Tips for Entertaining on a Budget in Small Spaces

This month, May 23 to be exact, my husband Daniel and I celebrate seven years of marriage! I can seriously remember our wedding like it was yesterday. It was the happiest day of my life even though I didn’t get to eat much and was starving. After our reception, we changed into sweat pants and went to grab cheap tacos and drinks. True story.

Our reception was my favorite part. I planned every detail of every table and as you can see, my love of black, white and gold has never waned.

Thinking back to that first year of marriage, I remember wanting to do so much as newlyweds. I wanted to host grown-up dinner parties with cocktails, desserts and gorgeous tablescapes. I desperately wanted a house since we were living in an apartment (you’ll remember this time in my life if you were a reader of my blog from the beginning).

It all seemed overwhelming and impossible…but it wasn’t. We did host game nights, a Christmas party and I tried my best to decorate the small space we called our own.

So, when I read that this month’s BHG (Better Homes & Gardens) Live Better theme for our posts was entertaining, I knew I wanted to focus on small, affordable, and timeless options for entertaining. With wedding season underway and so many people choosing to live in smaller spaces, I thought it’d be fun to show how less can be more.

White dinnerware, gold flatware, and a simple floral and candle tablescape make a small space look grand and luxe for entertaining. So many great ideas in this post via monicawantsit.com

Here are some tips for entertaining with grand style on a budget in a small space such as a breakfast nook, eat-in kitchen or patio/balcony.

INVEST IN WHITE DINNERWARE

White dinnerware is classic and will always look good when paired with anything. You can pair it with heirloom china, thrifted appetizer plates or unique pieces from travel adventures.

White dinnerware, gold flatware, and a simple floral and candle tablescape make a small space look grand and luxe for entertaining. So many great ideas in this post via monicawantsit.com

The latest BHG at Walmart dining collection is stunning and affordable, and we chose to buy pieces from their new hobnail collection sold only in stores. They do have a ton of options online, but this particular style is in-store only.

White dinnerware, gold flatware, and a simple floral and candle tablescape make a small space look grand and luxe for entertaining. So many great ideas in this post via monicawantsit.com

At under $4 per piece, this is an affordable way to start building your entertaining dinnerware collection. The hobnail plates are also oven safe to 450 degrees, which is fab when you need to keep stuff warm in the oven until guests arrive.

BHG also has gorgeous serveware (platters, salad bowls, drink dispensers) to accent these pieces.

FLOWERS, FLOWERS, FLOWERS

White dinnerware, gold flatware, and a simple floral and candle tablescape make a small space look grand and luxe for entertaining. So many great ideas in this post via monicawantsit.com

We all love a good tablescape, but if you have a small table/space, skip all the extras and opt to use gorgeous, real flowers to amp up the style. They don’t have to be expensive to make an impact.

White dinnerware, gold flatware, and a simple floral and candle tablescape make a small space look grand and luxe for entertaining. So many great ideas in this post via monicawantsit.com

I put a small rocks glass inside this BHG frosted pillar candleholder to turn it into a vase and added in a dozen pink and white roses. Some twine wrapped around the candleholder adds a dash of black and white, as you can see above.

LIGHT UP THE SPACE

Candles are hands down one of the most inexpensive ways to fill up a table with a warm, inviting glow. Make sure they’re unscented though.

This BHG candleholder I found in-store is so modern (and just my style) and incorporates the stature of a glass hurricane mixed with the classiness of a candlestick. It almost looks like the pillar candle is floating.

White dinnerware, gold flatware, and a simple floral and candle tablescape make a small space look grand and luxe for entertaining. So many great ideas in this post via monicawantsit.com

For the holidays I envision dropping in some holly berries, tiny pinecones or small ornaments to this candleholder. I may need to pick up another one so I can have a pair to use on my mantel.

The great part about candles is that they’ll make the atmosphere cozy and they’ll highlight different aspects of your table—the flowers, flatware and placemats.

PLACE SETTINGS

On a small table, you may not have tons of room for a grand place setting, but you can make it look luxe with layering.

