These Essentials Make Entertaining in a Small Space Easier

published Nov 14, 2016
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(Image credit: TK)

Throwing a party in a few hundred square feet is no easy feat, but it absolutely can—and should!—be done. By inviting people over one night for dinner or drinks, you’ll bear witness to one spectacular magic trick: As you fill your space with more and more people, you’ll find your tiny apartment feels bigger than ever.

But before you do, it’s wise to make sure you have your space ready. Clean up, figure out where people are going to sit, and arm yourself with a few tricks of the trade. These entertaining experts live in spaces of all different sizes, but I knew they’d each have great suggestions for what items a host should have to make small space entertaining easier.

The big takeaway? If you don’t have a bar cart, get one.

And psst… Want to learn more about our experts? Check out their “table cred” right here: Meet the Entertaining Experts

(Image credit: Yoni Goldberg)

“A great serving board like the ones we feature on The Little Market.”

— Lauren Conrad, The Little Market

(Image credit: Courtesy of Jordan Ferney)

“A big pot! I think a good soup is the easiest food to cook and serve when you’re tight on space. When we lived with our family of four in our tiny 500 square apartment I would have dinner parties where I would cook a pot of soup and send all my guests with their big bowls to the front stoop. It was so fun!”

— Jordan Ferney, Oh Happy Day!

(Image credit: Courtesy of Mandy Kellogg Rye)

“A bar cart on wheels. A bar is absolutely a necessity for any party. Having the ability to wheel it in and out of the way makes small-space entertaining so much easier. Also, stylish folding chairs are great to allow extra seating; I prefer bamboo. And lastly, a beautiful table cloth or table skirt that hits the floor. By choosing a design that’s long enough, you can easily hide necessities under the table that you’ll need throughout the party: ice, extra glasses, extra booze, etc.”

— Mandy Kellogg Rye, Waiting on Martha

(Image credit: Courtesy of Michiel Perry)

“A tiered pedestal. WIth limited space you want show off and display as much food as you can. Also a great wall shelf is a way to display your food when you are tight on space.”

— Michiel Perry, Black Southern Belle

(Image credit: Courtesy of Camille Styles)

“A well-designed bar cart is a functional addition to any space—it lets your drink setup double as a beautiful decor element at the party. Especially with small space entertaining, it’s important to designate different areas for food, bar, coats, gifts, etc., so that everyone doesn’t try to jam into one corner. A bar cart on wheels is a chic way to encourage a natural flow through the room.”

— Camille Styles,

(Image credit: Casey Brodley for Oh Joy!)

“Trays are a great way to be able to put out food or drinks, but easily transport them around to different areas of your entertaining space from the living room to dining room to a coffee table.”

— Joy Cho, Oh Joy!

(Image credit: Jonas Jungblut)

“A small dishwasher. Bosch makes a compact 18′ dishwasher that works like their powerhouse machines, but is perfect for compact spaces. It even has a third rack on top for utensils. Instead of owning tons of glasses, you can quickly wash and go throughout the party.”

— Danny Seo, Naturally, Danny Seo

(Image credit: Courtesy of Sarah Ashley Schiear)

“A great bar cart—not only does it create space to serve cocktails and appetizers, but you can also clear out the bottom shelves for the night to store plates or other serveware that you might not have room on the counters for.”

— Sarah Ashley Schiear, Salt House Market

(Image credit: Courtesy of Kate Arends)

“I think every hostess benefits from a beverage cart—it keeps things organized and simple, plus guests can help themselves, which takes some of the pressure off! Stock the cart with your basic necessities: ice, whiskey, vodka, gin, rum with some basic mixers (tonic water, Coca-Cola), bitters and citrus fruit. I also set out Black Box Wines for people to serve themselves. There are plenty of carts that can be left out so the beverage station is not taking up counter space.”

— Kate Arends, Wit & Delight

(Image credit: Courtesy of Holly Becker)

“Furniture that doubles as storage or furniture where you can hide stuff under. Sofas on legs where you can tuck under storage (like those wonderful linen storage bags from MUJI). Cabinets with solid doors that you cannot see in (so you can tuck away things you don’t need everyday). Being really organized and editing your space often is key.”

— Holly Becker, Decor8

(Image credit: Courtesy of Ashley Rose)

“An ice bucket near the bar. It’s an inexpensive and often overlooked litem, but it makes things much easier than having guests root through the freezer or trying to navigate your ice machine every time they’re mixing up something new.”

— Ashley Rose, Sugar & Cloth

(Image credit: Courtesy of Chantal Aida Gordon)

“Sleek, stylish trays are ideal for small-space entertaining – it’s a good way to group little dishes in attractive ways. And they help with transport and cleanup. Also, simple wooden folding chairs are great—you can stash them away when you’re not entertaining and bring them out when the party starts.”

— Chantal Aida Gordon, The Horticult

(Image credit: Courtesy of Roxy Te Owens)

“A bar cart, of course! It can serve as storage on the daily and as your hired bartender when entertaining.”

— Roxy Te, Society Social

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