Blogmas Day 12: Hacks for Hosting in Small Spaces

While reading, listen to Baby, It’s Cold Outside by She & Him.

One of my all-time favorite things to do is host a party.

Whether it’s an intimate dinner party, or a large-scale gathering, the many details that would make someone else’s head spin, make my heart giddy! I love thinking up every element of the party, from invitation to appetizers, all the way to party favors. I consider having the opportunity to make people feel special and at home a great gift, and something to be done with excellence.

I have my parents to thank for this...they are the ultimate hosts. From the moment you walk through their front door, you are at ease, totally taken care of, and you leave feeling inspired. There are times, I admit, when I feel like I can’t host to the capacity I would like because of the size of our home. I daydream of dinner parties around a large farm table, dozens of people in our many rooms, and twinkling lights strung over our backyard.

May your walls know joy; may every room hold laughter and every window open to great possibility.
— Maryanne Radmacher-Hershey

There’s nothing wrong with daydreams, but they do threaten to steal the joy and potential from where you currently are. What my imagination can dream up is not quite what I’m living in, but what I’m living in is something I prayed for. Sometimes, we need to remember that we are in the days we prayed for. I may not have a large dining room, but I share a little home with my dream man in the Bay Area. I mean, c’mon! This life is GOOD!

So instead of seeing what seem like limits, when I look at our square footage, I’ve resolved to imagine the possibilities. I’ve decided to not wait, but to host now. People may not have plenty of elbow room, seating may be a little scarce, but what they will have is a safe place, where delicious food awaits, comfy clothes are welcome, and coffee is always brewed.

Over the last two years, I’ve picked up a few tricks along the way. It’s all about getting creative, thinking outside the lines, and making the best of what you have. Attitude goes a long way and people usually follow suit. Love the space you have, be proud of it, and make it beautiful. The more you enjoy where you are, the more others will feel at ease to do the same. Here are my hacks to making the hosting magic happen - wherever you are!

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Blogmas Day 12: Hacks for Hosting in Small Spaces

#1 - Make sure ALL the rooms are tidy.

Instead of shutting your bedroom door because it’s a mess, and forcing everyone into your living room all night - clean up! Take the time to make the rooms in your home look decent and smell lovely, that way you can leave the doors open, making the space feel bigger. Plus, if your bedroom is clean, you can encourage guests to place their coats and bags on your bed, instead in a pile near your front door.

#2 - Spread guests out.

Now that your additional rooms are all clean, spread guests out into the various spaces of your home by providing small plates of appetizers and little ice buckets with drinks in each room. Small spaces can get toasty real quick, so moving guests into other areas of the space keeps the temperature and atmosphere comfortable.

You can also add activities throughout your home to help entertain! At a recent Christmas party with our small group from church, Reed and I wrote a Christmas-themed prompt on our sliding mirror doors. We left out dry-erase markers and people had a fun time interacting with it throughout the night.

#3 - Push additional furniture back.

For our Christmas party, we pushed our dining table against the wall, giving guests more room to stand and socialize. Before everyone arrived, we swept through the apartment and pushed all of our furniture back, providing any additional inches for people to occupy!

#4 - Place coasters on all of your accessible surfaces.

We don’t have a coffee table, but we have tons of shelving and side tables, so we placed coasters on all of those surfaces, encouraging guests to place their glassware there. It may seem silly to note, but sometimes, people just don’t know if they can put things down. Coasters are the universal green light to do just that.

#5 - No fireplace? No problem! Use YouTube.

For a few years now, Reed and I have enjoyed using the fake fireplaces on YouTube to add a cozy ambiance to our environment. Without fail, people love it, and it really does add some additional festive light to your gathering! There are countless options, ones with music playing, themed ones, and even visuals of a whole living room. I like changing it up every now and then, but this one is my favorite.

#6 - Bring refills to guests, and clear plates throughout the night.

Now is your opportunity to be the host! Offer refills throughout the night, and come directly to seated or standing guests! Offer to take their plate if they are finished, and offer them a napkin or dessert. I’ve learned it is a lot easier for me to come to them, then for several people to be up and moving around all night. Let them relax, serve them, and in doing so, you’ll keep people from bumping into each other and spilling something!

Sidenote: spills happen. If you have white pillows or other decor you just don’t want to part with...put it all away. People are more important than stuff, and you don’t want to be caught in a moment when an accidental spill causes frustration or awkwardness.


Whether you live in a dorm room, you share an apartment with friends, or you have a little home like people, making them feel like they belong with you, and making them feel special, is something you can always do. No extra space required. I hope you feel inspired by these hacks to make the most of the home you have!

Share in the comments what your favorite hosting tips are! See you tomorrow for Blogmas Day 13!

Victoria Sowell2 Comments