Tricks To Maximize Your Space To Accommodate A Holiday Party

published Dec 16, 2010
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(Image credit: Maxwell Ryan)

Whenever I think about rearranging furniture for an event or group I’ll be entertaining, the first thing that comes to mind is the movie Father of the Bride. Steve Martin flips out because he has to move all his furniture out of his home in order to have all new furniture brought in to seat everyone. Well this isn’t the movies and there’s no way we’re shipping out our seating! Instead, try out one of these creative ideas to make a little more space, even when there’s very little to be had!

So you decided to throw a big blow out holiday party. The more the merrier right? You sent out invitations and told folks to bring their friends and then all of a sudden, reality sunk in. Where on earth are you going to put all those people? Although you could probably ask your closest acquaintances to stand for most the night, that’s still not really a valid option. Instead, try a few of these tricks to make the most of your space and keep the good times rolling!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
If this table was removed an additional chair could come in and the built in bench behind would be a great place for drinks!

Is It Essential? Banish It To Another Room!
Although we won’t be moving out sofas or chairs, there’s no shame or problem with moving out side tables or things that aren’t essential but take up a large portion of your floor space. They can easily tuck into another room for the night, giving people a little more space to move around.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
These cushions on the floor make great alternative seating.

Poufs Pillows & Places To Perch:
You might not have a great deal of extra space to ask friends to bring in folding chairs or borrow some from family members, but there’s a good chance you’ll have a place to stash a few pillows for people to sit comfortably on the floor. Don’t discredit deep window ledges as they can make a great place for someone to sit, have a chat and a drink and be out of the main flow of traffic and still have a seat. Add a pillow for more comfort or just a coaster so they know it’s an ok place to perch.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
This seating area looks like a great place for some small talk!

Create Conversation Areas
Even though it’s tempting to shove all your furniture to the walls to make more room, that idea really only works when you’re talking about making a dance floor. More often than not, pushing your furniture to the walls only accomplishes making floor space, not conversation space — which is what people want to have at a gathering.

Try pulling things away from walls and putting them back to back, creating multiple conversational areas in your space. It also makes it easy to lean a folding chair against a wall that when no one’s in, allows traffic to walk freely past, but can be inhabited to chat with the folks across the way when space is short.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
This large get together is made possible by putting the table on the diagonal.

Put Your Dining Room Table On An Angle:
When it comes to having a sit down dinner with lots of family and friends, a large table is usually in order. Many spaces don’t have the square footage to add a leaf or additional table where they stand, but by turning the table to an angle, you give yourself up to 5 additional feet, which can mean more people finding a place to sit!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
Imagine a larger table that’s able to span two rooms instead of one!

So What If There’s A Doorway?
Although your room might seem small, it’s easy enough to put your table in two rooms at the same time. Even if it seems awkward at first, it’s an easy way to have more people sitting down to dinner. Bonus points if your tables collapse after dinner and people can pass freely through the door!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
Maxwell added this mirror near their table,
(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall, This Space Isn’t So Small After All!
One of the easiest ways to make your space physically feel larger is the reflection of light. Mirrors are the easiest way to do that and although they don’t actually increase your floor plan, they can make guests feel like they have a little more room to breathe. Don’t be afraid to mount them to the wall (try temporary release stickers for easy hanging and removal) near conversation areas or prop them on the floor where it’s out of the way. Check out this simple mirror addition that comes in on the cheap or this set up from Pottery Barn for additional inspirtion.

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
A tray on an ottoman means no side table is needed or taking up space.

Let Surfaces Pull Double Duty
So you had to move out a few of your console tables to make a little more room for guests, but now you need somewhere to put a drink. Try adding trays to the tops of things like floor speakers or even ottomans to create places to set things down. Likewise, milk crates can be quick seating options or two stacks of books with a board across can magically be a bench. See your space in a new light and there might be more options than you thought!

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)
When all else fails, take the party outside if the weather is right!

When worst comes to worst and you’re literally busting at the seams, don’t be afraid to go outdoors. If that means bundling up in coats and jackets and having a BBQ in the snow, then so be it! If you’re lucky enough to have amazing weather, enjoy it and soak up some sun!

It doesn’t matter how small your space is, entertaining is never out of reach. In fact, the more you entertain the more versatility you’ll see in your space and the less panic it will cause. There’s always a solution to small space woes, no matter how many friends and family you plan on packing in!