College Dorm Decorating Tips – Three Ways to Create the Illusion of Space

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dorm sweet dorm“…a small space puts its arms around you and makes you feel at home.”

I’ve paraphrased one of my favorite decorating quotes about small spaces.  It’s part of a quote by Gary McBournie, a highly regarded interior designer from Boston, Massachusetts.

There are very few spaces that are smaller than a college dorm room! So when you’re moving in and decorating that dorm room, every square foot needs to be maximized.

At the same time, you want the room to reflect your personality and be your “home away from home”, so to speak.  It can be tricky to combine all of these features into a space without sacrificing style.

bunk with desk

Bunk bed with desk

Tip #1 – Storage Solutions

Try to make the furnishings multifunctional.  For example, a bed with storage drawers beneath the bed and shelving over the headboard.

A loft bed with a desk and storage underneath (similar to the picture above) makes perfect sense, don’t you think?

Create a nightstand from a rolling cart with shelves to hold toiletries or books or whatever you need to keep handy yet out of the way. Mobile furniture is “gold” in a small space. Easy to pick up or roll out of the way.

For example, this one  comes in several colors – Turquoise, Dark Gray or Dark Beige to blend with any color scheme you’re working with.

white nightstand shelvesA low bookcase also makes a great bedside stand.  Low enough for a reading lamp with plenty of storage on the shelves.

You could also place one at the bottom of the bed for additional storage.

rustic bedstandOr make a nightstand out of rustic crates.

I found this on Pinterest (can you tell I’m a huge Pinterest junkie?)

There’s a tutorial for creating this nightstand on the Simply Real Style blog.  Step by step instructions.  Emily used unfinished crates found at JoAnn, used coupons and made this for a mere $15.00!

Emily stained this one but painting a coordinating color to the rest of the room’s decor would be excellent.

If you decide to try this craft, I’d love for you to post a photo!

chest nightstandI, personally, love the idea of placing a small chest of drawers by the bedside.  That’s my favorite small space storage solution. I’ve written about this in a post titled Bedroom Storage Solutions

Two or three drawers are perfect for stowing pajamas and lingerie or other personal items that you don’t want out in the open.

Tip #2 – Three Ways to Create the Illusion of Space

4 mirrors on wall(1)  An often used decorating trick is to use mirrors to double the light while expanding the look of the room.

A large mirror or several smaller mirrors strategically placed in the room will have a huge impact.

Mirrors like these are inexpensive at stores like Target and WalMart.

Don’t forget to hang a long mirror on the back of a door.  Or the front of a closet door for functionality while bouncing light around the room.

As I wrote in Using Mirrors in Small Spaces, mirrors enhance whatever natural light is in the room. Especially important when there is little natural light.  There are some guidelines in that post, as well.

(2) Cover a wall with a photo mural.

All Posters is one source*. Choose a nature theme to expand the space. Like this one. Place it behind your bed or on a facing wall.  It’ll expand the space significantly.

For more ideas, visit my Pinterest page on Wall Murals and Decals.

tree wall mural

For some additional wall decor inspiration, check out this article on 17 Versatile Ways to Style a Space With Maps.

There are some genius suggestions that would be amazing in a dorm room. Like this one below left:

map wall

(3) Lighting is an important element.

Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan of Apartment Therapy says “lamps help expand a room visually, creating the illusion of more depth and space.”  He’s right!

Forsa Work Lamp

Ikea’s Forsa Work Lamp

Have two or three lamps at eye level around the room.  A desk lamp can do double duty as a task light while making a design statement. This Forsa Work Lamp from Ikea is nickel plated but also comes in a chrome finish and black.



swing arm lampWall lamps are space savers, as well.  Consider using a swing arm light on the wall near the bed.

A wall lamp can be adjusted to just the right angle for reading or studying in bed.


Tip #3 – Think-Outside-the-Box Tips

How can you cram a refrigerator, coffee stuff, dishes, etc. in a small space?

Coffee stationCreate a coffee station on top of a dresser.  Plenty of room for all the supplies plus a cookie jar!  This Keurig K10 Mini Plus Brewing System coffee maker is just the right size for a dorm room.

dorm fridgePlace a small compact refrigerator on a rolling cart and top it with an over the fridge fabric storage caddy similar to this one.