I used my round BHG beaded placemats from their 2015 holiday collection (see that entertaining set-up here) since they take up far less space than a traditional rectangular style. The hobnail plate and bowl sandwich a brightly patterned appetizer plate to create a luxe look.

White dinnerware, gold flatware, and a simple floral and candle tablescape make a small space look grand and luxe for entertaining. So many great ideas in this post via monicawantsit.com

Next to that is a cloth napkin folded to hold a spoon, knife and fork. Some simple striped ribbon and small flowers cinched on the bottom complete the look. There are a ton of napkin folding ideas on Pinterest if you need inspiration.

White dinnerware, gold flatware, and a simple floral and candle tablescape make a small space look grand and luxe for entertaining. So many great ideas in this post via monicawantsit.com

All of these ideas are inexpensive, quick and easy and will make any small gathering feel glam and special. Don’t let your small spaces or small budget deter you from hosting those you love in your home.

White dinnerware, gold flatware, and a simple floral and candle tablescape make a small space look grand and luxe for entertaining. So many great ideas in this post via monicawantsit.com

$100 Walmart Giftcard Giveaway

To help build your dinnerware/serveware collection, I am giving away a $100 Walmart gift card. That’ll buy you plenty of BHG Live Better items for your house. You can enter using the widget at the bottom of this post. Good luck!

What are your tips for entertaining in small spaces on a budget? Share your tip(s) below! 

Be back tomorrow with a tasty, bubbly and sweet cocktail for your summer soirees. xo.


This post was brought to you by the BHG Live Better Network where, as a blogger, I’ve received compensation by BHG at Walmart to share my ideas and reviews with you. The opinions stated here are my own. For more updates on their products and decor ideas, you can always follow them on FacebookPinterestTwitter and Instagram.

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92 Comments

  1. Marty@A Stroll Thru Life
    May 18, 2016 / 2:33 pm

    Beautiful table and great suggestions.

  2. Elle
    May 18, 2016 / 3:18 pm

    My tip is to have the party outdoors if possible and have guests bring food items to the event making it a lot cheaper for the host and gets everyone involved.

  3. Amber
    May 18, 2016 / 3:38 pm

    Beautiful! Love your dress and the flowers!

  4. Taina
    May 18, 2016 / 4:05 pm

    I love all your decorations and ideas, you have great taste.

  5. HS
    May 18, 2016 / 4:31 pm

    Outdoor potluck parties are the best.

  6. Betsy Barnes
    May 18, 2016 / 5:35 pm

    One of my favorite tips, use clear Christmas lights outdoors through the summer, around our deck. It gives our outdoor space a chic feel!

  7. Rachael Bliefnick
    May 18, 2016 / 6:41 pm

    Beautiful, Monica!! I loved hearing about your wedding and the late night tacos, too! Happy early Anny! – Rachael

  8. Kaitlin Boles-VanFleet
    May 18, 2016 / 9:04 pm

    Utilize the outdoors if you have space to host a party, this way you aren't left with having to re-clean what you already cleaned up in your home. Also potluck a are the best, more food options and will cost you less money.

  9. Jen
    May 18, 2016 / 9:17 pm

    Love it!

  10. Mami2jcn
    May 18, 2016 / 9:22 pm

    Use paper lanterns…they're inexpensive and can make a space "pop".

  11. Julie Wood
    May 18, 2016 / 9:30 pm

    My tip for entertaining on a budget is to have everyone bring a dish to the picnic that you are having so one person does not have to do all the cooking. That is what we do in my family. When there is a birthday we all contribute to help with the cost!

  12. Lauren
    May 18, 2016 / 9:37 pm

    For budget entertaining, let others who offer help with the food.

  13. Elena
    May 18, 2016 / 9:39 pm

    My tip is entertaining on a budget: shop at dollar stores for party supplies

  14. kellyr78
    May 18, 2016 / 10:11 pm

    My tip for entertaining in a small space is to use storage benches and other dual function items.

  15. Susan @ SunflowerHugs
    May 18, 2016 / 10:55 pm

    I sewed together a bunch of jeans legs to make a patchwork tablecloth. It gives a great rustic look to my table and was free!

  16. Jessica To
    May 19, 2016 / 12:01 am

    My tip is to pick your own flowers and use them as a centerpiece to save money.

