Separate food and drinks
Keep your bar and food station near each other, and your guests will end up in gridlock. But by scattering a few serving areas throughout a small home, you’ll keep foot traffic moving and make your small space seem less crowded. Consider handing out drinks near the door, but keeping food in the back, for instance. “This allows for better flow, and guests won’t all congregate in one spot,” says Novak. When you’re not the host, check out these etiquette rules for guests.
Clear off spaces
Your usual decorative accents might look nice for everyday, but they’ll just get away during a party. Clear out accent pillows to provide more sitting space, and consider tucking away some home décor—especially anything that might be easy to tip over, suggests Engelbach. “It doesn’t strip the room of personality and character, but it provides ample space to serve, and guests can put things down,” she says. “No one wants to carry a cocktail plate all day.”
Keep cleaning products handy
“Everything happens, especially when a lot of people are gathered in a small place,” says Lauren Haynes, cleaning expert at Star Domestic Cleaners. “A broken vase, spilled food or liquids—you have to be prepared.” She recommends stocking up an emergency kit with your favorite stain removers and a couple rags. Just don’t let cleanup distract you from entertaining when your guests are still there, she says. Before guests arrive, use this guide to clean your kitchen in five minutes.