Bigger doesn’t always mean better. Ask New Yorkers about their humble abodes and they’ll probably agree with that theory. Since city dwellers are so accustomed to living in tiny apartments, it’s no secret that they’ve learned how to entertain in small spaces. If you’re new to living in less, follow these tips for throwing a fabulous party in a city apartment.
Do away with clutter.
All those tchotchkes that take up space in your apartment? You’re better off tossing them in a drawer or closet before your guests arrive. Clutter will inevitably make your already tiny living quarters feel smaller and cluttered. It’s okay to leave a few accessories that add character (a vase with flowers, stacked books, a photo or two), but a good edit will only make prepping for the party easier, provide more surface space for your guests, and save you time in the long run.
Use every square inch of space.
If you want to learn how to entertain in small spaces, this point is fundamental. While you may live in less square footage than the average host, you can manage just fine if you use every inch of space. Use side tables, bookshelves, a desk if you have one, your coffee table (you name it), for placing food and drink as well as spots for your guests to use. And if you have a separate bedroom, it should not be off limits! Encourage your guests to mix and mingle in that room too. You can even make use of your hallway (as long as your building is okay with it). Set up a coat rack for your guests’ belongings, and keep a cooler with additional drinks there (near the front door), because I can almost guarantee that your fridge will be overstuffed with food and there will be little real estate left for beverages. If you own a large bowl or bucket, place it on your countertop or floor and ice your bottles there.
Set the temperature ahead.
One aspect of entertaining that few people consider is the temperature, and New York apartments tend to run hot to begin with. If it’s wintertime, I suggest turning off the heat the day before the party, and opening windows (depending on temperature) or running the air conditioning several hours before your guests show. If it’s summertime, crank the air first thing in the morning. Once you have a houseful of people, the temp will rise in no time.
Keep the menu simple.
You’ll thank yourself later if you don’t get too ambitious with the food. If your soiree is a dinner party, try and cook dishes ahead so you have plenty of time with your guests and you don’t spend hours in the kitchen, missing out on all the fun (I’ve done this!). And remember, you probably don’t have space for a sit-down dinner, so bear that in mind when planning your menu. If your party is cocktails and light bites (best to start simple and maybe work up to a full-blown dinner later on), you’ll have less to worry about in terms of food. You can put together a great cheese platter and a colorful crudité plate. Plus, there are tons of delish one-bite finger foods – some you can buy and won’t even have to cook! Check out Trader Joe’s freezer section. 🙂
Create the mood.
I promise you this: your guests will not care one bit about the square footage of your apartment. But if your place isn’t party-ready, your shindig probably won’t be a hit. Create the mood and keep your guests engaged. Place candles throughout. Try and choose a subtle scent that won’t interfere with the flavors and aromas of your food or trigger allergies. Fresh flowers (no fragrance here) brighten up any space no matter the size. Place flowers in each room (especially the bath), even a bud vase with a single stem will do. And don’t neglect the music. Organize your playlist ahead of the party. Sign up for a Spotify account if you don’t have one and heed these tips from restaurant pros for finding the right tunes.
Also, an Italian wine tasting party on the Upper West Side.