Why you should care

Space-optimising tips and other tricks to transform your humble home into a dinner party space.

So your friends are insisting on visiting your new place, or you just know that having your parents over for a home cooked meal would make them so happy. But how do you squeeze a hungry hoard into your tiny dining area?

You don’t – not the dining area.

That’s the first secret. Read on for the rest.

1 Utilise All Your Space

Here’s our favourite nugget: you don’t have to squeeze everyone into your 5-seater round table, or try to math how your aunty, uncle, parents, and their new Pomeranian will fit at your kitchen counter. Look around your space to find the largest open space. Often times, it’s the living room.

Once you’ve identified that, look for your largest table(s). It can be the dining table, a desk, or even a mah-jong table. Place your largest table or 2 of your largest ones (similar in height) next to each other in that large open space. To bring the tables together seamlessly, grab a table cloth, or purchase a large piece of cloth from your local textile retailer as a makeshift table cloth.

dining table ikea

SOURCE: Ikea.com

If yours is a bigger party that won’t fit the twin tables, then make use of smaller tables like your coffee table! You can place your rug and coffee table next to the dining table. Surround the coffee table with pillows so people can sit on the floor to eat. This a fun seating style for kids or anyone who prefers a more casual setting.

coffee table table setting

SOURCE: we-are-scout.com

While you’re moving furniture, move away pieces or items that won’t be utilised during the dinner party. These include side tables, bookcases, armchairs, and more. Clearing out clutter will leave more space for guests and food.

2 Serve the Food Buffet Style

Serving the food separate from the eating area allows more space for eating and guests at the table. Spread out your foods – for example, place the appetisers at the coffee table, the main course at the kitchen countertops, and the desserts in the fridge until they’re ready to be served!

Placing the foods at different “stations” also motivates your guests to walk around and mingle.

appetizer station

SOURCE: Foodnetwork.com

We especially love the idea of “build-your-own” stations, like a DIY spring roll bar where guests can build and wrap their own spring rolls. Not only does it encourage interaction, but guests also get to choose what goes into their appetiser!

spring roll ingredients

SOURCE: Honeysucklecatering.com

3 Get Creative With Space and Surface 

If you have a table for 6 but are expecting 8 guests, then switch out your dining chairs for stackable stools. If you don’t have stools, then send out a BYOC (bring your own chair – we’re making this a thing) text to your guests. Don’t worry about it being an imposition to your guests as more often than not, people are happy to chip in to help the hosts!

Otherwise, take note of other furniture pieces that you you can serve food or drinks on, such as a trolley or a small bookshelf.

trolley shelf drinks

SOURCE: L: brit.co; R: refinery29.com

If you host dinners frequently, consider purchasing foldable tables and chairs from hardware stores. They are cheap, easy to store, and can be easily dressed up with flowers, table décor, and table cloth.

Folding table

SOURCE: acehardware.com

4 Lights Down

 A quick way to transform your regular living space into a coffee-house is by using warm lighting. Instead of white or fluorescent lights; light the room with orange lights, warm lighting from lamps, fairy lights, and even candles!

mood lighting dining

SOURCE: L: stylebyemilyhenderson.com; R: belgianpearls.be

Besides acting as mood lighting, warmer lights are also less bright and harsh, hiding imperfections like stains or the size of a smaller room.

5 Take it Outside

Don’t just think about the space inside your home, but about the space outside as well! If you have good weather and a sizeable porch, front yard, or backyard, you’ve got an outdoor dining area. Move your furniture outside or dress up that foldable table we mentioned in point 3.

If you live in an apartment, go poolside or use the communal BBQ pit! Just make sure to check with your building manager for time restrictions and that no one else has booked the same area during your desired time.

Why you should care

Space-optimising tips and other tricks to transform your humble home into a dinner party space.

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