HOSTING BIG IN A SMALL SPACE
Have you ever thought about hosting a gathering and let your lack of space hold you back? Well I'm hear to say, NO MORE, friend!
We live (family of 5 plus 2 dogs) in a 1,500-ish square foot home and I love to host friends which typically means a bazillion kids. (OK, maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but there's a lot.)
Is it a bit tighter than our previous 2,600 square foot home? Yup!
Is it less enjoyable? Nope!
Here are my go to tips for hosting big gatherings in a small space. I hope they help you feel more confident in planning your next social event because community is far more important than the space you gather in.
STOP STRESSING ABOUT IT
OK, so maybe this is easier said than done, but seriously, STOP STRESSING. Your friends and family are coming to spend time with you and others. They are not there to judge you cleanliness. (Although you do want to cover the basics...just don't worry about the dusty ceiling fans or smudges on the windows. Relax, Becky.) They are not there to judge your decor. And they are certainly not there to judge your home's square footage.
Remove the stress of what others might think of your space and focus on how you can make them feel. Can you make them feel welcomed and wanted? That's what matters.
So roll on that Stress Away oil, diffuse those amazing Fall scents, put a smile on your face and let each person know, "I'm so happy you're here!".
Alright. So if our friends aren't coming over to judge our home then why can't we rearrange the furniture to make it fit the needs of the evening? Who cares if that's not where you typically have your sofa? Does it work tonight? Then go for it!
For our most recent gathering - you know, the one with a bazillion kids and their parents? I moved the sofa to a different wall. I used the sofa table as a workstation (in a location I would never keep a table on a day to day basis). I pulled extra chairs into the living room from other parts of the house and I stole the boys' trunk to use as a coffee table.
Use what you have and make it work for you. Just because that's where you've always had your seating arrangement does not mean you have to keep it there. Be a little flexible and you'll find you can accommodate more people than you expect.
SPREAD OUT YOUR ACTIVITIES
To help with the flow of the gathering, spread out your activities (or food) to various locations. This will allow people to mingle in a variety of locations rather than all squeezing in around the dining table.
Here's how we did it recently:
Pizza was on the kitchen counters. (Yep, we're fancy like that.)
Desserts were on the dining table.
Water bottles were out in the sun room.
Wine and juice pouches were on the console table as guests walked in.
The two activity stations were on opposite sides of the main living space.
Having the food and drinks spread out keeps you from having a giant mob all in one area. I mean, think about even a large home. Where does everyone typically end up gathering? Exactly, standing in the kitchen.
Instead of keeping everything in that kitchen space, sprinkle items through out your home to encourage people to move and mingle in various locations. (Now, don't be weird. There's no need to place desserts in the bedroom or something creepy like that. But do utilize all of your main living spaces as much as possible.)
NUMBER OF SEATS DOES NOT EQUAL NUMBER OF GUESTS
So here's a big one, friends. You do not need a chair for every individual you invite. It's just not necessary unless you plan to have a formal dinner. Typically (especially with parents), a handful of people will stand as they eat and will never need a chair.
Don't let how many chairs you have be the determining factor for how many people you're capable of hosting. Most social gatherings don't include a ton of sitting and therefore you can host far more people than the number of seats available.
OK, so I'm sure there are other tips to help you get over this idea of your home being too small to host people, but here's what I want you to take away from this post:
Community trumps everything. If you're willing to open your home, then you are capable of hosting. People need community and if you can provide that opportunity, do it.
I've never regretted hosting a gathering (big or small) in our home. Not once.
Community breathes life and if we need to be a little closer to one another due to my smaller home, then I guess it's time to get to know each other a bit better.