  17. arress
    May 19, 2016 / 12:13 am

    My tip is to make sure if it is pot luck style entertaining, to have those bringing food, already have it prepared.

  18. Shelly Peterson
    May 19, 2016 / 12:57 am

    If you have a small space, entertain outside.

  19. Janet W.
    May 19, 2016 / 1:03 am

    For entertaining on a budget, get everyone to bring a dish to help take the burden off the host!

  20. jenmalonee
    May 19, 2016 / 1:53 am

    Maybe a fire pit outside would be a inexpensive fun place to entertain.

  21. Donna Niles
    May 19, 2016 / 2:16 am

    Great post! Definitely make use of counters, side or console tables, and card/banquet tables to serve buffet-style and free up space for your guests.

  22. Jennifer Schmitz
    May 19, 2016 / 3:07 am

    For decorating on a budget I try repurposing things I already have with a new paint color, an embellishment, or using the item in a new way.

  23. Ali Nicole
    May 19, 2016 / 3:16 am

    Decorating on a budget use items you have laying around your house, or make your own items.

  24. Susan Christy
    May 19, 2016 / 3:18 am

    If everyone brings a dish to your get-together, then it's pretty budget friendly for all.

  25. steve weber
    May 19, 2016 / 3:24 am

    Find your decorations and accent pieces at goodwill or rummage sales.

  26. Anonymous
    May 19, 2016 / 4:32 am

    Buy in bulk it is sometimes cheaper.

  27. Teachers Market
    May 19, 2016 / 4:57 am

    I think price matching is a money saver and I agree the dollar store is great for purchasing party supplies!

  28. ellie
    May 19, 2016 / 6:00 am

    On a budget you can make your decorations and have a potluck where everyone brings their favorite dishes.

  29. Anonymous
    May 19, 2016 / 11:22 am

    When entertaining on a budget keep it simple and make it potluck!

  30. Natalie
    May 19, 2016 / 12:03 pm

    My tip for entertaining in a small home is to rearrange your furniture and to make double use of some pieces of furniture. Move as many unneeded pieces of furniture to your bedroom and you can use bookcases for storage of cups and plates.

  31. Amy B
    May 19, 2016 / 12:13 pm

    For our yearly barbecue we ask people to bring their own chairs…that way we don't have to buy and store so many chairs all year long! I also buy plastic chargers whenever I see them on sale and usually don't pay more than a dollar for them-if they are a weird or ugly color I spray paint them-then we use them as trays for everyone to put their plates and utensils on…no more collapsing paper plates! And then everyone can eat where they want with their chair or picnic blanket instead of just at the table!

  32. Ebony S
    May 19, 2016 / 12:51 pm

    Love the Hobnail dinnerware! And for under $4, I'm going to my local Wal-Mart! (Lol) your place setting looks GREAT!

  33. Bridgett wilbur
    May 19, 2016 / 2:17 pm

    We do a lot of potluck partys outside in the summer.

  34. Anonymous
    May 19, 2016 / 4:00 pm

    Love your ideas for small space entertaining.Love the black and white accents.

  35. Anonymous
    May 19, 2016 / 4:25 pm

    Great tablescape

  36. Lisa Brown
    May 19, 2016 / 4:53 pm

    Tip: Ask guests to share a favorite side dish. Provide a main dish and then allow the sides to fill in for the rest.

  37. Future mixes
    May 19, 2016 / 4:55 pm

    All great ideas! I especially love the napkin fold, it's a little thing with great impact. Carmen Skyles

  38. Evie B.
    May 19, 2016 / 5:03 pm

    Use your outdoor space to it's fullest.

  39. latanya t
    May 19, 2016 / 6:37 pm

    you can get some great inexpensive items from the the dollar tree to serve dishes and beverages from

  40. 1froglegs
    May 19, 2016 / 7:50 pm

    Have something planned and ready to keep all of the kids occupied.

  41. Natasha Lamoreux
    May 19, 2016 / 8:19 pm

    We always have our parties in the backyard , plenty of space and trhe kids can play.

