Maximizing Tiny Spaces

Maximizing Tiny Spaces

A reader commented today that her place is too small for hosting parties. People often mention this, especially in San Francisco with our high rents. To them I say, “Ha, I don’t think so!” Rob and I lived for three years in a tiny, tiny apartment in San Luis Obispo. It was a shotgun style farm house, with four 100 square foot rooms linked together. I loved this house, even though it was minuscule, and was coincidentally reminiscing about it earlier today. Some of the best parties we’ve ever hosted were held in that itty-bitty living room.

Luckily, Rob took a series of photos of the house (with a fisheye lens because the rooms were too small to photograph even with him pressed against the opposite wall) when it was scrubbed for a dinner party one day. I love looking back on these pics of our “first apartment.” The front door open to a 10×10 living room which doubled as a dining room with a folding table on the other side:

The living room led directly to a 10×10 bedroom with a impossibly small closet:

And the bedroom led to the kitchen:

Off the kitchen was a bathroom and an even tinier sun porch that we used as an office. The trick we found was to buy lots of tiny furniture so each room would look perfectly to scale for a normal sized house. And when entertaining, to invite enough people to fill the room and make it really fun. This photos is from our 2004 Sore Losers Inauguration Ball that had over 16 guests:

Other tips include only owning multi-functional furniture, like tables that fold or entertainment centers that roll. Tuck in a lot of small chairs wherever you can, they add character and can be used for all kinds of parties. And always make use of every resource you have available. Our house had a wrap-around porch and huge lawn that we used for parties that wouldn’t fit inside. I love our current apartment in Duboce Triangle, and it is certainly a lot larger, but this old farm house will always have a special place in my heart.

Have you hosted parties in a tiny space? Share your tips and memories in the comments section below. (Jean, I know you have tips to share about hosting pumpkin carving for eight in your studio apartment)

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There are 3 comments for this article
  1. MissScientistSF at 2:36 pm

    I just had 11 people for dinner last night too. You can definitely entertain in tiny houses.. just have good furniture and even better friends! I think hosting in tiny places often makes it less formal and therefore more fun!

  2. love.boxes at 7:48 pm

    Our first place was around 400 square feet and we didn’t do a lot of entertaining. But, I loved to have my sister and her then fiance over (now husband) and I did host several bridal showers for friends with 10 or more people. I agree with Emily about the small scale furniture, that is really the key. And, in our current place, we still use a lot of it. We only got rid of a couple pieces that were just too small scale wise for our current place. I also like your wood floor, they make it so much easier to entertain. I have white carpet and that is more daunting.