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Property expert reveals 7 tips for hosting over the festive period if you live in a small space

With hosting season upon us and Christmas mode in full swing, our calendars over the coming weeks will be filled to the brim with plans for social gatherings.

However, having the space to comfortably host all your loved ones between Christmas and the New Year can be a challenge for those who love to entertain - particularly if you live in a cramped flat or don’t have the luxury of a garden for guests to overspill into.

To help get the most out of your home and prevent friends and family from being left off the invite list, London-based property experts, Essential Living, have shared their top tips to follow for making your space feel bigger ahead of hosting.


Tidy away clutter

The first step to creating a sense of additional space in your home is by tidying away any non-essential items and general clutter; clearing the surfaces ready to be used for more practical purposes like displaying food and drink for your guests, as opposed to holding old magazines and paperwork.

When hosting, you'll likely need as much counter space as possible in the kitchen. It's a good idea to remove and store any appliances that won't be used during your party, like the toaster or kettle.

Create an open-plan space 


It’s important to assess the current set-up of the main room you intend to socialise in with your guests. For instance, if this is the living room, try to clear this space and move any large or obstructive pieces of furniture away from the centre of the room, like dining tables.

Unless you’re preparing for a sit-down meal, tables and bulky chairs can be stored away in a separate room for the time being to utilise the space and ensure your guests can mingle around the room.

Instead of using chairs, stools, steps and ottomans are all great options for compact and moveable seating, and even floor pillows can be a good alternative - especially if you’re playing Christmas games. 

Also consider how items in your home can double up with more than one purpose. For instance, your kitchen counter could transform into a bar area for some cocktail making on New Year’s Eve or a games table late into the evening.

It’s worth distinguishing the areas you do have with different zones. If you have one open floor plan, it’s important to consider how you will divide it up with different furniture to create areas for different activities within one room.

Decorate - but don’t go overboard! 

While a theme is important and decorations are key for occasions like Christmas and New Year’s parties, taking this too far — with hanging decorations and jazzy multi coloured lights — can make an already small space feel even more cramped.


Of course, the Christmas tree is a non-negotiable this time of year, but instead of going overboard with big statement pieces, instead opt for more subtle decor and the feeling of space will follow!

Lighting is key

As with music, lighting is key for establishing the right mood - and has the added benefit of making your home feel even more festive. A smaller space might actually work in your favour here by making the room feel extra cosy - especially with fairy lights - but to make your space feel bigger, the right lighting is essential. 

Evenly spread light is key for opening up a space and lighting up dark corners. Lights that direct light upwards and outwards, such as uplighters, will help to bounce light around a room and also create a glow that’s both soft and flattering.

Make a coat room for guests

This doesn't necessarily need to be a room in itself, but preparing an area for coats and bags to be stored is a great rule for hosting. The entrance by the front door might be too small a space for all the coats, scarves and bags - especially this time of year - where there will be lots of bulky clothes.

Even if it's a case of throwing coats onto your bed for the meantime, if they're out of sight, they're out of mind and at least they won’t be cluttering your hallway or using up valuable seating.


Add mirrors 

Mirrors are not only essential for photo opportunities but they also give the illusion of more space. 

If you normally have mirrors stored away in your bedroom or spare room then it could be worth repositioning them in the main area where you intend to host ahead of guests coming round. Put them wherever possible! 

Open the windows and back door for more ventilation

Even if it’s cold and dark with the winter months here, the last thing you want is for your guests to feel claustrophobic during a party you’ve invested a lot of time into planning.

While a crowded space can help to create a sense of atmosphere, it’s important to make use of any outdoor zones, even if it's just a small balcony area so guests have the option to spread out the party size and enjoy some fresh air.

However, if you do open up the windows and backdoor for more ventilation during the course of the night, be mindful of your next-door neighbours as they may not appreciate the noise levels.

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