Family gathered around dining table during winter holiday celebration

Holiday Design & Organizing Tips: How to Make Room for Guests

Even if you’ve become a pro at cooking in a small kitchen and have followed all the organization hacks for small space living, the holidays present a whole new set of challenges when it’s your turn to play host. Where will everyone sit? Is there enough sleeping space for people who might need to stay over? Accommodating everyone during the holidays can be daunting. But don’t worry! These 14 organization ideas for hosting guests during the holidays will help you maximize your space so everyone will feel at home!

Declutter Your Home

Christmas living room. Photo by Instagram user
Photo via

When you’re dealing with limited space, it’s important to do some home decluttering to get rid of items that take up too much room. Whether you decide to store, donate, or trash items that are getting in the way, simply clearing out unnecessary decor and furniture can make a huge difference when preparing for guests!

Prep Food Ahead of Time

Christmas food. Photo by Instagram user @partieswithacause
Photo via @partieswithacause

Not only does cooking take up space in your home, but it also prevents you from fully enjoying the company of your holiday guests. The key for maximizing kitchen space and staying stress-free is by prepping the food ahead of time! Assemble appetizer trays, put drinks in coolers, season the turkey, and place cookies in tins the day before friends and family arrive. That way, you can just set out or reheat any food without the hassle of dishes and other food prep items taking up counter space.

Designate a Drop Zone

Christmas entryway. Photo by Instagram user @lifewithgingerlee
Photo via @lifewithgingerlee

Your entryway can easily become cluttered with coats and shoes scattered everywhere. Create a clear path around your home and free up precious floor space by making a drop zone. Fasten a couple of hooks to the wall and place a bench underneath for a catch-all area for bags, coats, hats, gloves and boots. If you have a spare bedroom, office, or bonus room, another holiday home organization tip is to convert these areas into a coat room for guests’ belongings!

Utilize Every Corner

Christmas table with Gingerbread houses. Photo by Instagram user @pomponsevents
Photo via @pomponsevents

Having all of the excitement of the holidays take place in one small area can be overwhelming. Avoid congestion and awkward shuffling by designating certain areas in your home for different holiday traditions and activities. Turn your basement into a spot where kids can play board games and decorate gingerbread houses. Set up a cocktail station in a corner of the kitchen that’s out of the way. Or turn your entryway into a spot where guests can keep Christmas or Hanukkah gifts.

Prepare Guest Rooms

Light blue and white bedroom. Photo by Instagram user @1111lightlane
Photo via @1111lightlane

Are your friends or family members planning on spending the night? Make sure you declutter and prep any room where people might staying. Blow up air mattresses in your home office. Put fresh linens on any beds in your spare rooms. And make sure to set out towels, extra pillows, and anything else your guests might need.


Organize the Bathroom

Utility cart in bathroom. photo by Instagram user @queen.of.the.b
Photo via @queen.of.the.b

When guests stay over during the holidays, the bathroom can get pretty crowded. Free up counter space for overnight guests by adding a utility cart in the bathroom where they can store their toiletries. This simple home storage and organization idea is the perfect place to keep washcloths, towels, cotton swabs, breath mints, and extra toiletries for anyone who wants to freshen up.

Assemble a Drink Station

Hot cocoa station. Photo by Instagram user @kate_ann_style
Photo via @kate_ann_style

Setting up a station where guests can make or grab beverages is one of the best holiday home organization ideas you can use! This ensures no one is blocking pathways in the kitchen while trying to grab a drink. Set up a bar cart or buffet table with decorative glasses, different mixers, an ice bucket, and fun garnishes. You can also fill a cooler with water and sodas that sit nearby.

Opt for Tiered Platters

Tiered holiday treats. Photo by Instagram user @tjang.fonda
Photo via @tjang.fonda

Tiered platters and baskets are excellent dining room and kitchen storage hacks for serving appetizers, entrees, and desserts during the holidays. By utilizing this vertical space, you can fit more food onto counters, dining tables, and kitchen islands, which can free up space for additional food prep as well.

Embrace Minimalist Decorating

Minimalist entryway. Photo by Instagram user @designsixtyfive
Photo via @designsixtyfive

Whether you plan on making DIY holiday decorations or buying a few items to spruce up your place, embracing a minimalist theme is a must when trying to maximize space! Think twinkle lights in jars on your coffee table or dining table, pine garland on banisters, or a small Christmas tree that can comfortably fit in your living room or entryway. With minimalist decorating, you’ll be able to add a little sparkle for the holidays, while also keeping tabletops, floor space, and counters free of clutter.

Go Vertical with Holiday Decor

Mantel decorated for Christmas. Photo by Instagram user @lifeofalley
Photo via @lifeofalley

When pressed for space, an easy room organization hack is to go vertical with your holiday decor. Opt for decorations that celebrate the spirit of the holiday season without eliminating any sitting or standing room, such as hanging mistletoe in doorways, adding string lights across the ceilings, or draping festive garland on banisters and mantels.

Try Buffet-Style Dining

Buffet-style holiday meal. Photo by Instagram user @tatertotsandjello
Photo via @tatertotsandjello

Not sure how to organize your home so that you can seat everyone for Christmas or Hanukkah dinner? Rather than trying to fit chairs around a table that only sits six people, consider going buffet-style with your holiday meal! That way, guests can grab food and find a comfortable spot in the kitchen, living room, or dining room.


Mix Up the Layout

Holiday living room. Photo by Instagram user @gracefulsouthernhome
Photo via @gracefulsouthernhome

If you don’t know how to arrange furniture to maximize space in your home for the holidays, don’t be afraid to experiment and try different room design ideas! Swap a few coffee tables in the living room for storage ottomans to create more seating and add flat surfaces for games. Or push couches and chairs back along the walls to make more room for a few folding tables and chairs.

Get Creative with Seating

Holiday kids room. Photo by Instagram user @stelladerozario
Photo via @stelladerozario

One of the best ways to maximize limited living space while family and friends are over for holiday celebrations is to take advantage of creative seating. Furniture items like storage ottomans, piano benches, or foot stools are easy to move around your home and store when you’re not using them. You can also put a few pillows, blankets, and poufs on the ground to create holiday seating for kids.

Take the Gathering Outdoors

Outdoor holiday table. Photo by Instagram user @everything.jen
Photo via @everything.jen

If you live in an area of the country that stays warm during the winter holidays, move the party outside! Extending your gathering outside is a great way to give people more space to mingle and move. Set up your dinner table in the backyard, or use your apartment balcony to put together a bar area.

Need more ideas for how to get your home ready for the holidays? Check out these guides on holiday cleaning and organization tips and how to become the ultimate holiday party host!

Pinterest Graphic: Holiday Design Tips: Making Room for Guests

Need to make room for family and friends during the holidays? Check out these holiday organization hacks and design tips to maximize space for guests! via @extraspace