About the Author

Myquillyn Smith, The Nester, is a home stager, redesigner and design school drop-out. Her last home (a rental) was featured in Better Homes & Gardens, Cottages & Bungalows, Ladies' Home Journal and in her upcoming design philosphy book, The Nesting Place: It doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful....

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  1. I love Sandy’s blog! I really want to get her book for Christmas! These are very good suggestions, and I definitely need to keep them in mind. I’ve been hesitating to have people over because I worry about what people will think about us since we only have 3 kitchen chairs and no couch. It sounds silly, I know, and I am realizing that it’s also selfish to think that way, and most likely, people won’t care much where they have to sit!

  2. “If you desire to invite friends over but are apprehensive maybe your focus is misguided.” Ah, Nester, you got me! Confession: entertaining makes me hyperventilate a bit. Thanks for the tips and reminder that it’s not about having it all together–it’s being all together. Heart you, girl. XOXO

  3. I love, love, love to entertain.

    I live in a small, 2 bedroom apartment w/ almost no storage. I am fortunate enough to have an open floor plan from the kitchen to the living room & entry way. The very high ceilings help too.

    I have found creative ways to entertain friends in our small space. Most of all it’s cozy and ultra comfortable.

    Maybe some day the Lord will bless me w/ a big home but for now I’m blessed w/ this small space.

    I don’t really think of how closed in it can get when lots of people are here b/c we are all having a lovely time, laughing, eating, watching the kids and so on.

    I even put up an 8 foot tree for Christmas!

    Thanks for more tips, Nester!

    • Angie, I used to have the same feelings (prayers) because I lived in less than 1000 square feet. I’d have people over anyway, but deep inside I’d pray for more space … some day. It happened. Thanks for sharing! Sandy from RE.

  4. These are all great suggestions. I recently moved to a small rental, half the size of my home that is sitting for sell 2,000 miles away. Sigh.
    I will be a better hostess this year though and more grateful for what I’ve got.

  5. Just reading all these comments from “Small space” entertainers warms my heart and reminds me that me and my space don’t have to be shy – we can still throw down some awesome hospitality. Thanks guys!

  6. Thanks Nester! I really needed this. We moved from a 2400 sq.ft. house to one that’s 1400. I’m loving downsizing and having our life be so much simple…with less stuff. I’m excited to have people into our home, but was wondering how to pull it off.

  7. Thanks for this post! I struggle with entertaining so much! Our house is about 1700 square feet, but it has on open living/kitchen/dining area which opens onto a deck. it is not only the space that I have a hard time with though, I have a lot of insecurities from childhood about having people over. I am trying to get up the nerve to have a get together for the holidays with 6 or 8 families, I would just pray it doesn’t rain as we have the deck and a great bonfire area!
    I think I’ll pop over and visit the Reluctant Entertainer to see if I can’t get inspired!
    Bernice
    http://livingthebalancedlife.com/2010/the-fine-art-of-napping/

  8. I make every effort NOT to apologize for imperfections, but it never even occurred to me that doing so could actually hurt someone’s feelings. All the more reason to not to.

  9. On trying to get things in the house looking perfect so you can have people over, someone once told me, “If you’re coming to see me, come anytime! If you’re coming to see my house, make an appointment!”
    I’ve just recently discovered incourage.me…. having a great time being introduced to this inspiring community of bloggers. Keep up the great work, ladies! 🙂

  10. So true and honestly, how often do you visit a friend’s home and really inspect it for perfection, dust, or otherwise? If this is a true friend, you don’t. I am terrible about entertaining because I feel like my house is too small but I LOVE to entertain and cook a bunch of food. I need to do just DO it!

  11. Eek! I almost missed Nester day at (In)Courage!

    I love your thoughts on keeping our motives for entertaining in check. If we are hesitant to have friends over-friends who come to see us and not our house-then our focus is misguided. And I have been guilty of this!

    We often have the kids eat after the adults. They are often so wrapped up in playing it doesn’t occur to them to eat ’til later! Works for our limited table seating.

    Adore you, Dynamo Nesto!

  12. We live in a 1900 sq ft home and have between 15-22 people (including kids) in our home for Thanksgiving every year. The chairs and table show lots of wear, and we sometimes have to set up a pretty beat up folding table with mismatched chairs . However, everything is transformed with table cloths and the formal table settings. Nobody comments on the imperfections, but rather on the beautiful table, the good food, or the hospitality that is given to them. We all want to know that we are wanted and cared for in this fast-paced, non-relational world we live in. Nothing shows it like inviting someone over to share a meal with you.

  13. Loved this post! We just had a huge thanksgiving dinner in or not so huge house…. the tight quarters just add to the cozy factor! What is better then a glass of wine in your hand, kids by your feet and friends all around 😉

    Especially loved this quote: “hospitality is about connection, not perfection“
    No matter how many meltdowns (toddlers) or broken plates (adults) or technical issues (the turkey is still not done??) just being together made for such a wonderful night. I love to think that these are the memories my kids will have – exactly as your quote says – about the connections and not perfection! xo.