Entertaining

How to Host in a Very Small Space

Written by
WHITNEY LEIGH MORRIS
PHOTOGRAPHS BY
Whitney Leigh Morris for Tiny Canal Cottage

Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to the home – and it’s not always an option if you reside in a highly coveted locale. However, don’t let a tiny floor plan prevent you from entertaining. Just ask our friend and frequent collaborator Whitney Leigh Morris. She lives in The Tiny Canal Cottage, a 1924 Craftsman-style home located along the historic canals in Venice Beach. Whitney and her husband have housed overnight guests for visits ranging from a single night to up to three weeks and have welcomed up to 50 people in their place for cocktail parties. And did we mention they have a young son and two dogs? With this expertise on how to host in small spaces – and pictures of her home to prove it – Whitney affirms you don’t have to “live large” to live beautifully.

Tips for Hosting Overnight Guests in a Small Space

Multi-functional Furniture and Accessories

Store guest bedding in a chest that can double as a coffee table. Also, use folding bistro furniture to accommodate your guests both indoors and out; these quickly collapse so you can stash the set when not in use.

Keep Comfort in Mind

When visitors sleep in rooms that serve more than one purpose (such as a living room or office that doubles as a guest room, like ours), be sure to offer them an eye mask and ear plugs. The little things help guests settle in and get a better night of sleep.

Be Respectful of Everyone’s Privacy

It’s obviously challenging to find a completely private space for overnight guests in a tiny home. However, a room divider provides your guests with a little place of their own. If your space can’t accommodate a folding screen, try suspending a temporary curtain around the guest bed or couch. In the evenings the curtain creates privacy, while during the day it’s cinched with a pin to leave the room open and airy.

Dedicate a Space for Guests’ Toiletries and Towels

Clear a shelf or cubby for your guests’ toiletries. Not only does this help visitors feel settled and welcome in your home, but it also prevents clutter from piling up on valuable countertop and floor space. Use varying colors of towels so everyone knows which one is his or hers.

Tips for Hosting a Dinner or Cocktail Party in a Small Space

Coat and Bag Drop

One of the biggest issues at small space gatherings is that guests don’t quite know where to put their belongings. It’s a good idea to provide a safe, dedicated space for coats and bags. We like to repurpose two shepherd’s hooks – connected by a branch — as a simple clothing rack. By adding some hangers and S-hooks, guests can hang their extra layers and belongings, which helps keep the house clean and uncluttered by freeing up surfaces and seating.

Organized, Reusable Goods

Reusable napkins, dishes, glasses and silverware are surprisingly comparable in price to plastic or paper party goods. By organizing all of these items in wire baskets and using them for events, you avoid wasteful piles of trash that clutter up the house. Glass serving bottles and a SodaStream help as well. You don’t need much space to go green.

Collect Dirty Dishes

A metal, rolling cart makes a convenient basket for collecting used food and beverage items. This trick prevents an unsightly, surface-stealing mess in the kitchen during an event, keeping all the dirty items together and fairly out of sight.