Use Command hooks for hanging all sorts of supplies like:

  • pictures
  • hair dryers
  • mini-lights
  • curtains
  • storage baskets
  • back of the door bathrobe hook

You’ll find 22 additional ideas in Domino’s recent article  Command Hook Hacks That Make Everything Easy!

This is just a start…

I hope these suggestions will tweak your own imagination…settling into dormitory life is a big step and an exciting one. You’ll discover how easy it is to function without all the paraphernalia that you’re used to and it’ll make college life go smoothly as you focus on your goals.

If you use any of these ideas or have suggestions for me, please post in the comments and I’ll share your thoughts.

Thanks for visiting!

Cheryl K Logo




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How to Get More Room Without an Addition

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Finding enough room for everything in a small space can be tricky but it’s not the best reason for designing an addition to your home.


My Small Study

It’s important to use every available niche and to have “a place for everything and everything in its place”, as the saying goes.  It’s means putting on your thinking cap.

I’ve had to do this since moving from a large home to a townhouse as I’ve talked about in my Welcome! message for this site.

For example, I wanted a two bedroom, two bathroom home to accommodate company. And that’s what I bought.  However, I probably should have considered a three bedroom because I need a space for sewing and crafting as well as a small office area.

There’s a den/study in this home so that pretty much solves the office dilemma despite the fact that my desk is petite and it took awhile for me to adjust to that. I have a small table that I can move next to my desk to use as I work.

I purchased these two bookcases for each side of the desk. I have some favorite fiction and non-fiction books on one of them and the other holds my reference books and some favorite tchotchkes like a pretty brass fox that’s a memento from the days we lived in the Fox River Valley just west of Chicago, etc.

Books and Fox

I’ve learned to work with what I’ve got and, quite frankly, it’s working fine.  I just have to be a little more organized and disciplined. That’s not one of my strong suits but practice makes perfect, right?

Next I’m tackling the craft and sewing task…I’ve got twin beds in my guest room which I really need…it accommodates two guests who don’t necessarily want to share a sleeping space!

The thing is…it’s a guest room and rarely do I have guests who need a closet so I’m really taking advantage of space that would otherwise go to waste.

So here’s my plan…I’m going to set up my sewing table in the closet. I’ve got shelves in there to hold my fabrics and notions and craft supplies and there’s easy access to power for my sewing machine. When I’ve got it just right, I’ll post a photo.

How to turn 750 square feet into 850 square feet…

But if you have a family and space is a problem, you might be able to glean a few useful ideas from this excellent video from Houzz that illustrates how a family in Seattle increased the size of their tiny house from 750 square feet to 850 square feet without an addition.

It’s brilliant, really.  Enjoy!

How have you tackled the challenge of creating more space from what’s available?  I’d love to hear from you…send me pictures if you have them.

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please share…Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, etc. are all great choices.  So thanks for that.

In the meantime, stay tuned!

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P.S. Are you interested in starting a website or blog to share your passion or expertise?  I can’t recommend a better place to do start than Wealthy Affiliate.  Just check it out…a free website in no time at all with no obligation, whatsoever.

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Walls That Make a Statement – Artis Walls!

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ArtisWallMake a Statement – Create a Focal Point

It can be tough to create a focal point in a small space.  But I’ve just discovered one great way to do this is with a new product called Artis Wall.  (Art-is-Wall – get it? Very Clever!)

I’m excited about this product.  It’s perfect for a small space – most especially for renters because it’s removable and reusable.

Artis Wall is basically a “green” product, easy to install, reusable and beautiful! It’s rustic yet elegant.

This quote from the company website tells it all:

We gather our authentic reclaimed wood from old barns and other structures around the US and craft them into Artis Wall™ planks. Our patent pending installation system allows for the planks to be easily installed, removed, and reused in any room.

Each plank has a code on the back and if you enter the code on the website, you’ll learn just where your wood came from.

That’s just excellent, I think…it really is art with a history!  Watch the video to learn more.

