Just moved in to a new apartment in St. Louis? Whether you found a cozy Tower Grove apartment or an apartment near Cortex, having a place to call your own is always an exciting experience. With the sense of freedom we get from having our own place to call home comes the desire to show it off to friends and family. Entertaining guests in a small home or apartment is not impossible, it just involves a more thought out process of planning and preparation. Whether you are on your own for the first time in your Kirkwood apartment or long-term move to your apartment by the Central West End, hosting events and parties in a apartment is possible and fun for all your guests.
Plan Your Party Approach
To begin your planning process, you should first decide what type of party to host. Ask yourself “why do I want to have a party?” And “what is my purpose?” Did you recently move in to a new place and are looking to have a celebratory housewarming party? Maybe you are throwing a theme party, special event party or shower for a friend, or you simply would like to have a few friends and family members over for dinner.
In making this decision it is important to consider your space. Keep in mind that a typical small apartment does not offer enough space to comfortably accommodate guests for a large dinner party. If you do want to host a dinner party, keep it small. Only invite the number or people which you can seat comfortably. The Spruce will tell you what to consider when choosing your guest list.
If you would like to have a larger party with more guests, think about hosting an open house where guests can come and go at whatever time they choose. With the open house approach, you can entertain a lot of people without overcrowding your home.
Fall Party Theme Ideas | Brit + Co
How to Decide Who to Invite to a Party | Wiki How
Clean and Declutter
After you have chosen your party approach and created a guest list, the next step is to clean and declutter. Remember to begin your cleaning process at least a week before the party to prevent the stress of cleaning your whole apartment at the last minute. If you do happen to get a late start on your house cleaning, HGTV will help you get your entire apartment guest ready in less than an hour.
As you are cleaning be sure to create more space in your apartment by decluttering and simplifying the spaces where you plan to entertain guests. A good place to hide away any unnecessary furniture or accessories is any space that will be closed off for the party like the bedroom or office. Another option is to ask a neighbor to house items while you are entertaining. But make sure to invite that neighbor to your party!
Most importantly, don’t stress over what you can’t change. Some items just cannot be moved. In this case, have fun with them! Get creative with blending in immovable items to fit the theme of your party!
Cleaning Tips for a Party Ready House: Easy 7 Day Plan | Better Homes & Gardens
Prepare Your Home Before a Party | The Spruce
Prepare a Menu and Design Your Dining Style
You’ve planned your approach and your cleaning and decluttering process is underway. So What’s next? The most important part of course… the food. No matter what kind of entertaining you like to do it is always essential to feed your guests. Whether you are having a dinner party, a cocktail style event, or an open house it is important to choose your menu and set up your dining area/s in advance to make sure you will be able to accommodate every guest.
If you are having a dinner party and need to create more dining space in your apartment consider moving a dining table up to your couch and adding additional seating by gathering various chairs from around the house. Or use your coffee table as a dining table and scatter pillows and cushions around the table for seating. When preparing a menu for your dinner party do not prepare any more than three courses. And if you do decide to prepare different courses, make sure your dining tables are set before guests arrive. Another way to make dinner parties easier in small spaces is serving buffet style. Set up the buffet on a separate dining or coffee table, along kitchen counters or on larger cabinets and shelves in other areas of the apartment. Use overhead shelves and cabinets for storing plates and dishes. This will help keep your main dining table from overcrowding.
If you are forgoing the meal all together and having an open house or entertaining cocktail style, consider getting rid of the dining table all together and using that space for additional seating and standing room. Utilize the same buffet style as you would for a dinner party but create a menu that consists of snacks and hors d’oeuvres. Make a few different buffet stations to create more space to move about the apartment. This will prevent everyone crowding around one space.
How to Fit a Dining Room into Small Spaces | Apartment Therapy
Entertaining Tips from a Couple in a Super Small Space | Apartment Therapy
Set Up the Bar(s)
In designing your ideal dining situation remember to consider beverages. The best way to accommodate drinks at any type of party is to create drink stations and mini bars throughout the apartment. If you are serving food buffet style it might be easiest to include some beverages at the food stations. If you are really looking to get creative and impress your guests, build an in-home murphy bar! This would be a great way to save space in a small apartment. It is also a great way to separate the drinks from the food and create your main drink station.
