Host the holidays in a cramped space

Nov 13, 2013 at 8:00 a.m. ET

Just because you have a small home doesn't mean you can't get in on the holiday entertaining action. Learn how to make your home work for you with these entertaining tips.

Fall table from Pottery Barn
Photo credit: Pottery Barn


Know your limits

As much as you would like to invite the world over to your home, you have to know your limitations when it comes to space. This especially becomes important during the holiday season with out-of-town guests and local friends and family who want to enjoy the festivities with you. Limit your guest count to a number you know your home can handle. Consider your affair intimate in nature versus a free for all.


Plan ahead

Once you have determined how many people to invite, it's time to begin planning for the main event! Rely on RSVP responses to know how much food and drink you will need — it's always best if you cushion this number with a little extra in the event someone unexpectedly shows up, or you consume more than you thought. Begin thinking about your menu and how you want your holiday shindig to flow. As a rule of thumb, self-serve buffets offer a relaxed and casual setting that's perfect if you don't have a big enough table to formally seat everyone.


Mix and match

Don't get discouraged if you don't have enough dinnerware for everybody — this is your chance to put some design creativity to work. Have fun mixing and matching dinnerware and glassware that will help spark visual interest at your party. Choose pieces that are similar in pattern or hue. You can even have a little fun; for example, use casual Mason jars as your drinking glasses and pair them with traditional wine goblets.


Create food stations

If you live in a cramped home, the last thing you need is for all of your guests to flock to one area. Instead, create food stations around your room that will allow for mingling and an even flow of traffic. This will free up your dining table for additional space or even a decorative display.


Get creative with seating

Should you find yourself low on seating, don't fret — there are plenty of nonconventional options to consider. Oversized pillows and/or poufs, for example, make wonderful seating options for your guests due to their comfort. If all else fails, consider borrowing or renting foldable chairs to get you through your event.


Utilize wall space

Your walls offer additional square footage that may not otherwise be available. Wall shelves are great replacements for serving trays and can even double as a mini bar to display your beverages. Scan your room for every opportunity to utilize space.

More in holiday entertaining

The do's and don'ts of easy holiday entertaining
Holiday entertaining survival guide
Holiday entertaining checklist