I’ve always wanted to throw a party like the ones on Gossip Girl or in The Great Gatsby; glamorous outfits, free-flowing champagne, fabulous flowers and Chase Crawford.
But I go to parties, I don’t tend to host them for good reason; my last apartment was short on square footage. That’s possibly an understatement given it was only 56sqm, which is why the thought of entertaining more than three people at once never really seemed seem doable.
Until last Christmas when the girls suggested I host a ‘few drinks’ to celebrate the holidays.
It started with three guests. Then it was five, six, seven. Suddenly, and without me realising it, the list of confirmed attendees had jumped to 15. Fifteen people in my very small inner-city apartment.
But as Gatsby said (and Fitzgerald wrote), ‘A little party never killed nobody’.
If, like me, the main deterrent to hosting a party is the size of your place—or some totally crazy belief that parties need to be big and glamorous to be fun—read on because I’ve put together 5 tips and tricks to help you throw a big party in a small space.
Serve a signature drink
Living in a one-bedroom inner city apartment means counter space is at a premium (I basically only have a foot of space) so there’s no room to make drinks for everyone. The easy solution? Serve one signature drink that fits the theme of the party and the food you’re serving.
I also filled an ice bucket with bubbly and created a DIY mimosa bar, complete with a selection of fruit juices and garnishes.
Rearrange your furniture
Initially I planned to move my large glass coffee table into my bedroom for more space but in the end I decided to use it as a secondary food station, while leaving space for people’s drinks. I moved my TV from my living room to my bedroom and moved all my extra stuff (including a giant tub of shoes) into my car, in lieu extra storage space. I also swung my couch sideways, moving it to the perimeter of my lounge and turning it to face the city view. This also allowed room for dancing.
Lower the lights
My lights have two modes; on and off. So I chose to turn them off and instead used light up Christmas trees and fairy lights in vases to provide a soft, warm glow. I also left the kitchen light on so I could see what I was doing and it gave a soft glow to the lounge.
Finger food for the win
Serve snacks your guests can grab themselves and easily eat on a napkin or small plate. People always hang out where the food and drinks are. Trick your guests into spreading out by placing small food trays with snacks throughout the apartment. If you’re really strapped for space, use cake stands or books to create multiple levels.
As well as a cheese and fruit platter, I served chicken, bacon and cheddar mini sausage rolls; tomato, basil and bocconcini bites; I Heart Brownies; rum balls and spinach; mini pikelet stacks with lemon curd and chocolate and spinach and feta pastitsis.
Cull the clutter
Small apartments can seem cluttered even if they’re not, so move any knick-knacks, coffee table books and random crap out-of-the-way. The bonus of this is it provides more room for food and drinks and, let’s be honest, that’s what matters when you’re planning a party!
Finally, remember that friends are friends for a reason. If the food isn’t picture perfect, not ready right on time or you need to run out for more mixers, that’s all okay.
The whole reason you throw a party in the first place is to get together, laugh and have fun with your friends and good friends will undoubtedly understand if things don’t go quite to plan.
In fact, great friends will usually even jump in and offer to help!