Christmas Day can be a crazy and chaotic time.
This is particularly the case if you’re hosting family and friends for the big day.
And it’s even more of an issue if you have limited space at your disposal.
If hosting this year feels a little daunting due to lack of space, there are a number of nifty things you can do to make a room feel, well, roomier.
From clever dining table tricks to storage solutions, Jen Nash, a design excellence manager at Magnet has shared a few helpful tips to keep in mind.
Prepare food in advance
Take the stress out of limited counter space by prepping as much of your Christmas dinner as you can in advance.
Lots of the star players of a Christmas dinner can be prepped or even made the day before, with certain things like sauces and desserts which can be made even earlier.
Jen says: ‘By prepping food in advance, it will not only minimise the amount you have to do on the day, but it will reduce the stress of cooking multiple dishes at once in a small space. Also, don’t hesitate in asking guests to bring dishes – it can make the day more of a group celebration where everyone contributes.’
Remove any clutter
Small spaces can easily get cluttered and overcrowded so, before your guests arrive, remove anything you definitely won’t need and pop it in another room or in storage.
Jen explains: ‘In the kitchen, remove any appliances, such as air fryers and coffee machines that are perhaps not needed on the day. This will maximise counter space for your dinner prep and make you feel a lot more organised.
‘It’s also important to remove clutter that will impact your guests’ experience. Clear flat surfaces and tables of any unnecessary decor and try to keep things functional to allow guests ample room to rest drinks and plates on.’
Try diagonal dining
Fitting a large group around a dining room table can be challenging at the best of times, but throw in a Christmas dinner on the table and space is even more squeezed.
Thankfully, there are lots of clever layout strategies to maximise spice.
Jen says: ‘Rearranging furniture and placing it at the perimeter of the room will open up a central space where the dining table and chairs can go.
‘You may want to consider diagonal dining – positioning your table at an angle to run diagonally across the room.
‘This clever trick maximises floor space and allows for more seating.’’
Consider informal dining
You can still enjoy a delicious Christmas dinner without gathering around a table – and you might even find the experience more fun.
‘If space is really tight and perhaps you don’t have a table, don’t feel the pressure to have a formal dining set up,’ says Jen.
‘An informal dining experience can be just as special and in a small space, it can feel more cosy and intimate. Set up food in a buffet style, using the kitchen countertops as a serving surface and then dot chairs around the space where guests can sit.’
Or why not get creative with what you can use with chairs around the table – perhaps a dressing table chair or a piano bench will do the job nicely.
Manage foot traffic
People tend to congregate around the same spot, but in a small space this turns into gridlock.
However, by scattering a few serving areas throughout a small home, you’ll keep foot traffic moving and make your small space seem less crowded.
Jen says it’s all about not putting everything in one spot.
She explains; ‘For example, put your bar or drinks station on a small table in one corner of the room, your meal on the main table and the dessert in the kitchen. This allows for better flow, and guests won’t all congregate in one spot.
‘Another great tip to minimise guests from congregating around the bar, and to save money, is to serve a “signature drink” unique to you, or pre-made drinks you know your guests love.
‘Put it in pitchers next to a stack of glasses and guests can quickly refill rather than gathering around the bar area and spending lots of time making drinks.’
Keep table decor simple
Strip back on those centrepieces if you’re limited for space.
Jen says, ‘Instead, experiment with a more laid back look with decor such as a collection of candles at varying heights. They take up little space and will still create an ambient dining experience.’
Clean as you go
The clean-up isn’t the part of Christmas that anyone looks forward to, but do it properly, and you could free up a lot of room.
Jen says: ‘An obvious, and often disregarded step is to clean as you go – so you’re not left with mountains of pots and pans.
‘After the meal, if your sink is at capacity, keep a large Tupperware of hot soapy water on the countertop for soaking dishes and loosening stuck-on leftovers. That way when it comes to cleaning them, it takes much less time.’’
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