MAINTAINING A HOME
Seven great hacks for entertaining in a small space
30 August 2020
Just because your space is small, doesn’t mean you can’t go big when it comes to entertaining. Here are seven helpful hacks that will turn you into a host with the most.
Not all of us are lucky enough to live in a home with grand entertaining spaces. But that doesn’t mean our tiny rental apartment or modest house can’t play host to small-scale dinner parties or intimate cocktail soirees.
“Don’t think you have to be an incredible cook with a massive house to host an amazing evening,” says food writer and stylist Michelle Crawford. “Quality ingredients go a long way to creating a simple and memorable event. There’s nothing wrong with serving a big bowl of lush prawns with crusty sourdough bread that everyone eats standing up.”
Here are seven great hacks to transform your modest space into a dining delight.
Clear the decks
If you’re working in a smallish kitchen, you want it to be as clutter-free as possible. “Pack away toasters, kettles, fruit bowls — anything that takes up valuable bench space,” Crawford advises. “You can stash things in your bedroom if you don’t have spare cupboards.” And clear out the fridge, too. “Jars of pickles, jams, etc. can be packed away in a cooler to make shelf space for any perishable food you’ll be serving.” Do a similar de-clutter in your living and dining area — it will create the illusion of space.
Seating a large-ish group of people in a small-ish space can be tricky. Benches are a great solution; not only do they seat more people, if you place one against a wall and move your table in, you’re freeing up valuable floor space. “If your place is really tiny, ditch the seating altogether and serve food that can be eaten standing,” says Crawford. “Set up the food on the dining table and guests can graze.”
No matter how great a cook you are, a tiny kitchen will limit your creative genius, which is why Crawford suggests outsourcing at least one course. “Consider a charcuterie platter from your local deli, a gorgeous tart from your favourite bakery for dessert, or artisan gelato and fresh berries that you can serve in glasses with a small spoon.”
Pure and simple
Don’t overwhelm your spaces. The key is to keep the room looking visually light. Avoid large flower arrangements in favour of one dramatic stem or a single bud. A string of fairy lights will add a sense of intimacy to a room, and tealights are not only inexpensive, they give great bang for their buck in terms of creating ambience.
On the double
Employ the furniture in your room to do double duty. “The mantlepiece or a shelf on a bookcase can be the perfect makeshift cocktail station. Clear away the ornaments, stack the glasses and serve a jug of cocktails with a bowl of pretty garnishes so that guests can help themselves.” Similarly, cover a coffee or side table with fabric to create another useful serving option, and use ottomans as seating.
Food for thought
Consider the kind of food you’re going to serve. If you don’t really have the space for a sit-down dinner party, opt for food that’s easy to eat with your hands, or is suitable for grazing, such as tapas or Middle Eastern mezze. “Also think about hands-on, DIY meals like fondue or tacos which are fun and encourage guests to interact,” says Crawford. “Simply lay out the ingredients, show guests how it works and let everyone help themselves.”
If you’ve got your heart set on sitting down for dinner, save space by using side plates rather than large dinner plates, encourage your guests to use one glass rather than several, and consider swapping your (normally larger) lounge room and dining room around for the night, making your dining table the sparkling centrepiece of a larger space.
Save with Suncorp Benefits
If you’re prepping for a little soirée, Suncorp can help you save a few bucks on food, drink and maybe some fancy new lighting. Suncorp Benefits, easily accessible via the Suncorp App, offers discounts on groceries, homewares and more.
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