Now that I’ve piqued your interest, visit the website and check the How It Works page for step by step instructions on how to measure, install and remove this wonderful product.

Which finish would you choose?

whitewashed finishChoose from two styles…natural finish or whitewashed finish.  Or combine the two for a unique design.

One of the reviews from a very satisfied customer on the Artis Wall site:

I received my artis wall after the original kickstarter campaign. It has been such a great purchase! It only took me a little over an hour to install the entire wall! The a.i.m. strips they have are easy to cut and put up on the wall. After I spaced them appropriately, I was able to place the boards up and it looks amazing! My boring white wall now has so much character and I am excited that I own this wall, even after I move out of this rental spot and move somewhere else here in the next year or so. I definitely recommend artis wall to anyone who is renting and or wants a beautiful new wall in their home!

Although I haven’t used Artis Wall (yet!) I wanted to promote it because I honestly think that it’s new, exciting and will solve that focal point decorating dilemma that so many small space dwellers and renters have.

We want to make our homes stand out…we want that WOW factor!

Imagine highlighting the area over your fireplace, for example. This room is so rustic-chic!

Above fireplace

The planks are de-nailed and kiln dried.  They’re 5 inches wide by 3/16th inches thick and come in various lengths. Shipping is free in the U.S.A.

There are a few limitations. For example, the product shouldn’t be installed outside or in a bathroom or on rough finishes.  Check the list of FAQ’s for more information.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about this wall treatment and please do let me know if you’ve already discovered Artis Wall.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this post…feel free to share it on social media or email to a friend who might be looking for this designer wall treatment.

Stay tuned!

Cheryl K Logo

P.S. One last thing…I am not an affiliate of Artis Wall…they don’t have an affiliate program but if they ever do, I’m first in line because I believe this is a design idea that will surely become a hot commodity!


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Best Organizers For a Small Garage

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tidy garageTake Back Your Garage!

How would you like to pull into your garage without worrying if there’s enough space on each side of your car?

Wouldn’t it be great to be able to retrieve packages from the trunk or back seat and not have to walk sideways to get to the door of the house?

Well, it can all happen if you just designate one weekend – maybe even one day – to getting out there and make it happen!  We’re talking about the best organizers you can use for any garage but especially for a small garage.

Wall Storage

Rough Rack 4 x 4 Tool Rack

Rough Rack 4 x 4 Tool Rack

Here are some best sellers:

The product description of this great rack states:”

All racks are Constructed of welded powder coated steel and hold over 100lbs of equipment Perfect for both home and commercial use – garage, maintenance facilities etc.”

The reviews are excellent – check them out. Think of everything you can store on the walls and a couple of these should do the trick!

Overhead Storage

Honestly, if you can put your garage ceiling to use, you’ll be amazed at the number of things you can get out of your way.

This video from Jay’s Custom Creations gives step by step instructions for creating overhead storage in your garage.

Cabinets and Counters for the Garage

How about this beauty! It’s the Stack-On CADET-SET 6-Piece Garage Storage System by Gladiator Cadet. The dimensions are 20″ deep by 38″ high by 74″ long. And it weighs 130 pounds. The cabinets are fully lockable and there are full-length piano hinges on the doors.

You can get variations on this theme, also…just figure out what your needs are and browse what’s available.  Most of these require at least some assembly.  One of the nice things about this is that often you’re eligible for free shipping.

So there are tons of possible solutions for garage storage.  Some nice day this spring I’m heading out to my mess of a garage and taking charge.  I’ll post photos when I do (this should keep me accountable, right?)

Here are some of the pieces that I’m considering:

I’d really love to know how you’ve solved your garage storage problems.  Let me know if you agree that these are the best storage solutions for small garages.  Or any size garage.

Thanks for stopping by…

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Clever Uses for Shower Caddies

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I’m so mad at myself!

I just donated two perfectly good shower caddies that I didn’t need since I’ve replaced the showers in both bathrooms and there are shelves integrated into the walls.

kitchen caddySo today I see that House has posted nine clever uses for shower caddies that are pure genius.  Here are four of them.

