How to Throw a Party When Your Living Room is Also Your Bedroom

published Oct 29, 2016
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(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Do you want to invite friends over — maybe even have a dinner party — but you’ve been hesitating because you live in a studio apartment and your living room is also your dining room, kitchen, office and bedroom?

Though it might feel a bit strange to have guests (good friends or acquaintances) milling about in your sleep space, I don’t think having a small home should be a road block for entertaining. Emily Schildt, co-founder of Thing of Wonder and renter of the amazingly stylish, 400-square foot studio pictured above, shares how she makes her small studio more conducive for entertaining — and why she doesn’t give one flip if guests sit on her bed or not.

Her dining area set-up:

The dining table expands to seat eight — three on each side and one at each head — though I’ve had as many as 11, bringing in the bench from the end of my bed and the chair that sits in the corner of the dining room. It’s definitely cozy at 11, but I think everyone actually prefers it that way. It’s very friendly and intimate.

(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Before guests arrive, prepare:

It would be great to introduce games to entertain guests while I finish in the kitchen, though small space or big, it’s a good entertaining rule of thumb to have as much prep done before guests arrive. I like to make everyone feel at home and invite them to hang in the living area while I finish up. And I usually have Buddy Guy or Otis Redding on in the background. I also love to give people jobs to do. 🙂

(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Go for versatile seating:

Depending upon how many people are coming over, I may pull out additional seating. I have an ottoman I store under the coffee table and I can put a pillow over the basket to the right of the living chair to turn it into a seat. The bench at the end of my bed can also be pulled in front of the fireplace. (That thing just moves all around!) I also encourage people to sit on my bed—they usually won’t be the first to, but once they know it’s fine, no one seems to be weird about it.

“There’s nothing fussy or formal here—anything goes.”

(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Let guests sit on the bed:

Several people have told me about covers you can get to put on the bed and encourage sitting, but I think that’s even more strange and untouchable—like the furniture your grandmother had. I really don’t care if they sit on my bed. I actually think doing so sets the tone for the evening and my space. There’s nothing fussy or formal here—anything goes.

(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

How to hate having your bedroom in your living room less:

I think it helps that I’ve styled my bed the same as I have the living area. It helps communicate that it’s all one fluid space that is meant to be used. I also would keep the bed casual and unfussy—no crisp white or frills that say ‘don’t touch me!’ And if you really want to keep guests off of it, without having to say anything that may make them uncomfortable, I would also suggest putting up some kind of barrier like a bookshelf or curtain or divider. If a divider, it could even be something you only put up for company and store it the rest of the time.

“Remember that they’ll be eating good food, drinking, meeting new people… they’ll be too busy having fun to notice that it’s small.”

Do it!

Just go for it. Confidence is everything and you set the tone for your space. If you love it and are proud of it, people will see and feel that, and they will have a great time. Remember that they’ll be eating good food, drinking, meeting new people… they’ll be too busy having fun to notice that it’s small.

(Image credit: Nancy Mitchell)

Thank you Emily!

See more of her beautiful home and style in her house tour:

*This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity