7 Design Tips to Make Your Small Space Perfect for Entertaining

Like working in the office, entertaining at home seems like a distant memory. But for those of us who like to entertain, it seems we cannot wait enough for restrictions to be lifted. There’s no better time than this interlude to start thinking about how to create a home suited for hosting guests; after all, this pandemic’s not going to last forever. And good news, small space folks—it seems intimate gatherings are now in.

No need to lament your lack of real estate, here’s how to make your home perfect for entertaining even without a big space.

1. Have multipurpose built-ins

Small space woes are immediately always made better because of multipurpose things, so go for versatile built-ins that do more than one job. Built-ins dedicated to just entertaining can be a waste of space, since you aren’t hosting guests 24/7.

A workstation by day, a home bar by night.

Design: Uno Interior

This concrete TV console doubles up as extra seating for guests.

Design: Provolk Architects

A dining table that functions also as a pool table after meals.

Design: Insight.Out Studio

2. Conceal, hide and stash away

When there’s limited square footage, it’s often difficult to pack everything you need in that small space while keep things functional and looking chic. A great way to have your cake and eat it too is to conceal your entertaining essentials and only bringing them up when necessary. This also helps to free up your space for day-to-day living.

Part of the TV console can be folded down to form an extra dining table.

Design: Jesigns Interior Design

Need a spare bed for overnight guests, but don’t have a spare bedroom to spare? Do up a Murphy bed in the living room.

Design: Habit

A coffee table made for casual gatherings can be stowed away into the raised platform in the living room.

Design: Dots ‘n’ Tots Interior Design

A home bar is stashed away in the confines of the TV console, pulled out whenever the homeowner’s hosting over his drinking buddies.

Design: Space Factor

3. Use moveable furniture

It’s good idea to keep your layout open and flexible if you are planning to entertain often. Use moveable furniture e.g. modular furniture, furniture with wheels or ones that are light enough to carry around, so you can always change things around depending on who’s coming over and what your dinner party theme is.

A layout set up for game night with friends will look very different from a layout for Sunday dinners with the extended family. Plus, having a readily reconfigurable space will mean you can always quickly adapt your space during the get-together to accommodate the next fun thing on your party to-do list!

A curved built-in unit softens the edges and lines in this resale flat made for entertaining. Furnishings within this zone can be moved around depending on what’s the agenda for the day.

Design: Metre Architects

This kitchen island is fitted with wheels so that it can be moved around the home, opening it up as a convenient buffet table or an extra prep zone.

Design: The 80’s Studio

A modular sofa lets you set up your own configurations.

Design: Habit

4. Plan your lighting properly

Nothing worse than a party with bright white lights that have your home looking like a hospital. Plan for a layered lighting scheme for the entertaining zones in your home. This will include a general, ambient that will light up your entire space, task lights that focus on particular areas of the room, and accent lights for that added sense of drama and design flair.

With small spaces, things can get a bit trickier since you also need to account for limited floor estate. As such, you may want to skip the floor and table lamps all together. Take advantage of vertical spaces with wall sconces, which are great for task or accent lights. Hidden LED strips (situated underneath a floating console for instance) also make for great mood boosters. For ambient lighting, go with an eye-catching ceiling light if you have enough height or stick with recessed lights.

Also, consider dimmers that will allow you to switch between warm and white lights for a more multipurpose use of the space.

Set the right mood with concealed lighting.

Design: KURO + KAGI

This kitchen features a layered lighting scheme, with recessed lights and pendants providing ambient light, under-cabinet lighting for tasks and concealed lighting as accents.

Design: ARK-hitecture

5. Choose easy-to-maintain and easy-to-clean materials

When the party has wind down and all your guests have left, you are left with the reality of cleaning up. This is why it’s so important to go with materials (for surfaces and furnishings) that are easy to clean and maintain.

For flooring, we would recommend large-format tiles, which are hardier than materials like vinyl and can take knocks and scratches better. Also large format because fewer grout. For countertops, sintered stone or Kompacplus are good options since they are really hard to stain so no need to worry about wine spills.

If you entertain a whole lot, we wouldn’t recommend going for very expensive furnishings since it will make things too precious to touch. This would not only make your guests uncomfortable but you will also feel really stressed out as a host. Leather or fabric sofa are both pretty easy to maintain, although get removable covers for the latter so you can throw them into the washer when needed. For rugs and carpets, get ones made from synthetic fabrics like nylon or polyester that allow you to wipe up spills easily.

With textiles like rugs, carpets and cushions, synthetic is cheaper and easier to maintain than ones made from natural fibres.

Design: Wolf Woof

Setting out the buffet spread on the kitchen counters? Make sure you go with a stain-resistant material like Kompacplus.

Design: Key Concept

6. Create zones without walls

Space may be such a squeeze that sometimes you get different parts of the home in the same area, which can be problematic if you have people over. You may not want them hanging around your bed for example. Some of us also don’t like having people hovering around as we prep food in the kitchen. Rather than build up walls to zone up the different areas of our small home, go for dividers that are less permanent and take up less space.

Roller shades and a slightly raised platform divide the living room from the bedroom.

Design: Space Atelier

Curtains hide away the kitchen (and the mess!) from the living area.

Design: Arkhilite

7. Elevate the guest bathroom

If you can’t quite pack a punch in design features elsewhere because of a lack of space, the bathroom’s a good place to make things extra special. It’s a great way to leave a good impression, something they will remember your home by, without sacrificing too much square footage.

Have an extra bathroom? Turn it into a powder room so you can make a big visual impact with wallpaper

Design: House of Chais

A vintage sink steals the show in this Mid-century style apartment.

Design: Happe Design Atelier

A black-and-white bathroom is clad in the same chic tiles for the walls and flooring.

Design: Fuse Concept

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