  42. imbigwillie
    May 19, 2016 / 8:24 pm

    Ask everyone to bring a dish to share.

  43. Tammy Shelton
    May 19, 2016 / 8:38 pm

    I like a pretty area rug to pull a room together.

  44. Domicile 37
    May 19, 2016 / 8:59 pm

    I love the look of the hobnail dishes, they are really pretty. One tip I would like to share is to mix old with new. It can add a different twist to things.

  45. Courtney B
    May 20, 2016 / 1:05 am

    cut coupons 🙂 or don't be afraid to make it a potluck

  46. Dawn Monroe
    May 20, 2016 / 2:56 am

    My tip is to start planning early so you can watch for sales. Stick to a budget and buy in bulk.

  47. Anonymous
    May 20, 2016 / 4:09 am

    We like to make awesome picnic parties at the nicest parks in town! nobody needs to see my small space and I don't have to clean 😉

  48. Maria Chen
    May 20, 2016 / 3:32 pm

    I love using recycle & upcycle items. I always look for ideas & tips at pinterest, from bloggers & other social media platforms

  49. Mita
    May 20, 2016 / 5:46 pm

    I keep it simple and make it potluck!

  50. Heather Hayes Panjon
    May 21, 2016 / 1:30 am

    My Tip For Entertaining On A Budget Is To Shop Using Coupon And Clearance.

  51. Jamala Wallace
    May 21, 2016 / 2:48 am

    Since I dont have a lot of counterspace, I love using appetizer stations around the house, therefore where guests are there's always a munchie around. By pre-planning my menu,I'm able to shop and catch sales.

  52. Kristen
    May 21, 2016 / 4:08 am

    The food can be kept simple….a big pot of soup and some bread can feed a lot of hungry guests happily (and cheaply) in the winter.

  53. Barbara Montag
    May 21, 2016 / 4:14 am

    For budget entering I buy the snacky stuff at the dollar store.

  54. Jenn
    May 21, 2016 / 4:16 am

    I love doing a potluck party! Everyone likes to show off their favorite dish to make.

  55. LauraJJ
    May 21, 2016 / 4:23 am

    I try to plan early and watch for sales. I love getting ideas from blogs! I really love what you did…looks so beautiful!!!

  56. Tina Woo
    May 21, 2016 / 6:15 am

    Appetizers don't always have to be fancy: stuffed olives, veggie platter and good cheese & crackers are often enough for a simple get together.

  57. Shari
    May 21, 2016 / 10:34 am

    Ive used butcher paper as a table runner and let everyone draw on it as they saw fit. Great conversation starters too!

  58. Anonymous
    May 21, 2016 / 2:37 pm

    I ask each guest to bring an appetizer

  59. Michelle J.
    May 21, 2016 / 7:14 pm

    We use real dishes so that we don't have to buy disposables every time.

  60. Rachel
    May 22, 2016 / 1:01 am

    My tip for entertaining on a budget is shop the sales and use coupons.

  61. James Robert
    May 22, 2016 / 8:08 pm

    Have more than enough food and drinks to assure you have happy guest and all will go great

  62. Julie Raye-Rod.
    May 22, 2016 / 8:09 pm

    Using coupons and planning everything way ahead of time!

  63. Sarah Hayes
    May 22, 2016 / 8:19 pm

    I like to keep things simple. i spend money on the things people will actually remember and make sure everyone having a good time is top priority

  64. Ann Raye
    May 23, 2016 / 12:23 am

    Make sure to plan everything out ahead of time and if you're going to splurge on one thing, make sure that you take a step back on a few other things

  65. Julie
    May 23, 2016 / 1:30 am

    You can make it fun and themed and have someone bring in something unique so that everyone is chipping in a bit

  66. janetfaye
    May 23, 2016 / 2:44 am

    My tip is to use dollar store candles to decorate.

  67. Kari Crum
    May 23, 2016 / 2:21 pm

    I like to always keep an eye out for interesting dish and decor pieces when I'm thrift shopping. You can quickly build up an ecclectic (and cheap) assortment of items that will mix & match.

