"If you love to cook, eat, or both—and you delight in the company of your friends and family—there is no reason not to use your home for entertaining," says Holly Becker of Decor8 in her new book Decorate for a Party (on sale today!). As simple and straight-forward as it sounds, this rings so true. There are a million excuses for why we don't have people over more often—my place is too small, it's not "done," I don't even own enough chairs. But really, whether it's a dinner party or a bridal shower, a small home is a great place to host an intimate special occasion. The close quarters will only add to the cozy, personal feel of the event, and Holly Becker's tips will help you set an unforgettable scene.
Turn Your Living Room into a Dining Room
If you don't have a dining table, just use your coffee table and pile rugs and pillows around for guests to lounge on. Alternatively, line up several small card tables to form a longer dining table. Own a tablecloth? This is the perfect time to pull it out. "A pretty tablecloth covers a multitude of sins," says Holly.
Separate the Space
Even in a small home, it's helpful to carve out a couple different areas. The apartment above, set up for a bridal shower, has a dining area and a present-opening zone, where the guest of honor will unwrap her gifts. Changing the focus at least once during the party will help give the event some energy.
Mix-and-Match Your Seating
Pull in seating options from every room. Chairs, stools, benches, and armchairs all work. "Mix and match is in and no one cares as long as it's comfortable," Holly says. Cozy beats coordinated any day of the week.
Set Up Multiple Snack Stations
Avoid having guests crowd around a single food and drink table by scattering snack bowls or appetizers around your home. Set out some bites and napkins on a bar cart, side table, or bookshelves. Not only does this arrangement make it easier for everyone to help themselves, but it also encourages guests to move around the space and spread out.
Decorate for Your Space
Consider decorations that take up wall space or vertical space, while leaving tables and countertops free for food and drinks. Balloons and buntings that float overhead, or a craft paper menu that's hung on the wall, can make your home feel festive, without compromising an inch of entertaining room.
Keep It Simple
A minimal approach goes a long way in a little apartment. Low-key flowers, decorations, and table settings will prevent the space from feeling cluttered. Holly even recommends pairing down the amount of serving trays and utensils you use so the table won't get over-crowded.
Find tons more tips and decoration ideas (even gold-foiled balloons!) in Holly's new book Decorate for a Party.