5 things I have bought this year to make hosting Thanksgiving in a small apartment way easier

Hosting when you are tight on space can be tricky, but these are the buys I am relying on this year (and luckily they are all in early Black Friday sales too)

Christmas table decor with round table and rustic style

I have hosted holiday gatherings for family and friends a fair few times, and each year it gets more enjoyable as I learn by trial and error how to have guests over in a small apartment. 

A lot of the potential stress for me comes not with how I will fit everyone into my space, I manage to make that work fine, but how to cook, serve, and eat in an open plan space that's slightly lacking in square footage. My kitchen is visible to all, which while does make things lovely and socialable there's no escaping my guests. So while I try and do as much prep to get my kitchen ready for hosting as possible before everyone arrives, I do spend the first portion of any event, half in the kitchen cooking and serving and half ensuring everyone's drinks and fresh snacks are available. 

There are some incredibly easy tips I have come to learn and they mostly involve buys that help make things run smoothly, save me time, and save me effort. Luckily, there is still time to stock up on my recommendations now in time for Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday hosting season, and (again luckily) plenty of my helpful additions have savings on them in the Black Friday sales too. 

5 best buys for hosting in a small space

Dining room with festive table


There's nothing groundbreaking here, I have found the easiest way to host in a small space is to try and make as much of your serve and bakeware double duty so it can go from oven to table (or countertop) and you don't need to dish everything up again to make it aesthetically pleasing. 

Plus, a bar cart is a must. And this is less to do with the size of my space, but I do like my glasses and flatware to match, or at least have a similar theme. My table is a real focus of any event I have as it sits front and center of my apartment, so the tablescaping needs to look as beautiful as possible as it's where guests will spend the majority of time.

1. Aesthetically pleasing baking dishes

A pretty dish always elevates whatever you serve. How it works in my apartment if I am hosting for lots of people is I lay out all the dishes on the kitchen countertops and everyone comes and helps themselves. At Thanksgiving especially, I like this buffet set up to look as lovely as my Thanksgiving table decor, and nice serveware is key to that.

Rather than re-plate everything into more aesthetically pleasing dishes I cook what I can in nice crockery, so I can just pull it from the oven, stick in something to serve with and job done. It's comforting and rustic but pick the right dish and it always looks more considered. 

2. Matching flatware and glassware

As I mentioned, hosting in a small space means I find myself paying even more attention to how the table looks. It's where me and my guests usually spend the entire event as I don't have the option of shuffling everyone into my living room - the dining space is part of the living room. 

So while I do like the rustic look of a bit of mismatched crockery, the basics should all be matching. Flatware should all be the same and glassware should have a considered look, so I usually combine a few types that might be different but have a similar style. So for example, everyone gets the same simple (but chic) tumbler as a water glass, then I mix and match a few different sizes and shapes for wine glasses.

3. Slightly smaller plates

Hear me out here. I have made the mistake before of laying the table for guests, getting the decor looking lovely, squeezing in the right amount of seating, and then when I come to put the plates in each place, there's not enough room. The plates are so crammed together they totally take over the table, plus there's not enough room for everyone to pick up cutlery and move easily while eating. 

So if I am hosting for the maximum number my table can handle, I ever so slightly downsize the plates and go for roomy side or salad plates. Seconds are always an option, and I would rather go smaller with the plates than have them totally overtake the table.

4. Good quality pans

Black Friday is a great time to invest in the best cookware while it's on offer. Anything that makes cooking in front of my guests easier and more seamless is a must for me. An Our Place Always Pan has been on my wish list all year and right now Nordstrom has loads of deals going on across the brand so I am committing and buying one now. It will not be put in a cupboard either, I am proudly using that pan as decor as well as a practical helping hand with my hosting efforts. 

5. A compact, moveable bar cart

A bar cart is like an extra host in my apartment. I strategically place it as far away from the kitchen as possible and keep it well stocked, ice and garnishes included, so everyone can keep themselves happy. I keep an eye on it and stock up on ice when needed, but it does a great job of being my bartender without much of my help. 

In terms of design, I look for something that's compact and on wheels so you can move it around the space easily. I also like to add some battery-powered fairy lights and a simple garland for a festive makeover. 

I hope these Black Friday buys make your life simpler over the holidays. Really it doesn't matter what size space you are working with, updating your serveware and crockery at this time of year is always a good idea, especially when there are so many bargains to be had. Plus some of these pieces would make for great gifts for the home lover or host lover in your life. 

Hebe Hatton
Head of Inteiors

I am the Head of Interiors at Homes & Gardens. I started off in the world of journalism in fashion and luxury travel and then landed my first interiors role at Real Homes and have been in the world of interior design ever since. Prior to my role at H&G I was the digital editor at Livingetc, from which I took a sabbatical to travel in my self-converted van (not as glamorous as decorating a home, but very satisfying). A year later, and with lots of technical DIY lessons learnt I am back to writing and editing, sometimes even from the comfort of my home on wheels.