Listen up: Here’s how to host a party in a small apartment

It's a celebration ✨

Rows of disco balls on a pink background
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If there’s one thing that makes me a li’l nervous, it’s hosting. I never quite know where to start, but I always know that I want to make a good impression. While I’ve hosted plenty of dorm parties, I’ve not hosted many parties in my adult home, and I def want to get better at it. Feel the same? I’ve got you.

Although putting out a box of donuts and blasting some music is fine when you have a few friends over, this just doesn’t cut it for a party. Don’t stress though — there are lots of things you can do to make sure your guests have a great time.

I’ve sought out expert advice to put together a list of everything you need to know about hosting a party in a small apartment. As well as tips and tricks for looking after everyone, there are also plenty of useful ideas for hosting in a tiny space.

Ready to throw a party that’ll impress everyone? Keep on scrolling.

6 easy steps for hosting a party in a small apartment

I love apartment living as much as the next gal, but even I can admit that the size can be a setback sometimes. “Planning parties for smaller spaces like apartments can pose challenges, but you can make it fun,” says Meredith Corning, owner of Meredith Events. I chatted with her to find out how you can do just that.

1. Strategize the space

As they say, it’s not about what you have, but what you do with it. “The first step is to strategize how to use every space available, including tables, countertops, and floor space,” explains Corning. “Put away kitchen appliances and personal items on tables and shelves to free up space. Then, create stations of various activities or interest points for your guests to enjoy.” For example, she says that you could put a food spread on a living room coffee table, leaving the kitchen countertops available for the bar. “Planning a party is all about flow.” Got it.

2. Create open seating

Unless you are planning a formal dinner party, there’s def no need to have your big ol’ seats in the center of the room. Corning says: “Put your dining room table in storage and instead create more conversation areas with chairs, ottomans, oversized pillows and loungers.” Got a teeny tiny apartment? Corning mentions that guests won’t mind standing for a couple of hours mingling, as long as there are tables and flat surfaces throughout where they can set down drinks.

3. Make food easy

If you are going to be cooking a sit-down meal, make sure to prep in advance and keep it simple. Basically, don’t cook that recipe you saw on TikTok for the first time on the day. “Guests are there to connect with you, not watch you cook," advises Corning. "Aim to have all cooking finalized about 30 minutes after guests arrive, so you can host properly."

For less formal parties, having a table with snacks like cheeses, breads, olives, and chips is a good idea, as you can just keep topping these up throughout the evening. If you have dollar to spare, Corning adds that you could make this even easier for yourself by hiring a caterer to do meals or a grazing board. So bougie.

4. Decorate the place

First impressions always count. You want people to feel like they’re walking into a party, so they’re instantly ready to have a good time. The best way to do that? Decorations. “When deciding on party decor for an apartment, use the ceilings and walls as much as possible to not take up foot traffic space,” Corning tells me.

She suggests hanging strands of fairy lights (these Siuholi ones are Amazon’s Choice, BTW), streamers, banners, and signs to create a festive atmosphere. You could even choose a theme, decorate around that, and encourage people to dress up in the style (*immediately starts planning Barbie-themed party*).

5. Bring out the games

Don’t worry — I’m not talking about pin the tail on the donkey (as a vegetarian child, I always felt bad for the donkey in that sitch). Instead, put out games that your guests can easily interact with, and dip in and out of throughout the evening. In terms of space-saving games and activities, Corning suggests karaoke, instant camera selfie stations, and even classic games without big props like truth or dare. I always get stuck when thinking of questions, so I think a deck of cards like this Never Have I Ever box on Amazon is a great idea.

6. Plan a breather

When you have lots of people gathered in a small space like an apartment, guests can often get hot. “If you have an apartment garden or a shared outdoors area in your block, consider a time to take everyone outside for a breath of fresh air" says Corning. "You could all take a drink out or even some dessert.” Cute desserts that work well in smaller bowls include ice cream scoops, mini meringues and fruit, and cake (chocolate cake is always a winner, IMO).

Overall, the important thing is to make the most out of the space you have and make sure there’s plenty for your guests to enjoy. “Approach each challenge with a creative mindset," explains Corning. "After all, it’s a party, so having fun with the planning will translate into the mood of your event.” This is so true — if you’re bringing the good vibes, the good vibes will def come. Have fun partying, people!

Up next: Summer party decor ideas you need to try this weekend 

Eve Smallman
Content Editor

Hi there! I’m a content editor at Real Homes. I've been a lifestyle journalist for over five years, previously working as an editor across regional magazines. Before this, I graduated from Nottingham Trent University a degree in journalism, along with an NCTJ gold diploma. I love running, decorating my rented Victorian home, and discovering new cheeses. For Real Homes, I specialize in interior design, trends and finding the best viral buys.