When you first start inviting people over to your new place for a few hours of entertainment, it’s exciting! Maybe you wanted to show off your home or host a meal or a party.

But somehow, you’ve found yourself in the predicament of too many people, not enough apartment space.

Yes, entertaining in a small home has a few quirks. Like seating arrangements and parking, some of them need to be worked out before the guests arrive.

As you’re planning your event, no matter how big or small, use these tips to help you entertain guests in an apartment environment.

1. Do a Walk-Through

Pretend like you’re a guest who has never been in your house before. Starting with finding the place and knowing where to park, walk through each step they’re likely to make.

Is your apartment hallway clean and safe? It may not be your job to do this. But if you’re trying to impress your guests, you’ll want to straighten up out there anyway. A wreath or doormat are friendly ways to make a good first impact.

Where will they put their shoes, purses, or jackets? Have a set up near the door or a safe place for them to store these items.

Keep walking through your apartment this way until “your guests” are seated and relaxed.

If there are any special instructions you’ve noticed they’ll need to know, send out a text or add it to the invite. As an example, something like where to park or warnings about broken steps should be given out at least a day before the event.

2. Plan for Seating Arrangements

Speaking of seating your guests, in most apartments, sitting space is limited. Once you have a headcount, you can begin to figure out your furniture options.

If you live by yourself, this part is easy. You can rearrange the furniture you have, borrow a few chairs, or rent some from a party store.

But if you have roommates, you’ll need to get their input before you start shoving things around. It’s a way to show them that you respect their thoughts and feelings.

You might also want to consider inviting them to the party to avoid offending them. You’re going to need them on board one way or the other since you can’t nicely kick them out of their own place while you have company.

When you run out of the standard seating options and still have too many guests, get creative! An ottoman, a sturdy coffee table, or a bench can be repurposed for a few hours.

Adults should be able to eat off a plate placed on their laps. If the dining issue is a concern for you, though, TV trays are inexpensive and found at most department stores. Even better, they don’t take up much space, so you can keep them around for future guests.

3. Create a (Flexible) Agenda

You want your get-together to be memorable, but not in a bad way. If all your guests are standing around like wallflowers and not interacting, they’re not going to have fun.

On the other extreme, you don’t want to plan an agenda so scripted and detailed that any little wrench in the schedule ruins it.

The Optimal Agenda

The trick is to plan a natural, go-with-the-flow-but-help-it-along itinerary. While you’re waiting for all your attendees to arrive, what are your early guests doing? Are there appetizers and ice-breaking activities?

Think about what you want to make sure happens and how long you have to get it all done. For example, at a baby shower or birthday party, you might have food, games, gifts, and cake.

In your agenda, set these apart at timed intervals and stick to the schedule as much as possible. But if everyone is having a good time with one task, there’s no need to rush into the next.

As the host, though, if you see an uncomfortable lull of boredom, you have another activity to move ahead with.

Without an agenda to use, you’re basically expecting a group of people to entertain themselves. This can go well, or it can end up in some form of worst-case scenario disaster.

Why take the chance? Put your flexible itinerary together before the party. If you need it, you have it. If not, that’s great, too!


Even if you’re an accomplished house party-thrower, it’s a different ballgame when you’re hosting an event in an apartment. The parking, space, seating, and more all have to be taken into account before your guests show up.

Use this short guide to help you prepare your home for your next event.