You love your home, and you love your big group of friends — but you're not so sure you love the idea of packing the latter into the former for the sake of partying. Is there a good way to host a fantastic holiday get-together when space is tight? Or are you doomed to spend the rest of your life attending other people's Christmas shindigs at their more sizable pads?
Don't fear — tiny house pioneers have been hosting parties in their small spaces for years, and as the tiny house movement sweeps the nation, owners have developed some pretty fantastic ideas about how to have full-sized celebrations in fun-sized spaces. And these ideas aren't just good for tiny home owners — they can also help you host a palace-worthy party in a snug studio apartment, cozy conference room, or just a place with a small kitchen. So whether you live in a certified tiny house, or just like watching how other people do it on Tiny House Nation every Monday, read on and find out how to fit maximum holiday merriment into a minuscule manse.
1. Deal With Space Oddities
Pushing your living room furniture up against the walls to create a combination cocktail lounge-dance floor seems like a no brainer when you're partying in a small space. But make sure to not push your furniture all the way against the walls — leaving just a few inches between your wall and your furniture will help the room feel more free and open, while leaving plenty of room for mingling, merry-making, and watching your old college roommate do "the worm" after he gets a few hot toddies in him.
2. Table It
Have you whipped up a batch of Christmas cookies so massive, you have to consider uninviting a few people just to make space for them? Think outside the table, and turn non-traditional spaces like bookshelves, bar stools, and kitchen sinks into improvised counterspace for buffet-style serving. If you've commandeered every counter-like surface in the house and still need more room, cover your washer and dryer with a decorative holiday sheet, and use it as a bar. It's cute, it's efficient, and it will be convenient if anyone accidentally gets 'nog all over their "ugly" sweater.
3. Use Cloaking Devices
Make sure to designate a specific area of your house as the "coat room," so that guests will know to hang their outerwear there instead of taking up precious living room real estate by dropping their bulky winter coats on the couch. Try an area that won't see any action during your party, like a bed, closet, or container stowed away under other furniture.
4. Sit In
Don't struggle to fit extra chairs into your living room for your Christmas dinner party — just move the party to the floor. Store your chairs and table someplace out of the way, and decorate your dining room floor with large pillows for guests to sit on while they snack. Use coffee tables and small stools to lay out food and let your guests rest their drinks. Just make sure that your floors are clean enough to eat off of — because that is pretty much what your guests will be doing.
5. Simplify Your Taste(buds)
If you're dreaming of hosting a holiday feast, don't let your tiny kitchen give you pause — just keep it simple. Stick to a menu of foods that only require a few ingredients each, so that you won't have to waste your valuable counterspace by covering it with kitchen prep tools and dirty dishes. You can get ideas from online five ingredient recipe databases, which include many holiday dinner party essentials like latkes and chocolate pistachio cherry nut bark.
6. Create a Canopy of Canapes
So you've colonized all your countertops but still need room for your holiday finger foods? Try looking up towards space, the final (snack) frontier. Use multi-tier stands or wire cupboard organizers to lay your snacks out upwards, rather than in individual bowls on a flat surface. You'll fit more food onto each table, and free up more space for folks to rest their drinks (the key ingredient to any successful holiday party, large or small).
7. Turn Your Party Into a Mirror Ball
How do you convince your New Year's Eve guests that they're in the middle of a spacious, airy party palace, when they're really in a studio apartment with the futon pushed out on to the fire escape? Use a few carefully placed mirrors on your walls to create the illusion of space — long ones make your ceilings seem higher, while rectangular mirrors hung horizontally make walls look longer. Plus, all those mirrors will ensure that every guest has enough room to check their teeth for pieces of your signature holiday spinach dip before they take their first selfies of 2015.
Want to learn more about living (and partying) in tiny houses? Then check out Tiny House Nation season 2, Mondays at 9PM ET/ 10 PM PT, starting tonight!
Gabrielle Moss has written mostly funny stuff (but also some serious stuff) for GQ.com, The Hairpin, Nerve, etc. You can follow her here.