Canada's Condominium Magazine
Whether the in-laws are coming to town or your spouse has just informed you that the boss and his wife are coming over for dinner, the prospect of entertaining guests in a small space is enough to send anyone into a frenzy.
You have to prepare topics of conversation, plan activities, tidy up, go grocery shopping, and cook a meal that is worthy of being served to your guests. For kids parties, don’t forget balloons and games. No amount of time seems adequate. You begin to wonder if this can be done at all or if you should wave your white flag and duck out of there before anyone sees you.
Trust me, it can be done, and you do not need to overcompensate for the lack of space by trying too hard. Some of the best parties and get-togethers involve very little planning.
Make a list: the secret to entertaining
After grabbing some fresh air and calming down for a moment, it is time to make preparations. A checklist can really help you to stay on top of everything. When making your checklist, don’t forget an important one:
Let the neighbours know. Either invite them — the surest way to prevent a noise complaint — or let them know what’s happening and ask them to talk to you first if there’s an issue.
Tidying up can be done first and then once again just before your guests arrive. Items such as folding dinettes are incredibly useful, and sleeping arrangements should be made if they are necessary. Trundle beds are good to have in case of overnight guests — or check out the visitor suites if your condo has them. And don’t forget to check out the party room if you’re having a really big gathering, or expect to make more noise than your neighbours might tolerate.
An electric grill makes a difference
Small, electric indoor/outdoor grills are perfect for condo living and can be used to prepare meals for your guests. You can cook your meal in the kitchen while working on the other preparations, or you can cook out on the balcony while conversing with your guests. These grills have non-stick surfaces, and they are easily cleaned. You can cook a variety of different foods on these grills, which significantly cuts down on the prep time. Tiered serving trays are extremely helpful, as they allow you to serve more food and beverages while taking up less counter space.
Multipurpose furniture is extremely beneficial, and repurposing what you already have can go a long way if you do not have the time or means to buy and store new items. Another great idea is to rent these items rather than buying them so that you do not have to worry about storing them once your guests leave.
A buffet makes small spaces feel bigger when entertaining
A kitchen island or bar can be used as a buffet table. Likewise, coffee tables and other surfaces can be used to serve food and beverages. As for seating, you can allow guests to mingle while they eat and sit wherever they want, which will make your space seem bigger because everyone will not be crowded in one spot. Alternately, you can opt for a Moroccan-style feast where guests are seated on colourful, decorative pillows surrounding a coffee table.
You could also try renting out the conference or party rooms if your condo has them. Hosting a pool party or a barbecue out at the picnic area is also a fun idea. This is especially ideal if you are entertaining children or guests who have children. The kids can play on the playground while the adults talk and enjoy themselves. Some ideas for entertaining groups indoors include card games, movie screenings, trivia, board games, and more. No matter how much space you have, the important thing to remember is that any party can be successful as long as people are having a good time. Talk, laugh, eat, and enjoy yourself. If you are enjoying yourself, your guests likely will be as well.