to a bigger house, right?

Plan Ahead

How many people do you want to invite? You can’t please everyone, so guests have to be handpicked even if it means leaving out half your relatives.

Is there going to be a motif for the event? Take note of the extra space their costumes, props and other shenanigans will take up. Making room for people alone is already a struggle.

How long should the gathering last? Three to five hours, or until whenever the last guest feels like leaving?

You can’t just prepare dishes whose yields were roughly estimated, invite people over and expect things to run smoothly. You can barely manage to get around your own house without gaining a bruise per week, what makes you think to triple the number of people occupying your personal space will be comfortable?

Planning ahead is important regardless of how simple or extravagant the event. It’s even more imperative when you have such limited space to work around. No matter where you live, all apartments and living spaces can be altered to accommodate more than you expect.

Food and Table Setup

Rather than bringing out your finest silverware and plates, serving food buffet style is easier to maneuver around. Avoid putting everything in one corner – spread out your desserts and only keep the main course on the table.

There’s also a greater chance of the plates clearing out faster since guests can choose what they want to eat. Also carefully consider what dishes you want to cook; take note that the less messy it is to eat, the better.

Use minimal tableware – just display and use basic utensils. Rethink whether or not you really need two forks and two spoons for one dish.

Worried that your guests won’t have anywhere to set their plates or sit? Anything flat can be used as a table, such as bookshelves. Make use of all surfaces, but ensure that they’re sturdy and won’t easily tip over.

Rethink Furniture and Appliances

With screens nowadays getting thinner and thinner, TVs and appliances have a “barely there” presence, so leave these be to avoid electrical complications. Furniture, on the other hand, can be harder to work around, but never be afraid to rearrange. Furnishings are made to be moved.

Upon your guests’ arrival, gather all their stuff in your room or a corner, so they don’t take up unnecessary space in your living room or kitchen. Repurpose surface areas of furniture and use them as table tops.

Temporarily hide away unnecessary pieces in your room or closet, like your bike or any extra clutter.

Avoid Temper(ature) Tantrums

Evaluate how warm or cold it is both inside and outside, so everyone’s bodies get a chance to adjust to the sudden temperature change. The climate in a small space is easily manipulated, so adjust according to the number of people present. Too many people in a warm room can make it feel stuffy and toxic. Leave a window cracked open, turn on a fan or the AC and make sure all the cooking in the stove or kitchen is all done by the time they arrive.

Let in just the right amount of light to make the room, especially where the food is displayed, appear bigger and brighter.

Remember to clean as you go, so you don’t get overwhelmed by the gathering’s aftermath. And lastly, don’t forget to ask your guests for help. I’m sure they won’t mind helping you put back your furniture to the original way it was set up.

Just think of it this way, because of the limited legroom, all of you are able to take part in everything that happens. A smaller space means more intimacy – no one will feel left out.

Written By

Ayah Granada is currently a content writer and editor for She is a former student journalist, part time bibliophile and TV series hoarder-slash-enthusiast. You can also find her on Twitter @ayahgranada.

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