hosting a party in a small space

Whether you have a summer dinner party on your mind, or you simply want to have a group of your closest friends over for the final episode of Game of Thrones, there is no doubt that hosting a party a small space can have some challenges.

Despite the many benefits that can come with renting, excessive space is often far from the list. Thankfully, you don’t have to let a small apartment get in the way of hosting the perfect gathering. A little pre-planning and some ingenuity can go a long way to create an atmosphere that’s perfect for your guests, manageable for your space, and considerate of your neighbors and landlord in the process.

Do the Party Hop:

Not certain you can comfortably fit all your invitees into your small space for the full evening? Plan for a few different venues–starting at your place–to keep things lively.

Gear up by meeting at your place for hors d’oeuvres and drinks and then take the party elsewhere for a little extra breathing room. Make like a tourist in your city and take a trolley to a favorite local restaurant. This way all your guests all can enjoy eating a meal without bumping into each other. Once everyone’s satiated, you can always meet back once more at your place for desserts, a movie, or a show before the evening ends. Ensure that only the more relaxed activities take place at your home. Guests likely won’t mind cozying up a bit during a show or movie but may take issue with a lack of elbow room at dinner.

Take Care of the Logistics in Advance:

There’s more to the perfect party than the food and decor. Nothing can ruin a gathering like a stress-filled logistical nightmare and a small space brings more potential roadblocks. Be an excellent host before your guests even walk through the front door, by planning in advance for parking and building entry. Be sure that you let your invitees know where they are able to park without incurring fines or angry letters from your landlord or neighbors.

If you live in an apartment, consider how guests will be let in. Can you buzz them in as they come, or will you need to designate a friend to let them through? Nothing can ruin a pleasant gathering like a warning from an apartment’s super, be sure to check your lease for contingencies regarding door propping so you don’t accidentally end up on your landlord’s bad side.

Will guests be disposing of cups, napkins, or other items you provide? If your small space has a proportionally small trash bin, be sure to provide extra trash receptacles for party goers to dispose of any refuse. The little details can easily be addressed beforehand, ensuring you will not feel an ounce of stress on the actual occasion.

Keep Expectations Realistic:

A small space does not mean you can’t throw a party, but it may, realistically, limit the type of party you can throw. A twenty person dinner party with a four-course meal, maybe a little over the space budget, but a casual dinner with a few close friends could be ideal. Keep in mind that the main purpose of this event isn’t to have your place look like a Martha Stewart catalog. Focus on the community of friends and family you will be having over. A host who is preoccupied about the guests can view the kitchen from their seat (a likely reality if you have a small apartment) will create more of a party-killer than any small missed detail could ever create. Relax and enjoy the occasion!

Change Things Up:

Hosting a party in a small space requires a little bit of outside-the-box thinking. Chances are, the way your home is arranged for day-to-day living may not be the ideal arrangement for hosting guests. Don’t be afraid to move furniture around in a way that may not be livable long-term, but sets the atmosphere for a great gathering. Modular seating, improvised on seating, and simple throw pillows selectively scattered throughout the space can be more practical than a defined seating area in a cramped corner. Remember that guests will be moving around to mingle and gather snacks.

If you are wanting to host a dinner, but don’t have the kitchen space to cook an elaborate dish, sign up for a cooking class and take that meal back to your house for when guests arrive. Or, ask all your guests to attend the class with you to be sure there’s enough food to go around! It’s a deliciously unique way to host a dinner party that your guests will be talking about for long after the last dish is eaten.


No matter how you decide to utilize your place, there’s no reason to avoid party hosting altogether. Good food, great friends, and a little planning can turn a tiny space into party central in no time. Just be prepared for your friends to beg you to do it all again soon!