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How to Throw a Dinner Party in a Small Apartment

By: Susan Finch
February 26, 2020

Dinner parties are a tasty way to reconnect with friends and get to know your neighbors better. However, coming up with apartment party ideas that fit in your small space is another matter. 

How much can you realistically do when your living room only feels big enough for two?

Trying to figure out how to throw a dinner party in a small apartment but don't know where to start? Check out our top 10 best tips and transform yourself into a pro host!

1. Trim Your Guest List

A dinner party isn’t the time to invite everyone you known or the co-workers you aren’t that fond of. Focus on your core friends or family. Later, you can plan a night out for drinks with anyone you didn’t invite. 

Still feeling like you can’t possibly trim your guest list down and leave anyone out? Throw a series of dinner parties for friends, neighbors, and colleagues.

2. Rearrange Your Furniture

A dinner party in a small apartment requires rolling up your sleeves and rethinking your space. Get creative and push away couches, chairs, and tables to create a more intimate seating. That way, you’ll have more room for dining. 

A dinner party is also an excellent time to rethink your small living room and get innovative. Consider adding more multi-functional ottomans. They can serve as a footrest, seating, and storage with the help of a hidden compartment.

3. Create Mini Dining Areas

Your apartment party is all about dining. So, make sure your guests are comfortable and can spread out. 

Instead of cramming everyone around a singular table, borrow folding tables. That way, you can create multiple dining areas.

Your ottomans, benches, and storage trunks can also double as seating around coffee tables to create low-profile dining areas. 

And if all else fails, invest in a few oversized pillows. Lay them on the floor around your coffee tables for an intimate dining space.

4. Serve an Easy Menu

Even the most ambitious chefs can feel harried trying to create a masterpiece from a small space. Serve your guests a straightforward menu of crowd-pleasing fare. 

Sliders, salad, hummus, raw veggies, and cheese and cracker platters are all relatively easy to put together. Guests can eat them without a lot of fuss.

If the menu overwhelms you, consider catering it with a buffet-style setup from a popular neighborhood joint. Your friends and neighbors will love dishing up their favorites.

5. Expand Your Counter and Tabletop Space

Figuring out how to throw a party in a small apartment is all about creating more space. Place an oversized cutting board across a sink for chopping vegetables. You can also add a kitchen island to the end of your counters for even more surface space.

You can also use this concept to create more tabletop space around your small living room. Just scatter trays on ottomans, couches, and chairs for easy DIY tables.

6. Get Creative

A refrigerator is quickly overwhelmed with drinks and wine during an apartment party. Focus on the areas in your apartment you have left to create a drink station. 

A cooler on a balcony, the laundry room, or entryway is a quick and easy way to get beverages out of the way. 

7. Spread Out Your Snacks

Keep people from standing around in your kitchen and noshing on small bites. Once your food and drink is in order, start spreading out appetizers and snacks around the apartment to keep the crowd moving. That’s also an easy way to keep guests mingling instead of crowding around in the same area.

8. Settle on a Signature Cocktail

Valuable counter space disappears quickly when you're figuring out how to host a party in a small apartment. Instead of serving a half-dozen cocktails, settle on one signature drink. 

Whether it's a classic martini or Moscow mule, pick one and stick with it. You can always stock a cooler with beer and wine for anyone who isn't feeling your signature style.

9. Set the Mood

The right mood can make or break an otherwise lovely apartment party. Bright lights and loud music are a big turn-off. 

Dim the lights and add some string lights or smart bulbs around the apartment. Then, pick your best playlist. 

10. Freshen Up Your Decor

You don't need to do much with your decor to get it freshened up and ready to go for your next apartment party! 

Add a few new throw pillows with a pop of color. Scatter mason jars of flowers around the eating areas. You could even invest in that new piece of artwork you've been eyeing. 

You'll enhance the ambiance of your apartment decor while collecting compliments about your new picks.

It takes some creativity to figure out how to host a dinner party in a small apartment. However, you can accomplish it. 

Think of your small space as an opportunity for more intimacy and intentional choices that transform your apartment party into a success.

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