Author Topic: hosting frequently in small home?  (Read 4420 times)


  • Guest
hosting frequently in small home?
« on: November 24, 2013, 10:41:57 PM »
Thanks for the super smart replies, folks! Really appreciating this! Clarifications in red:

The dream: Continue connecting with my communit(ies), yet eliminate the cost of child care or otherwise expensive outings.

The method: I envision in my home super comfy seating for five, a projector, a blank wall (got this!), and 2-3 sessions per week of hosting various circles in my home.

The already awesomely helpful:
-Our place is very, very cheap -a miracle of a rental rate in Vancouver, BC.
-Our beds take up no space because we roll out bedrolls on the floor; sleep space is totally moveable even day by day.
-The suite needs to house only my kid and I, though my partner sleeps over a few nights each week at which points my bedroll merely needs a slightly wider space than otherwise.

The catch: Current place is 400 sq feet, 2 bedroom plus kitchen and bathroom, awkwardly laid out (large bedroom, equal size kitchen). With a kid, a work "warehouse", our bikes, etc, I can't quite figure out how to create my dream hosting space. Outside for the next six months or so is generally very, very rainy and/or cold. We did manage to push the outdoor entertaining to a couple of weeks ago, but we seem to have hit the limit.

Limiting factors:

-I need to keep the warehouse contents away from the moisture/heat/smells of the kitchen,
-we function best if my kid has a room to retreat to (he only gained his own room recently, at age 8.5),
-I can't bear a cluttered/squishy space, and
-my dream guest list includes folks that can't get their bodies to a floor/pillows

I'm considering things like any or all of: hanging the bikes off the ceiling to free up floor space, hanging the projector from the ceiling, sleeping in my kitchen and turning my bedroom/warehouse/office into a "living room", couch on wheels, hideabed so that the remaining bedroom is both sleep-space and hosting space (though hideabeds are *really* hard to move from home to home).

Those of you with very small homes, how are you creating comfy hosting space? Any ideas for comfy furniture that's lightweight or collapsible, etc? Are there some crazy comfortable folding chairs out there? Other?

What I'm realizing in exploring this topic is that I really crave a couch. For me, for me and my kid together, and for guests. I can continue to live without a bed (though sometimes I daydream about having one of those, too, to lounge about in on rainy days)t, but definitely my next priority is a couch. Through this conversation, though, some ideas are really starting to percolate for me!
« Last Edit: November 25, 2013, 12:59:40 PM by scrubbyfish »


  • Bristles
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Re: hosting frequently in small home?
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2013, 10:46:37 PM »
Well first off - I am not nearly as cool as you are.  I thought our 1500 sq foot home was small:)

are you familiar with Life Edited?  Sounds like it's right up your alley.


  • Walrus Stache
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Re: hosting frequently in small home?
« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2013, 05:39:47 AM »
Hopefully you can put hooks/wall mount stuff.

Mount the bikes on a wall or hang from ceiling.

Get lots of shelves for work stuff and put these on the walls above ground level (so you can back seating up against the wall still).

Put your bed on cinder blocks or otherwise "loft" it slightly to get lots of space under it (I've been doing this for years, it's so awesome to be able to fit full sized totes under my bed).


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: hosting frequently in small home?
« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2013, 06:44:17 AM »
If you have an Ikea, visit their small space displays.  I am always amazed by the creative solutions they have to live in very small spaces.  I too, feel humbled, because my 1800 sq ft home seems too small downstairs to entertain. 


  • Bristles
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Re: hosting frequently in small home?
« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2013, 09:14:44 AM »
Honestly our 600 square feet feels about as small as could be for entertaining!  I guess it depends where you live, but it might be possible that moving to a slightly larger or better arranged space is the only way to do this. 

So you have a 1 bedroom with a kitchen right?  Where is your child's space right now?  Is that the bedroom?  Are you a couple, or just one adult and one child?
 My suggestion is a murphy bed for your bed. Possibly a super expensive one like those at resource furniture:

These would be much worse to move than a fold out sofa, though.  That's seating for 2 comfortably, or 3 squeezed.  Alternatively your bed could be a Castro Ottoman:  Easier to move, but just a single.  Then it is seating for 1 but you could get a cheaper sofa. 

How much storage space do you need for the office stuff and how much rearranging are you willing to do between working and guest arriving? 