For example, this clever kitchen helper was the brainchild of blogger Holly from Down to Earth Style.  She has a tutorial on how to convert it from a shower caddy into a useful kitchen storage piece.  Holly has this hanging on the side of her kitchen island which is quite brilliant!

Here’s a terrific idea if you have a small balcony…hang this little planter shelf on one of the walls.

wall planter

Or group two or three of them on a wall or fence.   You could have small pots of fresh herbs!

Also, perfect for air plants…I love air plants.  My house is a bit dark so finding a spot for plants with enough light is tricky.  Plus I do travel a bit and air plants need next to nothing care.

For more information on how to create this pretty shower caddy garden go to P&G Everyday.

ribbon caddyHere’s another clever transformation…and one that I fully intend to implement, myself!  My craft/gift wrap closet is not pretty.

I’m forever untangling ribbon that has managed to escape from the spool. This ribbon caddy is a good solution.  I’ll hang it on the inside of the door to the closet.

House Beautiful found the original on Charlotte Meyn’s website.  She’s a designer and her website is Sonoma Decorative Arts.  This is something she created for the San Francisco Designer Showhouse.

So, I’m thinking that you’ll be able to come up with other great hacks for shower caddies.  I sure do wish I had those two that I gave away.

On the other hand, since I donated them to a charity shop, I know someone who needs them will be pleased to find them.

What other home organizers could be repurposed into something else?  You could put wheels on the bottom of a drawer and use it for under-the-bed storage, for example.

If you’ve got a project or two that you’ve completed, please share it in the comments.   Thanks so much for stopping by.

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Apartment Therapy – The book – A Review

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Apartment Therapy – The Eight-Step Home Cure

Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan began his journey as an “apartment therapist” by helping a young film editor restyle his apartment after a painful break up with his girlfriend and she subsequently moved out.

Even though his apartment was very nice, he was miserable. The memories were painful and he hated it. He even moved his bed into the living room because he couldn’t bear to sleep in that room, anymore.

Gillingham-Ryan persuaded him to do a very deep cleaning, remove all of the personal effects and decor that she left behind and repaint the room and lighten it up.  It worked! He was ready to move on.

If you haven’t discovered Apartment Therapy, the blog, you’re in for a treat! It’s one of my favorite sites with a multitude of ideas for maximizing small spaces.

Well, Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan has written Apartment Therapy, the book! If you’re frustrated with your home and can’t figure out why then this is the book for you.

He suggests looking at our rooms in a new light.  Are you ready to make healthy changes…clearing out everything that you don’t need or really love.  Look at the flow…is it comfortable and easily navigable? Can you feel the energy and movement in the room?

There is a questionnaire to help determine your own personal taste and to determine the physical, emotional and energy flow issues.

This is the basis for the eight-step home cure and I can tell you that once you start, you’ll be motivated and eager to reach Step 8.

  1. Week One: Creating your Vision
  2. Week Two: Clearing the Path
  3. Week Three: The Landing Strip
  4. Week Four: Retail Therapy
  5. Week Five: Getting into the Thick of It
  6. Week Six: Light Therapy
  7. Week Seven: Sacred Space
  8. Week Eight: Throwing a Party!
Tiny kitchen

Tiny Kitchen Makeover

Each guided step helps you work efficiently and affordably toward creating a more comfortable home of your dreams.

There are floor plans. There are examples of how to turn any small space into a functional and beautiful area.

You will learn how to declutter, first of all.  And then you’ll learn how to keep it from becoming cluttered ever again.

You’ll learn how to get a handle on paperwork.  There’s a list that shows how long to keep paperwork; for example, tax returns should be kept permanently. Bank statements should be kept for seven years, etc.  It’s a handy list to have for reference on many levels.

You’ll learn how to work with color…and why some spaces should have cool colors and others should have warm tones. You’ll learn how to apply the 80/20 color rule.

If you need to call in professional help (and unless you’re an experienced DIYer, you probably will) you’ll learn how to choose the right professional.

You’ll learn how to choose lighting – what’s the best lighting for each area of your home and why.

