Party Architecture: #1 – Density

updated Oct 4, 2023
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(Image credit: Maxwell Ryan)

Ever been to this type of party?

You’re invited for 9.

You walk in at 10:30.

But you’re still early.

A few people are sitting around the living room. Others are leaning against the wall. You find the host in the kitchen pouring a drink for someone under the bright, fluorescent light. A plate of crudites sits on top of a stereo playing a blah rock mix. Someone is already saying their goodbyes…

Don’t let this happen to you! If you’re throwing a party in your apartment this season, be sure to keep in mind the four tenets of party architecture: density, structure, lighting, and flow.

We’ll describe these in a series of posts. Let us know of any good or bad examples from your holiday party rounds.


People make a party. But how many should you invite?

The right density — the number of people in the room — depends on the type of party, and, to a lesser extent, the mood you want to set. This table suggests the right number of square feet per guest.

Divide the square feet of your party space by the number to get your target number of guests. Only include rooms where people will congregate. Why does a party often end up in the kitchen?

(Answer: As a party distills to a core group people instinctively keep the density up by moving to a small room)

– Billy Mac

Party Architecture Series

Party Architecture: #1 – Density
• Party Architecture: #2 – Structure
• Party Architecture: #3 – Lighting
• Party Architecture: #4 – Flow

(Image: Cheyenne Weaver’s Gilded Simplicity)

(Re-Edited on 12.13.11 – MGR)
Re-Edited on 12.15.10 – mgr)
(Re-Posted from 2007-12-10 – MGR)
(RePosted from 2005-12-09 – MGR)
(ReEdited from 2006-12-18 – MGR)