How to Throw a Party in a Small Apartment

Last Updated on September 1, 2022 by Project Party

This guest post was written by our friends at Redfin. If you’d like to contribute a guest post, contact us.

No matter the occasion, having a party is a great way to spend time with friends and family. For those living in a smaller apartment like a studio apartment, organising a gathering in a small space can seem like a challenge – but it doesn’t have to be. From seating and music to food and drink, we’ve reached out to professionals to provide their insights on how to throw a party in a small apartment. So if you’re celebrating a milestone with friends in your one-bedroom apartment, or just having a night of fun, read on to see how you can make your party a blast.

A dinner party with cheese boards

1. Keep Your Gathering Intimate

If you’re looking to throw a party in your apartment or small space, there are a few things you can do to make it a success.

  • Keep it intimate: Having a smaller guest list will make it easier to manage the party and keep things under control. Plus, your guests will feel more comfortable in a smaller setting.
  • Get creative with your space: Use furniture and other items to create different areas for your guests to mingle and socialize. This will help prevent the party from feeling cramped and cluttered.
  • Open up the area with styling: When decorating, try to use light colours and fabrics to create the illusion of more space. Stick to small patterns or stripes instead of large prints, which can make the space feel even smaller.

– Project Party

2. Plan Ahead to Ensure a Successful Party

To ensure success, that the kids have a good time at the party, and your home does not suffer collateral damage (stained sofas, vases, and broken pictures), it’s important to consider the following:

  • Ask your little one the number of friends they want to invite, choose a theme, and know-how to organize your furniture, where they’ll play, where they’ll eat and leave the gifts. It’s important that one of the organizers tries to be attentive, but without making them feel watched.
  • Biodegradable plates and glasses are two good allies for the tableware and glassware of a children’s party since they are fall-proof and help prevent accidents.


3. Draw Attention to the Areas That Are Less Utilized

No matter what size your apartment is, people always congregate in the kitchen. We suggest creating a fun food or dessert station in another area away from the kitchen to draw people into a space that is less utilized. A fun dessert station with an assortment of sweets provides festive decor while spreading out your guests.

Event Success

Photo courtesy of Dust Photography – Event Success

4. Be Considerate of Your Neighbours

Inviting your surrounding neighbours – your floor, the floor below, and the floor above – is a great trick to avoid complaints within your building. If your neighbour decides to turn down the invitation, they’ll be less likely to call management and complain due to your invitation. If you’re going to have great music (which we recommend having an awesome Spotify playlist) be sure to find out what the rules are governing loud music in your county or building and stop at that given hour.

NYX Entertainment & Events

5. Set up Fun Activities That Don’t Require Much Space

Limited space doesn’t mean limited fun. Our princesses are prepared not only for ‘stay in place’ activities like story time, but also with fun imagination-based games like ‘don’t wake the princess.’ Crafts like making magic wands or royal sceptres are another way to keep the fun maximised in minimal space.

The Princess Party Co.

6. Look at Your Space From a Different Perspective

Small spaces can be so cozy and intimate for a gathering. Maximize your entertaining space by looking at it with a different lens. Maybe your dining room should really have the couch in it. Maybe the dining table should go up against a wall in the living room. Look for areas of flow and a balance between seating and bar/buffet space. Be sure to clear the clutter, even if it means throwing everything in the spare bedroom for the night. This will give you more space for setting up food and drink and make the space feel less crowded. One pro tip to decide in advance – do you ask your guests to remove their shoes or allow them to keep them on? You will inevitably get this question and having a clear stance will avoid awkwardness in the moment.

Northland Special Events

7. Pay Attention to Song Playlists, Furniture, and Food Placement

  • Share a unique playlist link: By allowing your guests to add their song choices to the cue in real-time, everyone’s personal favourites will play without having to be gathered by one single person. Making things digital and accessible, allows everyone to save time and stress while entertaining.
  • Think multi-purpose: Try using your dining table for a self-service buffet or use cushions as floor seating. Instead of bringing more items into the small space, rethink your current household items in ways where they can be useful.
  • Decentralize the food: By setting up multiple spaces with similar food or drink options, your guests won’t be motivated to bolt towards the kitchen when food is served. Avoid overcrowding, especially in the kitchen.


