You’re planning a dinner party for your boss, your in-laws, your special friends – and it’s got to be spectacular. The challenge? You don’t have much money to spend, and you don’t have a lot of space in your apartment. Can you pull it off? Absolutely. While it may require some planning and a little bit of imagination, the result can be a highly original dinner party that will win you kudos from all your guests. Here are five ways you can affordably maximize your apartment space to create an unforgettable dinner party.
Need more space? All those items that clutter up a room, such as magazines and tennis rackets, can be stored out of sight in the closet – or you can temporarily stash them in the bathtub and keep the shower curtains closed. Next, assess your furniture and categorize your pieces as essential or non-essential to your party. Those non-essential pieces (if they’re not too heavy) can be shifted to the bedroom to create more space for your guests. Also, you can remove the clutter from your tables and use that space for serving food. If you don’t have a sizable hall closet, take your guests’ coats to the bedroom and leave them on the bed until the end of the evening.
With the great variety of pre-made entrees, side dishes, and desserts available in today’s grocery stores, there’s no reason why everything at a dinner party has to be homemade. Plus, if space is limited, you may not have the resources to cook for a crowd, nor the room in your kitchen for all those dishes. Take advantage of bakery-made breads, cakes, and pastries, as well as deli-made salads, side dishes, and entrees. Also consider purchasing a party platter with veggies or cold cuts, which you can easily serve beforehand in lieu of an appetizer. If you’re planning to cook yourself, concentrate on hearty casserole-type entrees, such as stroganoff or beef burgundy, either of which will cost much less per serving than expensive meat or roasts.
If you’re longing to create an artistic tablescape that will impress your guests, but you don’t have much room, remember that the best type of design is one that doesn’t dominate the entire table. Instead of using oversized floral arrangements or candelabras, decorate your smaller-sized table with small votive candles, which you can get from the dollar store. As for the table itself, experiment with placing it at different angles to create more space in the room. Likewise, don’t be afraid to let the table straddle a doorway, as this might add several additional feet of walking space.
If space is limited, and your family dining room suite is actually a two-seat bistro set, then consider having a buffet-style dinner instead of a sit-down meal. Buffet-style dining is a great option for apartment dwellers, especially if you simply don’t have enough room for a super-sized dining table. There’s no law that says food has to all be served in one place, so you can utilize just about any flat service in the living room or kitchen to hold your serving dishes. Using card tables is another option, as long as you cover them with a table cloth to make them look nicer. If you need more chairs, borrow a few from friends and family, or purchase some inexpensive folding chairs from a thrift or discount store.
Instead of adding clutter, the right accessories can actually help create more space for your guests. For example, oversized pillows can be used to create extra seating on the floor. Another decorative trick is to invest in a few inexpensive mirrors, which can add a feeling of spaciousness to even the most cramped quarters. Modular cube-shaped hampers are also ideal for serving trays and drinks. These accessories can be grouped throughout the room to create conversation areas, which are great for larger-sized parties.
By using your imagination, you can make the smallest apartment look – and feel – twice its size. What space-saving, budget-friendly ideas are you willing to try? We’d love to hear about it! Share your comments below, on Facebook or @ApartmentGuide on Twitter.