Tips for Hosting a Dinner Party in a Small Apartment

Living in a smaller apartment doesn’t mean you can’t host family and friends, especially with the holiday season approaching. Smaller spaces just mean you may need to get a little more creative, whether that’s how you’ll serve food and drinks to how you’ll seat everyone if they’ll be sitting at all.

Use these tips for hosting a dinner party in a small apartment to maximize the space you have to its fullest potential and host an evening your guests will remember fondly.


Go In With a Plan

Party planning is important no matter the size of your place, but it’s that much more important when you’re planning to host a holiday party in a small house. Try to leave as little to chance as possible by plotting out what you’ll be serving and where you’ll be serving it. Think about your seating arrangements well before the day of your event, just in case you need to rearrange furniture or borrow seating from a friendly neighbor.

Consider the mood you’re going for well before the day of your party, too. You may want to incorporate some lighting to add to the holiday ambiance or simply to make a space brighter. Solid pre-planning will allow you to avoid last-minute shopping on the day of your event.
Small apartment decorated for Christmas


Use Flexible Seating

Flexible seating is a key component around how to entertain in a small space. Think about ways to add seating throughout your area, even if you don’t have a large dining table for everyone to congregate around. If you’re serving heavy appetizers, your guests may not want to hang around a table, anyway. They’re here to mingle.

Think about strategically set TV trays in the living room, bar seating in the kitchen, even an outdoor gathering area if you have an apartment with a balcony. Use those storage ottomans you picked up as creative storage solutions for added seating. Consider rearranging furniture if you’re finding it tricky to add seating to your space. Opening up a room will make your apartment feel larger and maximize the space in your apartment to allow more room to gather.
Friends and family sitting down to a holiday dinner in a small apartment


Make the Space Inviting

Creating a cozy atmosphere is even easier in a smaller space. Put on a scented candle or two to waft a holiday scent throughout the air. Turn on some background music to make initial greetings less awkward. Create natural places around your apartment for guests to gather, like separate serving stations with finger foods.

Textiles are a great way to make a room feel more inviting, especially as the nights get a bit cooler. Think colorful throws and cable knit blankets. Keep the decor in your apartment simple, or stick to a theme. If you’re dressing up your place for the holidays, use potted plants you already have as focal points in the room, or add centerpieces with a touch of holiday flair.
Tables decorated for a holiday dinner


Tidy Up

Add a group of guests to an apartment, and all of that clutter you’ve been meaning to take care of feels that much more obvious. Tackling clutter is an easy way to make spaces feel larger. If you’re planning an event, you’ll want to tidy up every nook and only leave things out that add to those party vibes.

Your space doesn’t need to be spotless. Still, any high-traffic areas should be dusted and free of any personal items that don’t need to be out on display for guests. Don’t forget your bathroom, an area of your apartment every guest will visit at some point or another.
Homes decorated for Christmas and Hanukkah


Get Creative With Food

There are no rules that say you must have a seated meal to host a dinner party. Finger foods, a buffet-style meal, even potlucks are all just fine if you have friends or family over to your place. Use any available countertops and tables you have for platters of snacks unless you have a pet with easy access to those areas.

If you really want to serve dinner and are planning how to host a Thanksgiving dinner in a smaller space, consider one sizeable main course that doesn’t require special plating.

You may be thinking you’re limited to turkey or ham here, but you can make your own traditions. Shareable holiday casseroles can be delicious and beautiful and perfect for fall and winter meals. The best part is, most require most of the prep work before your guests even arrive. That will leave you room to spend time where you should be — with your guests.
Table with a spread of a holiday dinner


Share a Signature Drink

Just as with your food menu, you can get creative with what you’re serving as far as beverages. If you’re hosting during the holidays, it’s a great time to develop a fun signature drink that your guests can pour on their own. Holiday punches or cocktails in self-service pitchers are easy ways to save space and offer guests a delightful beverage. Consider a non-alcoholic version, too, for anyone who may not be indulging in alcohol.

Think about where you’ll be serving those drinks, too. You may want a separate drink service station away from the food to avoid bottlenecks. If you plan to host more parties, a small bar cart may be a fun addition to your apartment decor that doesn’t take up much space.
Holiday cocktails


Use Your Apartment’s Amenities

If you want a change of scenery, use the apartment amenities and social areas as your party space instead of your apartment. Those amenities are there for you to use, as long as you’ve booked to use the space and follow any relevant rules around doing so.
Ariel Apartments community areas
Those who live in the Ariel Apartments in San Diego’s Little Italy have access to a recreation room and clubhouse, on top of the luxury amenities available to residents daily. Interested in checking out what living in the Ariel Apartments is all about? Schedule a tour today and upgrade apartment life with a place in San Diego’s most vibrant neighborhood.