8. Seating and Music Are Very Important

When it comes to having an event in a small space, seating and music become very important. You want as much seating (but also as much open area) as possible. This can be accomplished by adding multiple ottoman-type seating around your coffee table or stools at your kitchen counter. Ideally, you want “intimate-dinner-party” type elevator, jazz, or instrumental music that hopefully won’t upset your neighbours, but will provide nice mingling background noise for your guests.

Ness McGovern Events and Design

9. Add Party Decor That Works With Existing Apartment Decor

Party decor can really contribute to a sense of fun for your party. If you’re looking to create a themed look, think about how you can incorporate the decor with what’s already in your apartment and forgo the large balloons, special cake tables, or custom backdrops. For example, using tableware, tablecloths, candles, and flowers that match your colour scheme is a great start. You can also grab a few meters of fabric to cover the sofa as a throw or pin over the pillows. Use blank walls to your advantage – attach bunting, printouts, or even a small piñata for a 3D look. Finally, if you need to cover or hide any space, think about how you can use fabric or curtains to cover it.

Confetti Fair

10. Use Your Apartment Amenities

While hosting the party directly in your apartment may be the most convenient option, if your apartment complex offers a clubhouse or common area, consider hosting the party there. Not only will it offer more room, but they also typically will offer more amenities—like TVs you can show an Everwall or social games like Jackbox on, kitchens, and billiards or ping pong tables. Many complexes even offer this at no additional cost—you just have to reserve it. Another benefit to hosting it in a clubhouse is you likely won’t have any neighbours making noise complaints.

– Joel Strellner, CEO, Everwall, Inc.

11. Invest in Fun Party Decorations

Don’t let the pressure of hosting a party in your small apartment deter you. Think outside of the box with fun party decor. Hang a small balloon garland on your wall with a metallic fringe curtain for the ultimate Instagram-worthy backdrop.

Ellie’s Party Supply

12. Designate a Space in Your Apartment for Storage

The secret to a beautifully designed event is storage. Set aside a bedroom or closet where you can stash items that don’t match the theme, store your excess food and drinks, and check your guests’ coats. Keeping clutter out of sight will ensure that your party décor gets the spotlight it deserves.

Availed Events

13. Take It up a Notch and Invest in Live Music

Make your house party instantly classy with a jazz trio – I perform house parties constantly with vocals, keys, and bass and that’s all you need to create a fun, swanky ambience and not overwhelm the room. And if you already have a piano in your house, that makes load-in easy.

Fleur Seule

Photo courtesy of Detroit Wedding Day

14. Use S.P.A.C.E to Help You Plan the Details

Here are a few ideas to help make your party memorable. By using the acronym SPACE as a guide, you’ll be able to plan a great event.

S – Seating the space
P – Planning and Prep
A – Ambiance
C – Creativity
E – Entertainment

The following ideas can be categorized or used as guides throughout the event planning process. If you expect many guests, consider having a strolling buffet or food station set up versus plated meals. Having various food serving stations helps keep the guests moving from serving station to serving station creating good flow. It also helps address seating issues since everyone will not be seated at once. Nonetheless, provide ample seating for your guests. Use existing furniture throughout the apartment, folding chairs, or even large throw pillows.

Detroit Wedding Day

15. Make Sure Your Home Is Well Cooled

Don’t be afraid to move furniture around to make more room for mingling. Make sure your house is well cooled, so turn on the AC 2-3 hours before your guests arrive. Place food all around your apartment, this will prevent your guest from overcrowding one area and keep your party moving.


16. Create a Beverage That Suits All Your Guests

  • Be sure to only invite people you really like since you’ll be in close quarters with them.
  • Pre batch a “mocktail” in a large drink dispenser and set up two types of spirits and bubble waters for people to “build their own beverage”.
  • Canapés all day! Stick with finger foods and cocktail napkins so people can be mobile and fit into a smaller space with no need for a table, fork, or knife.

