Tips for Hosting A Holiday Party In A Small Apartment

Tom Gaffey
by Tom Gaffey
Credit: Shutterstock / Pixel-Shot

The holiday season is synonymous with dinners, parties, and family gatherings. There are many reasons to attend a party at this time of year. You may even feel inspired (or obligated) to throw a holiday party of your own. There are a lot of ways to approach hosting a holiday party in your dwelling, and they all come with their challenges. This is particularly true if you plan to host a holiday gathering in a small apartment.

When hosting a holiday party in your small apartment, keep the guest list small. Collect RSVPs so you have a good idea of who is attending. Consider having two separate gatherings if the list is long. When hosting the party, move your bulky furniture and get rid of clutter. If you have an outdoor space, use it, and remember not to be overly ambitious with the menu and decor.

Throwing a party of any kind is tough when you have limited space. Holiday parties can be particularly challenging, since they often involve gifts, coats, cold weather, and decorations. But regardless of the size of your apartment, there is a way to have a fun gathering in your home this holiday season. Simply follow the top tips below and you should have a wonderful and stress-free time hosting a party in your small apartment this holiday season.

10 Tips To Help Host A Holiday Party In A Small Apartment

1. Keep The Guest List Small

One of the most effective ways to easily host a holiday gathering of any kind in your small apartment is to keep the guest list small. The fewer people you invite, the less space that you require to host. This sounds easy, but of course, that is not always so easy in reality.

You likely have a specific list in mind and don’t want to trim it. Still, try your best to limit the size of the function, as this will save you from having to make lots of other sacrifices as you plan the logistics of the party.

2. Send Out Invitations With RSVPs

Invitations are always a nice touch. They give an elevated feel to any party. They can also be a helpful tool when you are hosting a holiday party in a small apartment. Including an RSVP with an invitation ensures that you will have an accurate headcount for your event. This means you won’t set out more chairs or food than necessary.

It also means you can properly prepare for the number of people arriving. Having a solid number, no matter how large, allows you to properly prepare, without having to worry about and accommodate large variables. An RSVP can also be a classy touch if done tastefully.

3. Move Bulky Furniture

In smaller apartments, you must maximize the limited space you are working with. This means shifting and removing anything that does not serve a purpose for your party. Naturally, you have limited ability to relocate household items, especially bulky ones, but if you can shift bulky furniture, it will go a long way.

If you have a couch, coffee table, or any other large piece of furniture in the middle of a living room, try pushing it to the edge of the room. You can place coffee tables in a corner with pillows around them if you want to add additional seating. The key is to open up your space as much as possible, so that the room feels less crowded and it is easy for groups of people to mingle and move about without many obstructions.

4. Make Your Outdoor Space Warm And Inviting

If you live in an apartment or condo that has any sort of outdoor space, you should use it to the best of your ability. If you have a deck, place a few chairs out there with a bit of decor, and some blankets. Guests can use this area for some privacy, and fresh air, or to enjoy a hot holiday beverage under a blanket.

If you can create a fire, or have a heat source, then use it. Making your outdoor space inviting and ready for the holidays is a great way to add significant usable space to a holiday party in a small apartment.

5. Maximize Use Of Standing Areas

Another key to hosting a dinner party in a small apartment is to understand the most popular places people will want to congregate in your dwelling. Often guests like to mingle near the food and drink stations. Since people will naturally gather here, consider adding other points of interest throughout the home, and in less-frequented areas.

You can disperse the food, for example, by having some finger-food appetizers on a separate table. Or you can have a dessert station far away from the drinks and food. You can also create a place for people to mingle in the kitchen while you cook (they might even offer to help). Having action in different areas in your home keeps the flow of traffic spread out, so no one will feel cramped together.

6. Prepare The Food Ahead Of Time

Preparation is often the key to success when it comes to organizing any party. This is even more important when you host a party in a small apartment over the holidays. If you can prepare the majority of the food ahead of time, then you will have a lot more space in your kitchen to put things.

If you aren’t constantly using the kitchen to prepare food, you can use the countertops for the prepared food. If you can serve the majority of the food for your holiday party in the kitchen, you will be able to free up more space in other rooms. It will also mean less stress for you on the day of the party if most of the work is done.

7. Get Rid Of Clutter

Spring might be the most popular time to get rid of what you don’t need, but not the only time. You can also use the days before you host a holiday party to eliminate all the clutter in your home. Once you move around some furniture, and have a good idea of who is coming to your party, you can see what doesn't belong. Organize your space and get rid of what you don't need. Less is more when it comes to hosting people in a small apartment.

8. Opt For A Mix And Mingle Over A Sit-Down Dinner

The type of menu can also play a large role in how easy or difficult a holiday party will be to host in a small apartment. Most importantly, you need to choose between a sit-down dinner party or a mix-and-mingle affair with lots of smaller bites that are easy to eat while standing.

A dinner party is a nice and elegant idea but will be very challenging if you invite more than a handful of people to your small home. If you have a party that involves more standing, it is easy to invite more guests, as you won’t need a giant table and the guests can stand and move freely.

9. Have Multiple Parties Or A Long Party With An Open Invitation

If you can’t trim your guest list any further and are worried you can’t fit everyone in your home, you still have a few options. First, you can opt to have two separate parties. For example, you can host family, or people with children during a daytime function. In the evening, you can host friends, and those who don’t have kids and might want to enjoy a few holiday cocktails.

You can also opt to have one party that lasts throughout the day. You can have an “open door” policy where guests can come and go throughout the day. The key is getting a good idea of when guests will come and go. But in general, having a long party window means some guests will come and go early, and others will arrive much later. This allows you to invite lots of people without having an overcrowded home.

10. Don’t Make The Menu Or Decorations Overly Ambitious

Lastly, remember not to overdo it on the food options or the decorations. While it is great to get into the spirit of Christmas, this doesn't mean you need 50 types of Christmas cookies. You also don’t need to have multiple Christmas trees in your small home or have all the walls decorated. This might work well in a giant home with multiple dining and living rooms, but it isn’t realistic in a small apartment. Keep things simple and classy — it will allow for more space, and it will make your life easier.

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Tom Gaffey
Tom Gaffey

Tom Gaffey is an expert writer who currently resides in Washington D.C. Tom has a passion for real estate and home improvement writing, as well as travel and lifestyle writing. He lived the last twelve years in Hawaii where he worked closely with luxury resorts and event planners, mastering his knowledge of aesthetics and luxury products. This is where he found his passion for home improvement and a keen interest in DIY projects. Currently, Tom resides in Washington D.C, and also working on his debut fiction novel.

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