If you are having a cocktail party, make sure the drinks are your main focus. Turn a bookshelf or bookcase or overlooked corner into a mini bar with cocktail necessities and be sure to keep the bars stocked throughout the party. To make maneuvering through the bars easier for your guests, offer a signature drink or two. You can post recipes on the walls above the drink station or you can pre-make drinks before the party and have them in pitchers so all your guests have to do is pour and enjoy.
Everything You Need to Throw a Fabulous Cocktail Party | The Kitchen
Utilize Every Available Surface/Space
When planning a party in a small home or apartment, utilizing every available space and surface is a must. Setting aside a designated spot for guests’ belongings is a good idea to avoid an overload of unnecessary items laying around the house taking up space. A great place to store coats and shoes is by utilizing any available closet and coat hook space in the apartment. Find a temporary place to store your own personal items so you can make space for your guests’ belongings. Move a couple of shelves that may be taking up space somewhere else and relocate them so they are near the entry way door. That way guests can use shelves to store their items so they are not taking up party space.
Another way to make use of every space is to utilize every table, shelf, console, and chest you have. When entertaining, these surfaces can become a buffet, an eating surface, a bar, or a place for storage of party items. Just try to space out where you set up these distinct areas, so your guests don’t end up crowded in the same corner. Having different areas will also encourage movement and flow, and promote easy access to serving areas and socialization with everyone at the party.
If you are lucky enough to have an outdoor space in your home use it! No matter what time of year you are hosting your event, the outdoor space can always be used. Keep the patio, porch, courtyard, or balcony open for mingling no matter the weather. Using this space gives your guests the opportunity to get some fresh air and it really opens the party space so people don’t feel confined to one room. If you do happen to have a large enough outdoor space, consider having an outdoor dinner party as a fun an exciting way to entertain your guests.
Get creative with the outdoor space. Use a ladder as a food station, set up narrow outdoor furniture, and small tables and chairs to create elongated spaces for people to mingle. If your apartment building has a courtyard, consider talking to your landlord to see if you can rent out the space for your party. It is important to have many options when it comes to party space so you can choose what’s best for your event.
Now that your planning process is just about complete, it’s time to put everything together. The final touches, including decoration and ambiance should be the last thing added to your space before the guest arrive. The best ambiance for entertaining includes music and the appropriate mood lighting. Your music choice should always go along with your theme. It’s important in a small space, to keep the music volume quiet so people can socialize, especially during a dinner party. Later in the party, after everyone has been mingling for a while is an appropriate time to turn up the tunes! Lighting should be kept rather dim and flattering to embrace intimacy, especially if the party is during dinner time or later. If you are having a day time party, brighten up the lighting and utilize natural light as much as possible to keep your guests feeling comfortable and energized.
When adding décor, remember to visually blend decor items and colors throughout the space together and with the ambiance. Keep decorating minimal. Since the space is small you don’t want to go overboard on decorative items. Consider using an oversize mirror to create an expanded room effect. Use books and houseplants to fill any empty areas or find specific oddball items that tend to spark conversation. Using decorative serving trays for food and beverages is a great decorative addition that doesn’t take up space. Embrace your personal style when decorating because you are sharing your home after all.
Parties in Small Spaces: Ideas from Apartment Therapy | The Kitchen
Small Apartment Decorating and Entertaining Tips for Spring | New York Daily Candy
Although entertaining in a small space can be rather difficult and takes a lot of effort, you will be glad you did it when it’s all said and done. Parties are always fun, especially in the comfort of your own home. Getting the planning process right is important but there is no need to follow every direction you hear exactly. Most of all you should be creative and do what makes you happy! This is your party after all and it is important that you are comfortable in your space and having fun with your guests.
How to Entertain in a Small Space | Real Simple
Stations for Your Next 16 DIY Food and Drink Party | My Domaine
Tips for Throwing a Housewarming Party in a Small Space | Apartment Therapy
Entertaining Tips from a Small Space Studio Dweller | Apartment Therapy