‘Tis the season for Instagrammable tablescapes, glittering cocktail carts and layers upon layers of festive decor. Except, wait — you live in a small apartment and can barely manage to fit a table into your kitchen, let alone host an actual dinner party with multiple people. You have to figure out where people will sit, make room for all the dishes of food and make sure your folding table doesn’t collapse. But don’t give up the dream of a holiday soiree just yet — check out these 13 tips that prove even the smallest space can throw a great party.
1. Create a Paper Wall Tree: If you don’t have space for a Christmas tree, DIY a much more compact version on your wall to save space. Merry and bright — this simple tree, using nothing more than triangle-cut pieces of color paper, has you covered on both accounts. (via Brit + Co)
2. Go Buffet Style: If your dining room isn’t up to the challenge (read: nonexistent) you can always have a buffet-style dinner where guests load up their dishes at the kitchen table and then head into the living room to enjoy their food.
3. Use Your Ironing Board as Extra Counter Space: A bit unconventional, yes, but when your little kitchen counter is overflowing, you might need somewhere to set those hot dishes. An ironing board is already equipped to handle your baking since the surface is designed to withstand heat. Drape a pretty tablecloth over it, and you’ve got yourself an extra few feet of counter space. (via The Kitchn)
4. Set the Mood With Lighting: Soft, glowing lights can hide all those things you feel insecure about (like that mysterious carpet stain) and make the space feel more festive. Turn off those glaring fluorescent overheads, light a bunch of candles and hang string lights over your dining room table. (via Brit + Co)
5. Serve Food on Trays: Arranging individual dishes on a serving tray makes those appetizers passable, which is a nifty way to get food around a room. When you’re entertaining in a small space, it’s nice to be able to move treats from one room to another and back to the kitchen for a refill. (via Brit + Co)
6. Get Creative With Seating: Don’t hesitate to ask your friends to BYOC (bring your own chair) or DIY a few of these awesome poufs. Get creative and pull out plastic bins, step stools, camping chairs, throw pillows or even exercise balls for your guests to perch on. Bonus: Falling off the exercise ball will double as the evening’s entertainment.
7. Rearrange the Furniture: For one evening, it won’t matter if your couch doesn’t face the TV at exactly the right angle. Don’t be afraid to move things around and maybe move your dining table into the living room for more space. After all, the focus of the night is the dinner, so put the table front and center for better flow. (via Apartment Therapy)
8. Put the Table at an Angle: When your space doesn’t have enough square footage to add a leaf or additional table to the dining situation, turn the table at an angle to get a few extra feet. And don’t stress if your guests are rubbing elbows. Cozy and intimate is totally underrated. (via Apartment Therapy)
9. Maximize Counter Space: Take the food vertical to double your space. Set food up on cake stands and other tiered platters to get more out there. Plus it looks super fancy.
10. Add on to the Table: An expandable table is great for squeezing in extra people, but you can always fake it by adding extra tables. Embrace the bohemian uneven look and push side tables or a dresser together to create extra table space. (via Apartment Therapy)
11. DIY Coat Closet: No coat closet? No problem. Hang coats on the shower rod to keep your bed from turning into a coat pile. This idea is especially great if you’re entertaining in a studio apartment where everything is visible. (via Apartment Therapy)
12. Rolling Bar Cart: If your space really just can’t handle a dinner party, stock up your bar cart and invite everyone over for drinks and appetizers and then go to a restaurant together. There is no dinner party fiasco that a little wine can’t help fix. (via Sugar and Cloth)
13. Decorate “Up”: As tempting as it is to cover the table with decorations, you still have to leave room for the food. Take the decor vertical with garlands, balloons and string lights to create a festive mood without cluttering up valuable square footage. (via Brit + Co)