I think you will really like today’s post, especially if you live in a small space or are planning to downsize to a smaller space. The article I’m sharing today hit’s on two key points, both of which I have personally experienced after downsizing from a large house to a small apartment. Point one is you don’t need to be embarrassed to live in a small space, and point two is you can still entertain even if you live in a small home.
The title of the article is a little misleading, as it’s more about the social aspects of living in a small home rather than the happiness aspect. Although in this case, a part of the happiness has to do with being social, so it does relate to happiness also.
Rachel Walder discusses her feelings about her small one-bedroom flat in London. This statement from the article caught my attention right away:
But until recently I still had a kind of embarrassment about it, and specifically, feeling that I couldn’t entertain here, or hold parties, or really have more than one or two people visit at a time.
I experienced the feeling of embarrassment first hand. Not specifically due to not being able to entertain, but because in the US, when you live in an apartment people automatically assume you don’t have enough money to buy a house. The same holds true if you own a small house, people assume you aren’t successful enough to buy a big house. Housing is very much a symbol of status, and even if you opt out of that idea on a personal level, society as a whole still holds onto that perception.
Entertaining is one reason people often list as a reason for a bigger house. They want an extra bedroom for guests to stay in when they visit. They want a huge kitchen for cooking party sized meals. They want a large dining room and dining room table to fit large numbers of guests as they sit down for a fancy meal.
The reality is most of these events rarely happen. Gatherings at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and maybe some other random occasion once or twice during the year. Often these gatherings aren’t even at your home every year. In our family, the gatherings move around depending on who decides to host them.
Rachel discovered something interesting. Instead of hosting large gatherings, she took a more minimal approach and invited four guests to a dinner party. During her first trial of this, she wanted to test out some new Thai recipes, and dubbed her dinner party The Tiniest Thai. I think this is an awesome idea. I imagine the conversation is much better when you don’t have to float between different groups of people. With a small group you can generate deeper and more meaningful conversation.
I want to throw this thought into the mix as well. I really like the idea of hosting a smaller intimate party, but I want you to know that you can host larger parties in a small space as well. They tend to be more casual as you don’t have space for a huge table, and instead of table seating everyone finds a spot wherever there is space available – couch, counter, kitchen, patio. Here are links to two posts that I wrote about hosting our 15 family members for Thanksgiving in our apartment. Thanksgiving in a small apartment and Thanksgiving success in a small apartment.
I’m going to end with this quote from the Rachel’s article that highlights how to use minimalism to enhance the small space.
Minimalism in a small space is key to making it look elegant, and it’s all about creating an atmosphere that involves more of the senses than just sight so I have candles burning, fresh flowers, some lemongrass oil in the diffuser and chose the music to have playing.
Have you entertained in a small space? I’d love to hear your stories in our comment section below.