The do’s and don’ts of throwing a party in an apartment

Friend Party

Just because you have limited space at your apartment doesn’t mean you should refrain from celebrating life’s big events—or just the end of a workweek. No matter the size of your apartment, you can easily squeeze an entire party into it if you plan ahead and use a few space-maximizing tricks. So the next time you need a few extra square feet (or at least the illusion of a few extra square feet) to make a party happen at your place, refer to our do’s and don’ts  of throwing a bash in an apartment:


  • Do move around furniture and tuck things out of the way. If you’ve worked hard to assemble the pieces in your apartment, it might be difficult for you not to show them off. But your party will have much better flow if you stow items that aren’t functional in the bedroom or hallway closet for the evening. You might not have to subtract a bulky ottoman or end table from the party entirely, though—it could just be a matter of moving it to a spot that’s not right in the line of traffic.
  • Do use your imagination when it comes to serving surfaces. Even the coffee table or entertainment center can become a spot to stick food if you get a little bit creative. When the kitchen counter and dining room table are already packed with food, cover any unused flat surface with some cute fabric from the craft store and turn it into a mini buffet.
  • Do pay attention to density. Though there are many ways that you can make the most of your apartment space, the fact remains that it’s finite. So once you’ve devised a plan of action for moving or repurposing furniture, take a hard look at exactly how much space is left. You should keep this in mind when coming up with your guest list. Depending on the vibe you want to cultivate, you can allot more or less space for your friends, but do make sure not to invite so many people that they’re crammed into your living room elbow to elbow.


  • Don’t do a buffet. When you’re working with limited space, setting up a buffet is just asking for congestion. Instead of putting all the food in one place, make use of your multiple serving surfaces and scatter appetizers all throughout the apartment. You can put a few on the kitchen counter, another platter or two on the coffee table, and perhaps something sweet atop the dining room table.
  • Don’t serve spillable drinks or dips. If you’re asking guests to eat and drink standing up (at least during hors d’oeuvres hour), don’t set them up for failure. Avoid any kind of dip that’s going to be easy to drip on your carpet—this means salsa, Buffalo chicken dip, maybe even hummus—and instead opt for foods that are easy to get from plate to mouth without a mishap. The same goes for drinks, which should be more of the white wine and sparkling water variety than red wine or dark-hued cocktails.
  • Don’t forget to give the neighbors a heads up. Even if you don’t expect your party to get particularly rowdy, it’s still a nice gesture to let your next door neighbors know that there’ll be some extra foot traffic that night.

5 Tips for Throwing a Dinner Party in a Small Apartment [The Kitchn]

How to Throw a Great Party in a Small Apartment Space [Apartment Guide]

Party Architecture: How to Throw the Best Party…Like Ever [Apartment Therapy]

Tips for Hosting a Party in a Small Apartment [Zillow]


Attribution: CC BY 2.0/ Flickr/JeffreyW