The world is almost fully open for business again! Lockdowns have eased in many countries, vaccine uptake is on the rise, and the joy of social gatherings is becoming a part of our everyday lives once again. And that means you might want to invite other people into your apartment for the first time in a year and a half.
For many people around the world, lockdown measures made dinner parties, nights full of dancing and chats over a coffee a distant memory. After all this time, it’s understandable that you might be questioning your hosting abilities and feeling a little anxious about re-opening your home to guests. But there’s no time like the present for a comeback.
To help the apartment dwellers across the world recapture their hosting mojo, we’ve put together this guide highlighting four things you might have forgotten about having friends over to your rented apartment, and how you can prepare to host once again
Social Gathering Can Get Messy (and Damaging)
Remember the best party of your life? What was the worst part of it? We’re going to hazard a guess that cleaning up afterwards was right up there.
Nobody likes the clean-up job the morning after a great party, whether you were all getting down on the makeshift dancefloor or having a few drinks with friends after an evening out. If you’re not prepared, a few empty glasses around the apartment might be the least of your worries.
Inviting people into your home for a special occasion (or even just a casual movie night) always puts your home at a little bit of risk. Paintings can get knocked off the wall. Priceless ornaments could be sent hurtling to the ground by accident. I’m sure none of your guests set out to make a mess, but accidents can happen, and it’s best to be aware of that. It’s always important to remember that while you can trust yourself to be respectful of your space, you can’t trust everyone else to treat it the same way.
Remember, ground rules at home aren’t just a part of lockdown life. Make sure everyone is respectful and keeps a place that isn’t technically yours safe and tidy.
How to prepare: Beyond setting some ground rules before the event begins, there are some ways you can cover yourself from the cost of more extensive accidental damage, such as opting for affordable tenant insurance coverage. Tenant insurance keeps you and your stuff protected in the event of an accident, allowing you to relax knowing that even if your guests get a little too excited when visiting, you’re covered.
You Need to Warn Your Roommates
Ah, roommates. Those brave souls you’ve been locked up with for the better part of a year. You’ve probably got to know each other pretty well throughout this whole experience.
Well don’t take this newfound friendship for granted; you still need to give your roommates plenty of warning before their home becomes a dancefloor or restaurant for the night. It’s not just about the noise, it’s the principle of protecting what is just as much their home as yours.
You never know how a roommate might react to a host of new people walking through the door. Yes, you are within your right to have friends and family over, but some prior warning for your roommates to voice their concerns can only be good practice (especially in a COVID-sensitive world). Perhaps they’re running a marathon the next day or have their final post-grad exam. You never know! A combination of politeness and clarity breeds healthy cohabitation.
Most roommates will understand your need to socialize. If not, there are good ways to have difficult conversations with the people you live with, especially if they’re new to the property. Be clear and honest about your needs.
How to prepare: A simple conversation in advance should be enough for most roommates. A reminder message on the day is common courtesy, and if you’re really anxious about their reaction, offer to do all the cleaning and help them move their record collection or priceless photos into another room.
And Your Neighbors
Your roommates aren’t the only ones who should be aware of your party plans. Apartment life can be close-knit, and your neighbors may just be a thin wall away. If the reaction of your roommates is giving you pre-party anxiety, it’ll probably make you feel better to pop next door for a quick chat.
Even if your little get-together is just a nice dinner rather than a big party, good neighbors make the effort to warn others about potentially late-night music and conversation.
How to prepare: If you can’t get hold of your neighbors with a knock at the door, consider leaving a note under their door or a message in the apartment building group chat. Most people will be more than accepting of some much-needed socializing right now.
You Don’t Need a Huge Apartment to Be a Great Host
We can’t all be blessed with the perfect New York City loft, like we’re living in a certain 90s sitcom, but a good party doesn’t need an endless parade of rooms to be fun!
Chances are, you’re living in a less than spacious apartment, especially if you’re renting alone. This can create some issues when you’re trying to get everyone around a table for a lovingly cooked meal. But, furniture and smart thinking can help you achieve your dreams.
Consider investing in some:
- Folding tables and chairs you can tuck away
- Kitchen space savers (items that stack into one another)
- Foldaway or standing wall desks that take up less room (great if you’re working from home)
- Bean bags to add more seating
How to prepare: We’ve listed a few suggestions above, but finding new ways of looking at your apartment can open opportunities for space you never previously thought possible. If you’ve got the time (and your roommates don’t mind), try re-arranging the layout of the sofas, TV and dining furniture to see how a new perspective might make your space more open.
Tips for COVID-safe Gatherings
Still a little unsure about the concept of having friends and family over? Here are some tips for keeping your activities COVID-safe and protecting yourself and your guests.
- Got a balcony?:
Try and keep all activities outside if you can. If you’re living in a ground-floor apartment you may have access to a garden area you can use to host. Even during early fall (provided the weather holds) means you’re able to bring the outside in to make your guests more comfortable.
- Keep the guest list low:
Too many guests can make some people feel uncomfortable right now. We’re all easing back into socializing, so take things slow and make sure everyone is having a good time.
- Call to invite your guests:
This way you can get an idea of what your guests will be comfortable with and how much time you can all spend indoors. It’s much more personal and understanding than a group chat text.
- Keep everyone seated:
A barbeque is great this time of year, but it might be better for everyone to avoid mixing over the spread and remain seated in their own separate space right now.
Remember, socializing right now is about having a good time without putting anyone in danger or making them uncomfortable. All decisions should always be made with these two thoughts in mind.