Something like the Karlstad Sofa Bed from Ikea has some storage space under the seat.  I think it is intended to be used for bedding but depending on your situation perhaps the work stuff could go there? 

Or in some "storage ottoman" cubes.  We have two of those 18x18x18 cubes and store all our blankets in them.  When they are pushed together they act as our coffee table. Or at least a secretary style desk so the work stuff can be hidden from view.

You could just get wooden folding chairs for the non-sofa seats.  We have those. Or, you could upgrade to something like this that looks more like a kitchen chair, and sturdier:  Though that is still not super comfy. 

Do you have a car?  I end up using my car for storage of some things.  Bad for gas mileage, but I don't drive that much. (For example you could put the chairs in there, or tool storage.)

Some communities with small apartments like that have a communal area that can be reserved.  Perhaps yours does or perhaps you could move somewhere that does.  Also, perhaps you could work someplace else?  I think living, working, and entertaining in 400 square feet with a child, and without spending a ton of money on custom furniture and remodeling might be difficult.
« Last Edit: November 25, 2013, 11:32:08 AM by StarryC »


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: hosting frequently in small home?
« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2013, 09:20:34 AM »
Entertain more outside, rather than inside.  If you want to show a movie, do so on the side of a wall (can put up a white screen - maybe a bedsheet?), and use folding chairs/blankets.


  • Guest
Re: hosting frequently in small home?
« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2013, 12:57:38 PM »
All: Thank you!! I have updated my original post (new items in red) to clarify aspects.

zsmom: Wow! No, I was not at all familiar with Life Edited. When I saw the images last night, my heart started beating so fast with sheer joy! Yes, in one post you have understood me completely -those units are very "me"; I create a cheap version of those wherever I go.

All: When you say you thought your place at, say, 1500 sq ft was small you make me feel much better about what I've managed to do so far - thanks :)   (I do host already, but on four hard, low folding chairs at a wobbly table.)

Enderland: Love the idea to get my warehouse, too, up off the floor to allow seating underneath. Yes! Hadn't thought of that. A bit of a hassle to set up, but I really should be earthquake-proofing (anchoring) the shelves anyway, which to me is about the same amount of hassle.

1kickassgal: Yes, I do have an Ikea nearby, and that's a great idea! I will definitely go on an exploratory trip, yes. (I did go to look at their couches a few months ago, and was thrown by the physical weight and the hefty prices. Even "cheap" couches can be expensive! Of course I will look for a second-hand option. Still hunting for one I can move -I rearrange furniture regularly as doing so keeps me happy in a smaller space- but that's not totally critical.)

StarryC: Thanks for the very comprehensive reply! Excellent ideas. I've clarified some of the details, per your post, in my original one. The place I'm in now has no common area, unfortunately. This place is relatively temporary, though (hence the amazing price), so I may well be moving in some months. I'm hoping for a place with a common room, as I'm definitely very much a 'community organizing' person and would make great use of such a space, creating cheap fun for me and neighhours.

CommonCents: Thanks! The catch I'm finding to outside is that it is very rainy and/or cold the next six months or so, so being somewhat static in the yard is uncomfortable. I'm keen to be outdoors, and in the past have organized hikes, etc, but I'm finding folks with young kids are most often unable to arrive at an outdoor 'starting point' at a specific time (kids suddenly napping, etc). So, I'm aiming for an 'open house' style, where people have a wide window they can drop in during. I'm going to keep thinking about whether there's a third outdoor option...
« Last Edit: November 25, 2013, 01:27:30 PM by scrubbyfish »


  • Guest
Re: hosting frequently in small home?
« Reply #7 on: November 25, 2013, 11:29:27 PM »
cjottawa: Wow! A floor plan! And photos! Yes, I was delighted to look at those, thank you very much! (I even zoomed in on your pantry, because I was tickled at how tidy it is. I, too, arrange my cupboards almost like a store.) Those convertible tables are amazing -I hadn't known of those! Before you posted, I was getting willing to replace my small, basic eating table with a coffee table, because we could eat at the latter. And then you showed me I can have two in one! Perfect. I am also really pondering the moveable storage ottoman things. I really don't have much stuff to put in them, but even one would release some stuff from my work shelves while providing seating.

All: Thanks to all of you, I have a pretty good idea now how to make this happen! Awesome! So excited. Much, much appreciated!!