Simple Tips to Get Ready for a Small Dinner Party

When I moved into my studio apartment in June, it took several weeks to settle in and make the space feel like me.

Normally, this is when my perfectionist tendencies would have kicked in at full force. In the past, I would have had everything unpacked and perfectly decorated on the first day (which means staying up for 24-hours straight feeling completely stressed out of my mind). I’m used to working 14-16 hour days producing television shows where the mentality was “anything to get the job done”.

But this time, I went into building my new space with a different approach. This is my first time living on my own without roommates, and this space is just for me - a simple, calm, safe haven where I can be myself.

With my new mindset, there was nothing to prove. Instead of feeling like my apartment is an extension of my success or putting pressure on myself to impress others, I set the intention that this studio will be an extension of my own values and personality.

By pacing myself, I built a foundation for decorating my space slowly and carefully through utilizing my own vision to create the home I’ve always wanted. In 350 sq. ft, I’ve learned how to simplify by only bringing in the essential things that I really need. Well, quite literally, there isn’t room for anything else.

For the first time, I don’t have excess of any “stuff.” This makes living comfortably feel more simple when it doesn’t need to be complicated.

In my tiny kitchen, I only have 2 cabinets for pantry storage, the world’s smallest sink, and appliances that are made for small spaces. So I quickly learned how to make the most out of the little area I had to utilize. I only have a few pots and pans instead of a full set. My dishes and serving ware are displayed in open shelving so it’s easy to access. My flatware is stored in glass jars instead of a drawer (which I don’t have), and there is basically a full bar on top of my fridge.

Having friends over for dinner parties has been one of the most rewarding ways to enjoy my home. Living in a small space makes it that much easier to get ready for hosting guests.

Here are the first gatherings that I hosted in my backyard, and some tips on how to get ready for a small dinner party - regardless of size - so you’re always ready to host close friends.

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1. String lights.

This is still on my list since I have no idea how to string lights myself. But there’s nothing more inviting than sitting under string lights on a warm summer night gathered around friends.

2. Empty trash cans.

When I’m getting ready to have people over, I empty all of the trash cans before they arrive. It makes the space look cleaner with attention to detail.

3. Eucalyptus napkins.

I have a love affair with linen napkins. They’re so simple and elegant and bring life into any table scape. It only took me about 5 minutes to cut some eucalyptus branches and tie them with twine to make this simple place setting.

4. Clean your mirrors.

My apartment gets dusty so easily. I feel like I’m constantly dusting to keep my white counters and surfaces clean. But when I’m having company - even if I don’t have time to dust everything that day - I make a point to do a quick wipe down of mirrors. That way, when my guests wash their hands, they can actually see their beautiful faces in the mirror.

5. Replace the toilet paper.

A subtle detail that I’ve noticed instantly makes your place look more inviting. I always want to avoid that invasive feeling when you run out of toilet paper at a party and you have to awkwardly dig through someone’s drawers and cabinets to replace it. Ya know how that goes?

6. Open the windows.

When it’s nice enough on summer nights, I like to have all of my windows wide open so the air circulates. The space instantly feels more open and carefree. My studio doesn’t have AC, so a cool breeze is always welcome!

7. Lavender towels.

So I only do this when I’ve planned enough time in advance, but I love to give my guests the whole “experience” when they come over. I soak wash cloths in lavender oil, roll them up and put them in the freezer. Right before my guests arrive, I place them on a tray in my bathroom with a woven basket underneath.

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