  68. Donna
    May 23, 2016 / 2:56 pm

    If it's a small space, I usually eliminate chairs and will leave little tables off to the side. This at least encourages people to walk around and chit chat but still lets people leave their plates on something.

  69. Linda
    May 23, 2016 / 4:14 pm

    Outdoor parties are good no matter how small the space is, you should try and use it.

  70. Tracie Cooper
    May 23, 2016 / 5:36 pm

    I love to use the weekly grocery sales and coupon match ups to plan my menu for entertaining on a budget! My email is traciemichelle0515@gmail.com

  71. Prasert
    May 24, 2016 / 2:22 am

    for entertaining on a budget / for events that involve alcohol, I would suggest keeping your party to 2-3 signature drinks. When you involve too many different drinks, that's where I feel like the majority of my cost goes.

  72. Thomas Murphy
    May 24, 2016 / 3:29 am

    use lots of coupons to buy food. rounder9834 @yahoo.com

  73. Birdie Bee
    May 24, 2016 / 3:58 am

    When I want to entertain on a budget, I repurpose items around the house for decorating, purchase serve ware from the Dollar Tree and use coupons for buying the food.

  74. mmstarla
    May 24, 2016 / 4:13 am

    Love that you two went and got tacos afterwards- that is so cute and totally something I would do. 🙂 What you created is beautiful- I love the colors and simplicity of it. My tip is definitely less is more as well. Too much of something is never good.. and overcrowding the table isn't either! starla.batesAT yahoo.com

  75. Cassandra Eastman
    May 24, 2016 / 4:24 am

    My tip is to plan ahead and do it yourself instead of hiring help. Doing a party in the evening and using lights as decor is a cheap but pretty way to brighten up any party.

  76. Kenny Fensom
    May 24, 2016 / 4:30 am

    Love it!

  77. CHIRT143
    May 24, 2016 / 5:25 pm

    When decorating for a party on a budget, I like to use nature to save on decor. I use plants, rocks, flowers, etc.

  78. Tamra
    May 24, 2016 / 7:54 pm

    My tip is to mix some quality decor items in with some second hand treasures.

  79. Christina
    May 24, 2016 / 9:14 pm

    Pot luck style entertaining is always helpful and people still love it! I always look up budget recipes too and look for tasty ones that are low cost but seem like they took your forever! 😉

  80. Mendy Dinsmore
    May 24, 2016 / 9:27 pm

    Each table doesn't need a center piece. Add flower petals to give it a special look.

  81. Tabathia B
    May 24, 2016 / 10:46 pm

    Entertaining on a budget, I like to make bowls of punch or pitchers of lemonade and sweet tea to cut down on beverage cost

  82. Kim
    May 25, 2016 / 1:19 am

    One of my fave budget tips is to use old/antique dishes! It's fun and can make such a striking appearance. Also buy paper goods in bulk if needed!

  83. Nikki Vosburgh
    May 25, 2016 / 4:43 pm

    I love taking others older items and restoring them to something that I can use at my own house!

  84. Allison Swain
    May 25, 2016 / 10:00 pm

    My tip is to let everyone bring a dish!Thanks for the chance to win

  85. Lee Mckoen
    May 26, 2016 / 12:10 am

    Always try to meal plan around Inexpensive items!

  86. Amy P
    May 26, 2016 / 1:23 am

    I Like to use things we already have and I have lots of friends who love to help me out and I can borrow things they have. I also love to price match!

  87. lindilala
    May 26, 2016 / 3:23 pm

    Have your guests bring a little something whether it's their favorite dessert or homemade item. A little goes a long way :)Linda

  88. Sarah Mayer
    May 26, 2016 / 5:27 pm

    Look for things around your house – the vintage and old look is usually in

  89. Melanie Montgomery
    May 27, 2016 / 2:53 am

    I usually entertain with a friend. Being the only hostess can mean a lot of work so we divvy up all the responsibilities between two people.

  90. Mary Cloud
    May 27, 2016 / 3:34 am

    I like to visit the Everything's Dollar Stores for decorations – it really helps stretch the budget

  91. sonyamorris (Sonya Morris)
    May 27, 2016 / 3:53 am

    My tip is to decorate with potted plants since you can use them over and over.

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