How to host a Large Crowd in a Small House

Do you want to know how to host a party in a small house, or just a large group? It can feel too difficult but as someone who has done it over and over I promise you it’s possible, and even enjoyable!  If you’ve said to yourself, “I want to have a party but my house is too small” today’s post is going to help you change that mindset.

how to host a large crowd

We have a small house. About 1200 square feet, one floor, and no hallways. There’s not a whole lot of room.

And yet, time and time again we have people over. Sometimes it’s just one family, other times it’s multiple families. There’s adults and kids everywhere. Just the other day we had 19 people running around in my small house.

And so, I’ve learned a few tricks that make it more pleasant for everyone when we have a bunch of people visiting.  I’ve figured out how to host in a small space.

How to host a large crowd in a small house

Have activities for the kids

I think one of the biggest problems with having a small house is that there isn’t a whole lot of room for kids to run around. That generally means you’ve got kids playing where the adults are.

And that’s totally fine – until you get a ball to the head or the kids are screaming in your ear.

So the key is to occupy the kids with activities. One of our favorite activities for small kids is a massive coloring mural we buy at the dollar store. Something about coloring on giant paper makes it feel new and exciting for kids.

We also pull out stickers. My daughter has a bin called “the babysitting box” which she has filled with fun toys for the younger ones. The kids love when they see her pull it out.

Teach your kids to be hosts as well

Speaking of the babysitting box, it really helps keep the chaos down when your own kids are part of the process. My kids know I expect them to help entertain other kids that visit.

Sometimes this comes very naturally to them because it’s friends they hang out with anyways, but other times it’s a bit of a stretch when it’s kids they don’t hang out with, usually because the visitors have kids younger than them.

But I think it’s a good lesson in hospitality for kids. It isn’t their job to babysit the kids while they are here, but to make them feel comfortable and welcome and offer toys to play with.

It helps everything run smoother when everyone in the family is involved.


Do as much food prep in advance as you can

Trying to do circles around guests in a small house to prepare a meal can be stressful. The way to avoid this I’d to have as much of the meal done as possible before they get there.

Personally I’m a big fan of slow cooker meals for guests. A big pot of chili or soup can be made hours in advance. Pair that with bread, and a salad, and add some brownies for dessert and you’ve got a pretty simple meal.

Seat kids at the table, adults in the living room

One of the biggest problems of having a large crowd over for dinner in a small house is seating. Many parents prefer young kids at the table in case they spill. We often put the kids st the table and adults in the living room.

However, sometimes we just all sit in the living room, with the kids sitting on the floor. We don’t have carpet and any messes can be wiped up easily. No one seems to mind where we eat, as long as they get to eat!

Send kids to play outside

Ah, the good old days when parents used to send their kids outside for a lot of the time. We still can do that. If the weather is nice have the kids go play in the yard.

There’s one disclaimer to this – make sure there are things for the kids to do in your yard. We have a trampoline, a basketball net and balls, a hockey net, and more. You don’t need expensive toys though. Go to the dollar store and buy some bottles of bubbles and chalk. Kids love that kind of stuff.

Host the whole crowd outside

If the weather is nice make it a barbecue and have people bring their own camping chair. It’s easier to host large crowds outside than it is inside.

Store coats in on a bed

We are fortunate enough to have a great space for hanging coats, even in our small house, but I’ve been to many get-togethers where they store coats on their bed because there was nowhere else to put them. It keeps them out of the way and off the ground.

Get rid of the coffee table

Coffee tables are space wasters in my opinion. That’s not a big deal if you have a bigger home, but if you have a smaller home every inch counts.

You won’t feel as crammed with guests if you ditch the coffee table. If you are really attached to it you don’t have to get rid of it for good. Just put it in a bedroom or garage while you are hosting a party or large crowd.

Use dining room chairs in the living room

Seating, as I mentioned above, can be a problem in a small house. The good news is, most people don’t care about what the seating is as long as they have some place to sit! Grab your chairs from your kitchen table and bring them into the living room so everyone can sit together and feel included.

Pick the biggest room to hang out in

Maybe your living room is quite small but your kitchen is a little bigger. Set up the majority of the seating in the kitchen instead of the living room. If you feel like you can’t comfortable sit everyone in the same room than set up chairs in both rooms. People will move around and visit with various guests throughout their time at your house. As the host though, make sure you mingle with both groups if you can’t fit everyone in one room.

Don’t let a small home stop you from inviting people over

Most people don’t care about the size of your house. They just want to be invited over. Years ago when we owned a different house which was also quite small and in rougher shape we would host potlucks periodically. Many people we invited over lived in big homes in Newly built subdivisions. Yet, whenever our potlucks would end they would tell us as they were leaving that they couldn’t wait for the next one.

I’ve never had anyone tell me they didn’t want to come over because of the size of my house. Honestly, I’ve had very few times in my life where someone has declined the offer of coming over for a meal. If you feed them they will come, trust me.

So, invite your friends and a family over. Make a simple meal, pull out some bubbles and coloring for the kids, and enjoy an afternoon with the people you love. It’ll be a blessing to you and the people you invite over.

Need some ideas on what to feed a large crowd on a budget? I have a list of ideas for you here.




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