This little reference book is invaluable for a multitude of reasons.  Check it out…you’ll thank me!  Be sure to let me know what your favorite lesson is and how it helped you solve a dilemma!

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Bar Carts are Hot!

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Call me old fashioned bar cartBar Carts – A New Idea for Home Decor

We’ve discussed the importance of multi-purpose furnishings for small spaces. There are multitudes of multi-purpose pieces but one of the hottest is the bar cart!

By the way, do you love this Call Me Old Fashioned poster?  I sure do…and each one is handmade!

The design is printed on premium, high quality, super smooth, heavyweight matte cardstock using professional grade printers and ink.

It will print and be shipped usually in two days…maybe sooner.

Call Me Old Fashioned Art Print, Bar Cart Art Print, Bar Wall Decor, Unframed Print, 8″x10″ Art Print

Bar carts/serving carts are perfect for almost every room in your home.

Obviously, the bar cart is meant to be..well, a bar cart! It will look lovely in your dining or living area but, more important, it’s excellent storage…especially if cupboard space is lacking. Plus it’s super easy to move wherever the party is happening.

Use one in the kitchen as a place to store baskets and serving pieces. The top can double as a countertop for rolling out cookie dough or whipping up a batch of muffins.

In a bedroom as a night stand! In an office area for whatever you need to have within reach.

Here are two of my favorites:

This wood and metal bar cart from Tribecca Home is rustic but elegant and easily fits in a contemporary or traditional room.

The top tray is removable and it has two locking wheels.   Plus, it boasts these custom features:

  • Poplar wood and black sand metal materials
  • Wine glass inserts, tray top, bottom storage, metal hardware pulls, two (2) locking wheels
  • Tray top depth: 2.86 inches Bottom storage depth: 5.86 inches

I love this cart!

This next beauty is a sophisticated piece that could double as an end table beside a chair. Pull it out to use as a cocktail serving cart.

It’s crafted from select solid woods with cherry veneers and finished with antique brass galleries at each end.

I must tell you that Amazon has dozens and dozens of Bar Carts for whatever your particular style is…contemporary, traditional, funky, rustic…you name it and I promise you’ll find just what you’re looking for to round out the decor in your small space.

If you’re an Amazon Prime member, shipping is fast and free!

Here’s a classy contemporary cart . It’s chrome with black tempered glass shelves.  Since it’s on wheels (most of them are) it could easily be wheeled onto your deck or patio for an outdoor party or barbecue.

There are a multitude of ways to use a bar cart…as a night stand, a coffee station, a plant stand, etc.  Check out these great photos and ideas in this new Apartment Therapy post:  7 Other Ways to Use a Bar Cart.


Do you have a bar cart or serving cart that you’re using for it’s traditional purpose or in a unique way? I’d love to see photos.

Please do comment and if you have a question, I’ll be happy to give you my best answer!

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A Small Bungalow Perfectly Restored

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A Small California Bungalow

Here’s a fabulous article from Houzz about a homeowner in Long Beach, California who truly made the most of his small 1919 bungalow.  Gotta hand it to those clever Californians…they do know how to make the most of what they’ve got!

You can view the slideshow by using the arrows on the pictures or click on THIS LINK and it’ll open a new page.


I especially love the kitchen…nothing is attached to the walls so the room can be reconfigured.  It also makes arranging the elements of the kitchen easier if the space is small.

Additionally, that front porch on this small bungalow is a bonus room…in California, especially, where the weather is mild all year round. But front porches are bonus extra living spaces no matter where they are.

It’s a perfect example of remodeling on a budget, too.  Had he not purchased a high end refrigerator, the entire remodel came to about $2000.  Repurposing items, shopping on Craigslist or at resale shops or flea markets is a smart move even if your budget is larger.

Purchasing multi-purpose furniture is also a smart move regardless of the budget or whether you’re shopping at traditional retail stores or via resale shops, etc. .  The end result is a unique space celebrating your own personal style!

Doesn’t get any better than that!

I’m continually tweaking my own small space. It’s what I do for fun! Do you have a remodel-on-a-budget that you’d like to share?

I’d love your comments and encourage you to post photos, too!


