With the holiday party season about to go into full madness mode, DIY Del Ray wondered, how do people entertain in small spaces? We interviewed a few local folks, and here’s how they make it work:
1. Mitigate bottlenecks
Basically everything is spread out throughout the room so that there is no bottleneck traffic. People can either congregate to the couch or the bar/kitchen.
2. Keep it simple, low-key
My small townhouse, and having small children underfoot, limits the ability to throw large dinner parties. So when I do have people over, it is generally for a birthday party, a soup exchange, or something else that feels low-key. I generally put finger food on the dining room table, pull the chairs away from the table and allow a free-flow between the dining room and the living room.
3. Stack it up
I fill the dining table with all the hot foods while I put the nibbles on the coffee table. I provide little square white plates for eating because they stack very thinly and are a manageable size when eating from a couch. I like them because they are elegant but also hold enough food. But since they are small people will get up to refill their plates so that’s a good thing. They stack neatly and the white goes with all the pottery bowls and antique dishes which I use to serve.
4. A functional, well-positioned watering hole
I have kitchen bar where I place an old copper champagne bucket w/ice and beverages. On the bar I set up wine glasses and short glasses that can be used either for wine or non-alcoholic beverages. The bar is next to the kitchen sink so I can work in the kitchen and load the dishwasher and still talk with guests.
5. Know your limits
When we have a group of six we tend to crowd around the table, which is a tad small for that many people but okay if you don’t keep too many dishes on the table. Extra serving dishes are kept on the sideboard and/or on the kitchen cart, which is an arm’s reach away. I tend to prioritize keeping on the table things people need easy access to, like condiments and seasonings. For more than six, I do buffet.
6. Small bites for big impact
For dinner, I’ll sometimes do a tapas menu so that people can take small bites of things that are easy to eat and can be served on small plates (I think we used the bread plates from our china set, not the salad plates) and people can keep going back while standing or sitting in the living and dining room.
7. Think seasonally
I prefer to entertain during the warm weather when we can use the outside and more importantly the screened-in porch. If we are hosting more than six or so, coolers go out back with drinks. Wine can also go outside if it’s cold enough or in a cooler.
8. Make your guests feel special
I love to go to flea markets and have a fetish for crystal wine glasses and old china/pottery so I have to justify my purchases by using it. I also like old cake stands and interesting serving plates from flea markets. Serving utensils usually do not match and there old pieces of silver from flea market hunting.
What are your secrets for entertaining in a small space?
Posted by Katie