Chef Joann

17. Get Creative With Setting up Your Space

Voila Caterers (catering with a French twist) specializes in house parties no matter the size of the apartment. A little creativity goes a long way. You have to think about buffet and bar tables both covered with a crisp white tablecloth, the base for a party. Then the food spread has to be delicious, colourful, and balanced (a mixture of classic and vegan/vegetarian catering) to please everyone in the crowd. Place a few bouquets and candles around the space and don’t forget a nice playlist for the background music to set the mood.

Voila Caterers and Vegan Catering NYC

18. Keep In Mind How Many Guests You Can Host in Your Apartment

  • Have a picnic-style event in your living room with your favourite brunch or charcuterie items and refreshing drinks (mimosas, sangria, etc,). Bring out your most comfortable pillows and blankets to set up around your coffee table. The theme can be in your favourite colour or a holiday/celebration of your choice. You can ask guests to BYOP (bring your own pillow) for a fun mix and match style.
  • If you want to show off your apartment, you can host a party in 2-3 rooms of your apartment. Start in the kitchen where you can welcome everyone with a specialty cocktail and appetizers, have a seated dinner at your dining room table, and serve dessert in the living room to end the night. Feel free to add a fun activity to end the night like music and karaoke or a game.

Grace And Virtue Events

19. Prepare Food That Doesn’t Require Additional Cutlery

Who said you can’t throw a party in a small apartment? Use your existing tables and counters for the food, bar, and beverage displays. Order finger food to minimize the need for forks and knives, and go with small plates so people can easily eat standing up. Set up a couple of bistro tables and use existing furniture for additional seating. To keep staff at a minimum, ask for delivery service. We offer a beautiful drop-off service of hors d’oeuvres platters and desserts (beverages and alcohol options too) that can be delivered straight to your apartment, set up by our staff and nothing will need to be returned back to us after the event is over. Hassle-free for you, delicious for your guests, good for the earth, and comfortable for all.

Twelve Baskets Catering

20. Utilize Every Area in Your Apartment Building

One of the perks of throwing a party in an apartment building is that you don’t have to be constrained to the four walls of your small apartment. Instead, consider hosting a progressive party where you and your guests enjoy different dishes or cocktails in different spaces. Start with appetizers in your apartment and then transition to cocktails in your apartment building’s party room or on the rooftop. Get your neighbours involved for even more fun. And if you really want to impress your guests, team up with a local neighbourhood food truck to serve your favourite late-night snacks and enjoy the outdoor space your apartment has to offer.

– Courtney-Rose Dantus, Principal Planner, Dantus & Co. Events

21. Use Name Tags for Parties When You Merge Your Friends

To make it easy for guests to meet one another, and to encourage new conversations, everyone should wear name tags. I know it sounds corny, but it also helps shy or introverted people to feel more welcome. Small apartments can be loud and crowded, but when you use name tags, it shows that everyone is open to meeting new people and that there aren’t any cliques or special groups at your party.

Nick Gray, author of The 2-Hour Cocktail Party

22. Plan by Imagining What You Want the Party to Look Like

When hosting a party in a small apartment, begin by imagining. Yes, sit down in the space and take in its essence. Be quiet and let the space speak to you. This has always produced amazing results for me. Next, make sure you can set all the food out on small plates. This allows you to quickly come in and remove the empty plate to the dishwasher or oven giving the appearance of a neat, organized, yummy display of food. It also makes cleaning up quick because everything is located in one place.

– Tonya Edinger, Events of Pittsburgh

23. Add Small Details to Make Your Party Feel Homey

Don’t shy away from maximal colour, texture, and entertainment even in a confined space. Although you may feel constricted, by incorporating sections in your space of stacked hors d’oeuvres, making your own cocktail stations, and adding small engraved napkins and party favours, you can make your party feel homey and most importantly, like a celebration.

KIS (cubed) Events