Read the book and email me when you pick your party date! Join these 12 others from May!

How to Host a Party in a Small Apartment

Last updated: March 27, 2024

Noah wondered: How can I host an apartment party in my small space?

He lives in a 475 square foot studio apartment in a big skyscraper building in Chicago and had 28 guests over for his party!

In this article, you’ll see how you can hosted a cocktail party for your friends and colleagues inside a small apartment.

You should do these things to plan a party in a small home:

  • Designate a place for coats and bags
  • Use welcome signs
  • Remove or consolidate chairs to create more space
  • Remove coffee table(s) to create more space
  • Collect RSVPs
  • Buy supplies one week in advance
  • Send reminder messages

Keep reading for more information on all of those, plus see photos and videos from Noah’s party and a floor plan of his tiny apartment layout.

Why you should trust this article: My name is Nick Gray and I’ve helped over 50 people learn how to host house parties and apartment parties. I have a simple, easy method to help you host an awesome event just like Noah did.

Small Apartment Party: How to Do It

Hosting a party in a small apartment might sound difficult. Perhaps you’re worried that you don’t have enough space, or that people will be too crowded.

But Noah did it (with a lot of success!) and so can you.

Watch this video to hear from Noah about how his party went and what he learned.

As a high-level overview, here’s what you should do:

Create More Space

You can consolidate chairs or remove them from your common areas to create more space. Consider removing your coffee table, too, and placing it on the bed or in another room.

I’ve found that sitting down is kryptonite to a successful event in a small apartment. When people sit down, it makes it harder to start new conversations. Sitting down lowers the energy of the room. So don’t worry about removing chairs!

Plan in advance

First, you want to plan your party at least a few weeks in advance (the party runway!).

When I talk about planning, I’m focused on helping you fill up your guest list to ensure you have a minimum of 15 attendees. I’ve found that having 15-20 people at a party is the perfect number of attendees.

Warning: Even in a small home or apartment, you want to have a minimum of 15 people! Anything less than 15 will feel dull and you won’t reach a critical mass for proper party energy.

Start by asking if your core group of friends is available on a specific date. You can send them a text message party invitation like this:

Hi! I’m thinking of hosting a party at my apartment on Wednesday, June 7th from 7-9PM. If I do it, would you come?

Collect RSVPs

Once you get three yes replies from your core group, make an RSVP page and start inviting a wider audience, which I call “great guests.” I suggest using one of these platforms.

Keep reading to see the RSVP that Noah used for his apartment party.

Noah and his friends in his first apartment party
Noah, far right corner, and all of his friends in a group selfie at his first cocktail party.

Buy supplies

You should purchase name tags, plastic cups (or alternate options), Sharpie markers, and other supplies at least 1 week in advance.

I always recommend buying a few extra supplies, even for a small party, so that you are well-prepared and to minimize stress. That could include a total of:

  • 30 name tags
  • 30 plastic cups
  • 3 markers, to write names on name tags and cups
  • 2-4 bottles of wine, depending on your friend group and their preferences
  • 1-3 bottles of liquor, again depending on preference
  • non-alcoholic beverages, such as: soda, diet soda, and juice
  • Water and seltzer, at least 2 for each attendee
  • Hard seltzer, depending on preference

This article is a detailed reference for exactly what to buy for a small party: List of Supplies.

Send reminder messages

Send three reminder messages leading up to the party. You can see info and templates of party reminder messages here.

Messages should be sent one week out, three days out, and the morning of your party. Guest bios are helpful to increase your attendance rate. Include a short bit of information about half or more of your guests.

Designated Place for Coats and Bags

Since your guests will bring a few things with them, you should have a little area of your apartment designated for their coats and bags.

It can be as simple as a closet or a chair in the corner. If people will hang up their coats or jackets, plan to have enough hangers or hooks available for them.

Welcome and Informational Party Signs

Putting out simple party welcome signs in strategic places will help your guests find your front door. It can also create a more welcoming environment as they enter the party.

The signs that I always make for my parties are:

  • Welcome! Buzz up to apartment 4D
  • Turn right and keep going
  • Trash
  • Bathroom

Apartment Floor Plan

Here’s the layout of Noah’s 475-square-foot apartment where he hosted his party:

Noah's apartment floor plan where he hosted his first cocktail apartment party
Layout of Noah’s tiny apartment for his party

During the party, Noah cleared out the coffee table from the Living / Dining room so there would be more space for people to congregate. He didn’t have anywhere easy to put this, so he just turned it upside down and placed it on his bed inside his bedroom.

Video Tour: Small Apartment Party

See this video that Noah filmed walking around his apartment during the party:

What worked well?

Here are things that Noah said worked really well at his apartment party:

  • Every single one of the people who said “Yes” on the RSVP attended.
  • Moving the coffee table out of the living room, and putting it onto my bed (upside down). This helped to make more space.
  • Welcome signs! Noah followed the book’s advice to help make signs that gave visitors important information as they exited the elevator to find his apartment.
  • Candle in the bathroom! “This felt really nice and added a good atmosphere to my home.”
  • It was pretty crowded the entire time: we had 18 people. That’s the most people I have had inside my apartment at one time.

Noah’s Party Invitation

This is a screenshot of the actual invitation that Noah used to invite people to his party and collect the RSVPs. You can click to enlarge it if you want to borrow some of the copy that he used.

noah mixily

Conclusion

Here’s what Noah said about the experience:

No apartment is ever perfect, and even if that was an attainable goal, people are not coming for the apartment, they are coming for the human connection with friends old and new alike.

So, on March 15, 2022, I hosted my first cocktail party in a 475 sq ft. apartment. I had serious apprehensions about the space, but Nick promised me that it would work. I trusted him, and it turned out better than I could have imagined, with 19 people in attendance. For my next party, I am expecting 30!

I just wanted to say thank you so much to Nick for all your help over the last few weeks leading up to my first party. Your book is fantastic, and your 1:1 coaching on email made it even better. I really appreciate the impact this meaningful work has had on my life. I’m ready to schedule my next party and looking forward to continuing to hone my party skills and pay it forward to others!

Remember to do these things for your party to help make it a success:

  • Create more space by removing chairs
  • Create even more space by removing or hiding a table
  • Designate a place for coats and bags
  • Collect RSVPs
  • Buy supplies one week in advance
  • Send reminder messages
  • Use welcome signs

For more advice about hosting a party, check out my book The 2-Hour Cocktail Party for a step-by-step guide on how to make your party a success.

Leave a comment on this article here.

About the author

Nick Gray is the author of The 2-Hour Cocktail Party. He’s been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and in a popular TEDx talk. He sold his last company Museum Hack in 2019. Today he’s an expert on networking events, small parties, and creating relationships. Read more about Nick Gray here.

What you should do next...

1. Subscribe to my free Friends Newsletter.
You'll get exclusive life hacks, business research, top tech gadgets and see new productivity tips. See why 12,000 people say it is one of their favorite emails.

2. Get your 2-page Party Checklist.
With over 19 things you can do right now to improve your next party. Plus an Executive Summary of the key lessons inside my book. Get the PDF now.

3. Buy The 2-Hour Cocktail Party on Amazon or Audible.
Look at the reviews: 300+ people can't be wrong. This is my book that I've worked on for the past 5 years and hosted hundreds of events with. It is the single-best resource that is PACKED with tactical tips and the exact scripts I use.

Leave a Comment