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How to Throw a Party in Your Cramped Apartment

Created September 25, 2019
Cranberry punch, cookies, meatballs, slab pie
Yes, you can have yourself a merry little apartment party.
Just because you live in less than 600 square feet doesn’t mean you can’t have a holly, jolly good time of your own. Don’t let your renter status scare you away from throwing a small Christmas party—you just have to be smart about it.

Designate a Coat Room

If you live in a colder climate, you know that overcoats and boots are just a part of life from September all the way to early March. Don’t keep bulky coats and shoes by the front door for guests to trip over on their way into the party (unless you have a large entryway closet in your apartment, in which case, we’re all very jealous of you). Pick a faraway room or even just an out-of-sight corner as a designated space for outerwear to live while you and your guests get your jolly on.

Don’t Put the Tree Up Yet

Imagine your apartment filled with a few dozen of your favorite people. Cozy, but not overly cramped, right? Now imagine a giant, prickly Christmas tree smack dab in the middle of your living room. Okay, now it’s crowded, and everyone is covered in tree sap! Save precious space by saving your tree-trimmings until after the party has passed. Instead, opt for smaller décor, like evergreen branches perched in vases or small (unbreakable) figurines. Decorate overlooked spaces like window frames (a great place to hang a wreath) or the ceiling (a lovely spot to hang twinkling lights). And don’t forget, nothing is more festive than Bing Crosby on the radio, so make sure to have a holiday playlist crooning all night long.

Embrace Kitchen Migration

When most people plan a party, the kitchen ends up being the staging area—think extra coolers full of ice and bags upon bags of chips just waiting to be opened. For party guests, the kitchen ends up being the place where they congregate as the night goes on! No matter where you go or whose apartment you’re at, kitchens are the universal safe space at a house party. Be prepared for the inevitable migration of party guests to your kitchen by keeping counters and floorspace clear. Do a deep-clean of your refrigerator before the party to ensure you’re using all your chilled spaces efficiently and keep extra drinks on the balcony if you can. Make sure to carry the holiday spirit into your kitchen too, by adding some tinsel or evergreen where you can.

Snacking Foods are Best

Let’s face it—you don’t have enough chairs at your place to host a dinner party. This shindig is going to be standing room only. To keep hands and laps free, make snacks that are portable, snackable and easily held in one hand. You also want to make foods that don’t require a lot of fussing with—after all, you want to enjoy your party, not just play server all evening. Make apps and snacks that taste good at room temperature. Turn your party into a potluck by asking guests to bring their favorite dips, chips or any extra Christmas cookies they can spare. And when it comes to creating a party spread, less is better. If there are lots of options to choose from, people will hold up the snack line trying to decide what they want to eat, thus creating a traffic jam in your already small apartment. Keep the food (and drink) options simple.

Apartment-Party Food Ideas

Create a Dance Space

Push that sofa aside, roll up the rug and crank up the tunes! Even though your home is small, that doesn’t mean there isn’t room to get down. Wherever you have the music playing from, that’s the room where dancing is most likely to happen. Make sure that any valuables you have are tucked away, then push your furniture against in the wall to create an open space for fun.