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Dining Room & Kitchen

How to Fit Extra Guests When Entertaining in a Small Space

Clean and Then Clean Some More

Give yourself a head start on creating a space that feels big and airy by cleaning thoroughly before you start moving furniture around. If you have cats or dogs, vacuum everything and use a lint roller on anything you can't vacuum. A supremely clean home feels bigger than it is.

Keep The Kitchen Clear

Make sure any cuisine you offer--from crudité to three courses--is prepped in advance as much as possible, so that the kitchen isn't full of ingredients, mixing bowls, or small appliances. This is a smart move for any hostess who wants to maximize time with guests, but also factors for how much people love to gather in a kitchen during a party. Standing in a circle by the sink doesn't always sound like the most elegant party set-up, but it happens, it's fun, and it'll keep your party feeling authentic.

Create A Coat Check

Set up an area where you can keep coats and bags. If you have a spare bedroom or an in-home office, that can be a great place to store things for your guests. You can start the party by placing things in there as sign of hospitality and courtesy and then let everyone access things as they need them without taking up space in the party zone.

Set Up A Bar

Set up a bar by using either a traditional home-bar setup, like a bar cart with shelves for bottles and glasses or by designating a countertop, credenza, or side table. Be sure to put ice in a cooler nearby, have lots of glasses at hand, and remember small touches like stirrers, napkins, and pre-cut fruit or other garnishes. People will tend to gather here, but they'll also keep it moving when others approach.

Small Dining Tables

Small dining tables can still fit a good crowd, especially long-time friends or family who don't mind placing chairs all around the table. These smaller tables still let you host an elegant, traditional dinner party by offering space for tabletop furnishings, place settings and a served, sit-down meal. They don't have to take up all the space of a grand dining room, either. Scaled furniture is a perfect solution for people who have embraced the tiny-home movement or people who live in densely populated cities where apartments are a little smaller than other towns. Older homes, especially gems from the 19th century, can sometimes be smaller, too.

Leaf Dining Tables

Anyone with a big family knows that when the holidays roll around, the dining table leaf comes out. These tables are made for smaller spaces where you have just enough room to expand for special occasions. They're also great if you like to eat or serve your family at a traditional dining table, but want everyone close enough to enjoy the meal. When more friends or family come over, that's when you pull out the leaf, a removable section of the same material, and slide it into pre-grooved channels. Leaf dining tables are seamed to look beautiful with the leaf in or out, but you can also cover the seams with tablecloths or other tabletop decorations.

Countertops and Buffets

In a smaller space--or even a larger space that's packed with people--every surface counts. Use your countertops as bar and buffet space to set out platters of appetizers for snacking before a main meal or throughout the event. You can also create serving stations where guests can either form a line and serve themselves as much as they wish. If you have an open countertop or a kitchen island, you can serve your guests from one side of it to let them know you're glad they came.

Repurposing Your Other Furniture

For more casual events, you can create extra space for seating or serving by repurposing other furniture. Side tables become a fun place for guests to reach over and grab extra snacks while chatting from the couch or chairs. A coffee table makes a perfect, central location for a spread of cheeses, crackers, fruit, or other bites. If you have soft rugs or lots of throw pillows or poufs, you can invite guests to sit on the floor and enjoy trays of food that you pass around or place centrally. With a little creative thinking, you'll have no problem making room for everyone. The more the merrier, especially when you design your home with love.

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