A close up image of an indoor plant, a pot and a painting

I once lived in a very small apartment. Small might be an understatement. There was a front room that served as a kitchen/living room, a tiny bedroom and an even tinier bathroom. I didn’t have a dishwasher, and the couch’s slipcover came off every time I sat on it. 

Even so, I hosted brunches, dinners and Bible studies many times in this cramped space. My tiny electric stove was where the magic happened, the place where meals were made with love. My guests and I cracked open bottles of wine, and enjoyed each others’ conversation late into the night. I was happy to welcome people into my home because even though it was small, for the short time they were there, I was able to bring my guests joy. 

Hospitality is not restricted by the size of your space. When you invite a friend into your home, you invite him or her into your personal life. 

You are asking her to share in your private resources, whether it be for a few hours or for a few days. That’s why the sharing of food so often enters into the host/guest relationship. Food, like shelter, is vital. To share food and shelter with someone means you are confirming their very existence. 

To share food and shelter with someone means you are confirming their very existence. 

Sharing your food says, “I care about you, and I want to support you by giving you sustenance.” Sharing your home says, “I care about you, and I want to support you by giving you shelter.” 

Sharing food is an act of love no matter how much food there is. You can split a candy bar with a co-worker over lunch or you can cook Thanksgiving dinner for your entire family—either way, you are fostering community by extending your love. 

Similarly, hosting guests is an act of love no matter the size of your home. You might have a large space with many features, like a pool, a large kitchen or a spacious living room. Instead, you might have a tiny space with  few luxe accommodations. 

It really doesn’t matter. Anyone who is generous with their time and resources can be hospitable. 

Here are a few practical tips for hosting in a small space: 

Consider how many guests to invite.

Your hospitality is not limited, but the number of guests may need to be. How many guests can your space comfortably accommodate? How much seating do you have? Do you have an adequate number of windows or an air conditioner to ensure it doesn’t get too warm? These are all things to think about. 

Get creative with outdoor space.

If the weather is fine and you have access to outdoor accommodations, then you can open up that space to make more room. A dinner under the stars is always a nice touch. Just be sure to have good lighting and heaters/blankets in case it is chilly.

Ask guest to bring extra seating.

Some guests may not want to bring food or know what to bring. Ask them to bring a chair or two instead. This can help increase everyone’s comfort if you are concerned about having enough seating. 

Your guests will appreciate the care you take in hosting them. They will be honored that you have chosen to open up your home to them. If your home is small, then know that size is no barrier to your hospitality. Remember, it’s the size of your heart, not the size of your home, that matters. 

Do you enjoy hosting people? What is the most important thing to remember when you have guests?

Image via Joe Schmelzer, Darling Issue No. 19

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5 comments

  1. Thank you for this post. I’ve been wanting to have cozy conversations in my space and invite people over to my very small apartment for a while. After reading this I am even more so encouraged to do it!

    1. We are so glad to hear this Enrika! It is so reassuring to know that when we invite people into a space, regardless of the size, we establish a sense of home.

  2. Yes @Jules and @Charmaine– people feel loved when they’re invited to a party– the size of your accommodation does not factor in to that feeling.

    1. This is SO true. I hosted 20+ people on my 600 sq foot apartment for my birthday two weeks ago and AGONIZED over the guest list and whether everyone would fit — but no one seemed to mind standing and eating in the kitchen or sprawling on my tiny living room floor (with a few babies) since there wasn’t enough seating.

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