How to Host a Killer Party From Your Tiny Apartment Kitchen

By
You don’t need a huge dinner table to host a dinner party in your apartment
Family Style Dinner

Shutterstock

How to Host a Killer Party From Your Tiny Apartment Kitchen

If you’re a city-dweller, it’s likely the place you call home is not the spacious palace you once dreamed of inhabiting. However, that doesn’t have to mean that no one can ever visit your home, and that every party you want to have will have to be held elsewhere. Even the tiniest of apartments have the ability to host a sizeable dinner party. You just need to do a lot of preparation and have a little savvy know-how to make it possible.

Cook Ahead of Time

Cook Ahead of Time

iStock / Thinkstock

You don’t want to be stressing out in the kitchen when your guests are all squeezed into your apartment. You’ll set a tense tone, will overheat the apartment, and will not start the evening in an enjoyable way. Make sure you decide earlier in the week what you’re going to cook, and prepare as much of it as you can ahead of time. Last-minute preparations should be minimal.

Cook Big-Batch Food

Cook Big-Batch Food

iStock / Thinkstock

Don’t try and do too many different dishes, or attempt anything that requires individual cooking and plating. Cooking steak is not a good idea. Neither is any dish that requires a poached egg. Food where each individual item requires lots of attention and care are not sensible options. One-pot dishes are your new best friend.

Don’t Clutter the Room

Don’t Clutter the Room

Shutterstock

If your living room is normally filled with lots of decorations, books, blankets, and ornaments, now’s the time to move them into your bedroom, bathroom, or closet. Your living room is going to be filled with your guests sitting around a dinner table, so get rid of any unnecessary furniture and ornaments. Any decoration that you keep shouldn’t take up any surface space: Fairy lights pinned to the walls and candles on the mantelpiece are perfect, but clear the tables. They need to be filled with the all-important food and drink.

Improvise a Dinner Table

Improvise a Dinner Table

Shutterstock

If you don’t have a dining table, or if your dining table is only big enough for two, then you’re going to need to cobble something larger together. This requires a bit of imagination and creativity. Essentially, any flat surface in your apartment will do. It doesn’t matter if they don’t align and are slightly different heights — all you need is something with a flat top that people can put a plate on and eat off.

Improvise Seating

Use the same mentality you used to improvise a dining table to improvise seating. Obviously use all the dining chairs you have, and move the table so that your guests can sit on the sofa, or even the edge of your bed. Piles of cushions will work well too if you’re at a low table. If you really don’t have enough, ask your friends if they can bring something, or call on a friendly neighbor to borrow a chair or two for a couple of hours.

Mix and Match Serveware

Mix and Match Serveware

Thinkstock

The reality of living in a tiny apartment is that you don’t own enough tableware to set the table with everything matching. You’ll need to use whatever you can find. It’s not at all important if they’re not the same size, color, or shape. Turn the quirky table setting into part of the charm of your party. If you don’t have enough stuff even when nothing is matching, use paper plates instead.

Mood Lighting

Mood lighting requires almost no space. Set the right tone for your party by simply turning off the overhead lights, and just using side lights, lamps, fairy lights, and plenty of candles. Getting the lighting level right will immediately add atmosphere and a sense of intimacy to your dinner party.

Pin up a Menu

Pin up a Menu

Photo Modified: Flickr / kev-shine / CC BY 4.0

One easy way to add a sense of formality to what will be a very informal party is to write out the evening’s menu on a huge sheet of craft paper and pin it to the wall. This will show that you have really made an effort for the evening, even though people may be sitting on the floor and eating off paper plates.

Plan Ahead

Plan Ahead

Shutterstock

To make sure you really can pull of this dinner party in your tiny apartment, you’re going to need to do some planning. Decide what you’re cooking a week in advance, and prepare as much as you can in in the days leading up to the party. Also, make sure you have enough knives, forks, plates, glasses, and seats at least a couple of hours before everyone walks through the door.

Pour Plenty of Wine

One way to ensure that everyone has a great time and remembers your dinner party as the most fun evening is to make sure that everyone has plenty to drink. Have a couple of drinks options — it could be as simple as red or white wine — and keep topping up everyone’s glasses throughout the evening.

Put on Some Music

Set the right party atmosphere and put on your favorite playlist. Make it loud enough so it sets the mood, but not so loud that you can’t hear one another talk.

Serve Family Style

Serve Family Style

Shutterstock

You don’t have space in your miniature kitchen to be plating each dish individually. Make hosting easier on yourself and your counter space by serving dinner family style or as a buffet. Both these options will mean that everyone can help themselves, so you can simple put the dishes out on a side table or on the dining table, and let your guests get on with it.

Squeeze People Together

Don’t be scared to really squeeze people together around that table. It may help to create a seating plan so you can put the smallest people in the tightest spaces: Space optimization is key.

Wash-Up as You Go

Wash-Up as You Go

Shutterstock

Keep your kitchen as spacious as possible by cleaning up all the cooking equipment and dishes as you go. If there’s anything you can wash up and put away that you used to cook before your guests arrive, do it. Don’t be tempted to leave them all piled high to be sorted tomorrow. By keeping your kitchen clean and tidy as you cook and serve, you’ll find hosting from your tiny apartment much less stressful than you had imagined.