What's a girl to do when she wants to entertain 12 dinner guests in a 500 square foot area?
Panic...just for a little while, but then pull yourself together and tackle my list of "Tips On Creating An Inviting Dining Area Out of a (really cute) Shoebox"
1. Redecorate. It's moving day. The most important piece of furniture is the dining table. Do whatever you can to have enough comfortable seating. That means clearing all else. Move the couch, coffee table, end tables, area rug, books, etc. Shove it in your bedroom and lock the door. Don't look at that room until all guests have left. Scary.
Pull up every chair and bench you have in your home. Mix-and-match is fun. Throw colorful blankets on a few chairs and faux sheepskin over the bench. Alternate stemware and glasses; no need to match here either, BUT splurge on new table linens.
Create additional gathering areas around the dining table, or in a corner, to allow your guests to stretch out and carry on great conversation. A must for me is a small seating area that could include a love seat and ottoman with a very stocked cocktail bar. Your bar can be made out of a desk, hutch, cart or counter space.
2. Set the Menu. Make it simple and cook ahead. If you have an oven, use it to avoid a messy stovetop. I always write out my menu on a post-it so I don't forget to serve anything. Everyone makes fun of me for doing this, but it works for me ;)
3. Coat Check. Have plenty of hooks near the door.
4. Ambience and Music. Dim the lights. Set at least a dozen tea lights around the room. The type of music is a personal preference. I usually start with a bit of Italian and French jazz then move on to disco as the drinks keep flowing.
5. Welcome Cocktail. Make them delicious... and strong...to get the party started.
6. Guest List.
Make sure you invite those you love, who could have fun...in a shoebox (a really cute one ;).