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Moving Into a Small Space?

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San Francisco Painted Ladies

San Francisco Painted Ladies

Are you moving to a Small Space? There are a few things to consider when you are moving into a small home whether or not you’re moving from a larger home or one that’s about the same size.

And let me say that all small spaces are not alike.  There are so many variables to consider.  Floor plans, for example, might be about the same size but totally different in layout.

It makes a difference where the windows and doors are located and whether or not it’s a loft space, open concept or separate rooms.

Checklist – 9 things you need to consider on your home search.

Are you planning to rent the property or purchase the property?  Some of the considerations will be the same but if you’re renting, these tips will make more sense.  If you’re buying, they’re still important considerations but you’ll be able to be more flexible.

When you’re looking at multiple apartments or homes for the first time:

  1. Carry your Camera with you and take pictures. Photos will give you a frame of reference because – trust me…when you get home at the end of the day, you’ll need a frame of reference! It’s a big decision so you’ll need to weigh all the pros and cons of each place.

Floor Plan Sketch2. Carry a tape measure with you (I always have one with me) so that you can measure each area…will your furniture fit?Also,

3. Also, do a quick sketch of the floor plan.  Where are the windows and the doors?

4. If you’re renting, ask if you can paint the walls or hang wallpaper?  If you’re buying, of course, you’ll just have to decide if that’s something that will need to be done.

5. Consider storage: What size are the closets? How much storage is in the kitchen…the bathroom? Is there a cupboard for your linens? Is there a coat closet near the front door?

6. Ask these questions, too: What is the countertop material…laminate or natural stone? What appliances are included? Is there a dishwasher? Where is the laundry area…in the apartment or on another floor? Are you allowed to install your own laundry appliances?  This is a consideration if you’re buying a condo, for example.

7. Consider what kind of lighting you’ll need.  Is there ceiling lighting or are there wall sconces already in place?   If space is going to be tight, consider purchasing wall sconces to hang in lieu of table lamps or floor lamps.

8. Check out the flooring:  Are the floors carpeted or are they hardwood or laminate…is there tile in the kitchen and bathrooms? Will you need area rugs?

9. Check the size of your current furnishings and refer to the photos you took of each place to see if there is a good fit.  Once you decide which space is right for you, you can feel confident that you’ve made a good decision.

Three Posts Edgerton Storage Bench

Edgerton Storage Bench from Wayfair

For small space furnishings, you can’t go wrong with either Zulily or Wayfair, two hugely popular online retailers.

William Accent Table from Zulily

William Accent Table from Zulily






They both offer free shipping and that’s huge if you’re ordering large pieces.


One more thing…Wayfair has an Idea Lounge with renovation ideas, DIY suggestions and all sorts of good information that will help maximize your new living quarters!

I hope you’ve found this post interesting and useful and if so, I’d appreciate your sharing on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest & Google+.

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5 Tips for Entertaining in Small Spaces

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Champagne Brunch

A Holiday Champagne Brunch is Festive.

Today, I thought I’d write about some easy ways to entertain regardless of the size of your home.

Small apartments or homes are generally cozy, homey spaces and it’s a cinch to decorate for whatever occasion you’re choosing for your gathering…Halloween, Christmas, Thanksgiving, Hannukah, Kwanza or New Year’s Eve.

Perhaps you’re hosting a Super Bowl or World Series party.  Maybe it’s a wedding shower or graduation celebration.

Here are five tips for entertaining in small spaces that will work no matter what the occasion but especially for holiday parties.

1. Have Two Smaller Gatherings

There are those who think that if you’re going to plan a party, you might as well entertain as many guests as possible…in other words, get it all over at one time.

I, on the other hand, feel much more comfortable with a smaller guest list.  I’d rather have two small get-togethers rather than one large one.

Here’s the thing…a smaller gathering is more relaxed. It’s less hectic. You probably won’t need extra dishes or glassware or seating. If you want to have a sit-down dinner or a buffet, it’ll be your choice.

You can spend quality time with each guest which makes them feel extra special.  It’s more intimate.

If you prepare most everything in advance you can use the very same menu for the second gathering and nobody will be the wiser.

