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Your Apartment is Not Too Small to Host in

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

Living in New York City, I constantly hear people say " I could never host a dinner party because my apartment is too small". As someone who has learned how to sit 16 people around a table in a 300 square foot studio apartment I am a firm believer that no space is too small to host.

When it comes to designing a dinner party in a small space my motto is "with a little creativity anything is possible".

Should your home lack a proper dining table, consider an unconventional approach - —have your guests gather on the floor around a coffee table, and seat everyone on top of pillows scattered upon rugs and blankets. Alternatively, transform sturdy boxes (other square/ rectangular objects) into a dining table by draping them in a tablecloth, and setting out a spread as one would on a proper table. And if even this proves untenable, embrace the allure of a picnic-style feast on the floor.

If you’re feeling a little less creative, folding tables have always been my go-to for dinner parties. The dining table in my apartment fits, at most, four people, so I usually pair a folding table (or two) up against it to create a larger table. Additionally, while my apartment does not have a ton of storage space, I’ve invested in folding tables that fit nicely under my couch when not in use.

Have a table but are short on chairs? Use your couch as extra seating. Or consider asking a neighbor to borrow a chair - people can be unexpectedly generous sometimes. This is also where the magic of folding chairs comes in. If you were to ever visit my apartment, you’d find folding chairs hiding in just about every nook and cranny.

Living in a small apartment does not stop me from cooking elaborate meals. I firmly stand by the belief that no kitchen, regardless of its size, is too small for preparing multi-course meals in. My kitchen has a stove top with two burners, a small toaster/convectional oven and it is more than enough to prepare a full menu for a dinner party on. However, if working with a small kitchen is intimidating, there are plenty of different menu options that you can create which involve little to no preparation. For example you can serve a gorgeous cold antipasto platter with a side of good bread and your guests will have more than enough to eat.

Let me emphasize that my intention is not merely to propose inviting friends over, having them sit on the floor, and offering a store-bought cheese and cracker platter. What I hope to convey is that, with a touch of creativity and a genuine desire to craft an exceptional experience, you can host an exquisite dinner gathering in any space.

When working with a smaller and perhaps less conventional space, it is really important to be aware of what you do and don't have control over. Perhaps you can't do anything about not having enough chairs, or a proper table, but you can control the music, the lighting, the presentation of the meal, the guest list, and the conversation - all which are just as equally important to the creation of a great party.

If guests will be seated on the floor, make the lighting extra cozy and just use white string lights and candles, with some relaxing music. Make sure the room is clean and tidy, and use extra blankets or sheets to cover up unnecessary furniture so that the space feels not like a living room, but someplace totally different and exotic. Choose to serve and eat off plates and dishes that are colorful and charming, and decorate the room with flowers or other simple yet inviting decorations.

Your guests will be impressed with all of the work and creativity you put into planning the party, and I'm convinced that people appreciate a dinner party that is a little different.

Most importantly, though have fun with the planning and hosting. If you are pleased with your dinner party, its most certain that your guests are as well!

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1 Comment

Jun 08, 2022

Great post!

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