Do you love to entertain, but think your bijou home doesn’t boast quite enough seating for all the guests that you’d like to invite? No worries. In fact, you probably have far more ways to seat partygoers than you realize. Use your noggin, and you can come up with clever yet comfortable seating arrangements when you need them.
Entertaining in a ‘bijou’ home
First, let’s be sure we’re all clear on what a ‘bijou’ home is. For most of its existence, the word ‘bijou’ denoted a movie theater or playhouse. Today, the word is more often used to describe a very tiny residence. Telegraph UK explains that realtors and landlords often use poetic license to describe less than spacious living spaces as ‘quaint,’ ‘compact,’ ‘cosy,’ and bijou. Many first-time homebuyers opt for a residence that is on the smaller side. Small homes can be delightful, especially if you have a knack for entertaining in a limited space.
Creative seating solutions
You don’t need an enormous space in order to throw a first-class party. Stackable stools, folding chairs, ottomans, floor cushions, and puffy beanbags offer ad hoc seating that only comes out of the closet or down from their spot on the wall when needed, suggests House Beautiful magazine. Folding chairs may be closed and suspended on wall hooks to save floor space when storing. A table is a huge commitment of floor space that can be put to alternate use in between meals. To add more floor, build a hinged, two-legged table that folds flat against a wall when not in service.
Scout yard sales and resale shops to find folding chairs. Wooden chairs are typically prettier, but you can do a lot with folding chairs made of metal, too. Spend a weekend or two refinishing the chairs with light sandpaper, spray paint, and attractive upholstery fabric. Slide the chairs under your bed when not in use, and pull ‘em back out when company comes to call.
Window seats are your best friend when you dwell in a minuscule space. A bench topped with cleverly covered square pillows under a sparkling window provides a cozy nook for reading, sipping tea, or casually chatting with visitors. Even better, build a sturdy box bench with inside storage. Place a smartly upholstered cushion atop. The window seat will do double duty as a sitting space as well as a place to stash folded table linens, oversized quilts, extra blankets and towels, and stuff like that. Speaking of storage that moonlights as guest seating, flat-topped trunks make excellent right-now seating when your friends come to visit. Footstools with flip tops and interior storage are also ideal party seating that serves another purpose in your day-to-day living quarters.
Floor cushions are standard guest seating in many parts of the world, and they can seat your company, too. Floor cushions are especially effective for sitting around a low-slung coffee table. When the party’s over, flat square pillows and floor cushions of the same dimension may be stacked atop one another in a corner, slid under a bed, or placed behind a sofa.
Bean bag chairs are making a comeback
Popular during the psychedelic Sixties, bean bag chairs are a fun solution to your small house seating problem. Giant bean bag foam-filled furniture is quirky, comfy, and inviting. In fact, your guests may flock first to your foamy bean bag chairs when it’s time to select a seat. Browse a large Sack Daddy selection to find the size and fabric cover that works best in your bijou home. Smaller bean bags can be shoved under a bed or into a closet when not in use, but they’re so darn cute, you may want them on display at all times. A large bean bag can double as a guest bed, in case one or more of your party guests decide to stay overnight.
Small space entertaining tips
When you sit several people at a diminutive dining table, space is at a premium. Instead of placing several bottles of wine on the table, opt for a carafe that holds plenty of vino for all, suggests Huffington Post.
Don’t give up your dream of being a great hostess, just because your square footage is lacking. Be clever, be conversational, and have a wonderful time with your guests.
Anthony Holden is an interior designer and decorator who specializes in smaller homes, coming up with unique and fun yet highly practical ideas to make use of every spare inch of space in a home.