1. First of all, throw a dinner party.

The number one deterrent to throwing a successful dinner party in a small apartment is… not throwing one at all. (Surprise!) Seriously. If you’ve been holding off throwing a party because you think your place is too small, or you’re embarrassed that it’s unfinished or not decorated like you want, or you have some archaic idea that parties should be big, or glamorous, or whatever… stop.

Wherever you live, you can throw some kind of dinner party. It may only be for three people, or maybe you’ll surprise yourself by fitting in 15 people or more. But if you have a desire to bring people into your home, if you love your friends and love cooking and want to share food with them, you can and should do it! Everything else can be worked around or managed, but you have to commit to throwing a party first.

2. Don’t be afraid to rearrange furniture for the evening.

I talked about rearranging my living room in my main dinner party post on Wednesday, and this was really the thing that changed everything as far as decorating goes. By swapping my dining and living areas, i.e. I moved my dining table into my living room, and shifted a few living room lounge chairs to where my dining table used to be, I made my table the focus of my apartment. Would I normally keep my dining table there? No. On a day to day basis it sits pushed up against a wall, but for a party it made sense to move everything around to create more space and a better flow.

Beyond rearranging, you can also just remove things from the room. Make the other rooms in your apartment storage rooms for the evening. Move that end table into your bedroom for the night. Prop the coffee table upright against the wall in your office. Yes, now you can’t walk around your bed, but remember, it’s just for one night!

3. Go for mood lighting.

I believe that almost anything is improved with good mood lighting. If you can help it, don’t use overhead lights. The overhead lights in my apartment use energy-efficient fluorescent bulbs — great for never having to change a lightbulb, but terrible for atmospheric lighting. I rarely use them if I can help it!

Instead I rely on lamps with a warm white light, tea lights and candles, and string lights. For this party I hung globe string lights from Target over my dining table. That, again, is another reason it helped to move the table! By putting it in the center of my living room, I was able to use my bookshelf as a hook for the lights on one side. I also put tea lights all over the table.

Get all of the tips at thekitchn.com.