Party Like It's 2016: Small space, big party

Elizabeth Weinstein, Columbus Alive contributor

A shortage of ample square footage doesn't mean you can't have your #squad over for a killer holiday party. Brooke Kinsey, partner and executive chef at Bleu & Fig, a full-service boutique catering and event planning company in Clintonville, offered the following advice on how to entertain in small living spaces.

Think small. As in small bites.

Opt for a variety of "small bites with bold flavors," and to present them on smaller platters so that they are easy to replenish. A mixture of appetizers that can be eaten sans flatware is ideal for entertaining in a small space.

Create food and drink stations.

Before guests set foot in your home, "think about the flow of the space," Kinsey said. Food should be served at several strategically placed "stations," because people tend to hang out wherever the food is, and you want to avoid bottleneck traffic. To accomplish this, place food on coffee tables and butler trays, as well as on the counter or dining room table.

Make the most of the space you have.

Push furniture against the walls and utilize empty spaces like the sink, which you can fill with ice and stock with bottles of beer, wine and water. Invest in a drop-leaf table that can expand when necessary, and have a few big, comfy floor pillows for extra seating. If you have a backyard, make use of it - even in winter - because what's better than drinking around a fire pit on a moderate December evening?

Ditch the full bar.

"There's no need to pull out a full bar at all. It takes up space and a lot of times, it's not really utilized," Kinsey said. Assign each guest a glass at the beginning of the night (and label it) to avoid a pile-up of abandoned glasses later on. In the same vein, Kinsey recommends using high-end, disposable,recyclable pressed palm plates to prevent clutter.

Set the mood.

Dim the lighting and accessorize with candles. Good mood lighting improves everything in a space, from the furniture to the people, and makes a party more inviting. The same goes for the soundtrack. By all means, show off your vintage vinyl collection, but keep the volume at conversation-friendly level.