There’s less to clean up after everyone leaves.

2. Don’t have an Open Bar.

<center>Pomegranate Champagne Punch</center>

Pomegranate Champagne Punch

Plan to have a signature cocktail or punch, wine, beer and something non-alcoholic.

First of all, if you offer a huge open bar, it’s going to cost the earth!  Not to mention you’ll have to have someone as bartender…either volunteer guests on shifts (I’ve been to parties where I’ve served my turn as bartender) OR you’ll need to hire someone.

If you control the choices it will be less confusing for everyone…you and the guests. And nobody will care, I promise.

There are many delicious beverage recipes including this Pomegranate Champagne Punch. This could be non-alcoholic, as well.

Martha Stewart shares recipes for 14 perfect beverages for entertaining. Some of them you’ll be familiar with but others might be just the unique recipe that you can claim as your signature Party beverage!

 3. Prepare Easy-to-Serve Food

First of all, I always have small bowls of nuts and candy here and there with a spoon in each bowl so guests can just scoop a handful of snacks into the palm of their hands.  Just don’t have so much that they fill up on the nibbles.

A beautiful food presentation can be part of the decor and makes it simple for guests to help themselves so a buffet is a perfectly sensible way to present the food.

Unless you are having a sit-down dinner, hands-free offerings will be so welcome.  A small plate that can be refilled and decorative party pics but unless your guests have places to perch, no forks, knives, etc.

Browse through these 10 buffet ideas from a variety of bloggers.

Holiday Buffet Table

Holiday Buffet Table

This photo illustrates one of the most clever ideas I’ve seen in a long time…Display the dishes on a runner with a “blackboard” surface and then write the name of each treat!

Serve food that’s not messy and that is easy to eat with either fingers or cocktail pics.

Some suggestions are eggrolls, canapé trays of meats and cheeses with bite size pieces of fruit and vegetables.

Small sandwiches or hand pies are good choices, too, as well as stuffed mushrooms and crostini.

Domino Tacos

Chipotle Chicken Tacos

Domino Margaritas


Here are a just two of the excellent suggestions from Domino for Bite Size Eats and Cocktail Pairings

They look as beautiful as they are sure to taste!  Read the article for the rest of their party snack recipes.

4. Arrange your furnishings to maximize your space.

Rearrange larger furnishings by moving them to the perimeter of the room or into another room altogether. If you are having a sit-down dinner for just a few, ideally you’ll be able to seat your guests all at one table.

table for dinnerIf that won’t suffice, setting two or three smaller tables with cloths and centerpieces will do just fine. Card tables work great for this.

Say you’re having a dinner for eight…you’d just need two card tables or your regular dining table and one other.  Dress them with matching tablecloths, candles & flowers and you’re all set.

If you’re serving buffet-style your guests will be standing and chatting with each other so you’ll need fewer chairs.

5. Give each guest a small gift or keepsake when the party is over.

Christmas OrnamentDepending upon the occasion, you can easily make or find small keepsakes that will remind your guests of the fun they had at your party.

Some suggestions: Have small gift bags with homemade candy or spiced nuts or cookies.

If it’s a winter get-together, send each guest home with a Christmas (or other Holiday) ornament.  Gingerbread boys or girl cookies with each guest’s name written in icing and wrapped in cellophane and tied with a bow is a thoughtful gift.

For Halloween or Thanksgiving think about tiny gourds or ornamental pumpkins, again personalized with each guest’s name.

I hope you remember to take candid photos as the party progresses.  Be sure to include each guest in at least one photo.  It would be extra special if you sent each guest a copy a week or so afterwards.

The Ultimate Appetizers BookIf you’d like to browse for just the perfect offerings, you’ll enjoy  The Ultimate Appetizers Book: More than 450 No-Fuss Nibbles and Drinks, Plus Simple Party PlanningTips (Better Homes and Gardens Ultimate).

It’s a Better Homes and Gardens book and I’ve never had a bad recipe from any BH&G cookbook!

I’d love to read your comments or suggestions and if you’ve enjoyed this post, please share it, tweet it and/or pin it!

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