Clever Carly: Event Design for Small Spaces

Break out your inner interior designer with these small venue décor strategies

Hello, busy planners!

Big, flashy events might get all of the attention, but modest meetings deserve recognition, too. 

Whether you’re hosting a small gathering or dealing with a tight budget, sometimes a humbler space is more appropriate for your meeting purpose. And that’s OK, of course. But don’t subscribe to the thinking that a smaller space doesn’t require—or have room for—décor and other design elements. In fact, small spaces might need styling more than big venues: With attendees in tighter quarters, the space around them becomes the focal point. 

Here’s how to make small venues shine—and seem spacious—from floor to ceiling:

Keep it neutral.

Busy patterns can make a room look busy, too—and as they say, less is more. Stick with solids in a neutral color palette, particularly focusing on white and other bright tones. Unlike bold, dark colors, lighter hues create a sense of airiness that can open up a room.

Use round tables.

Don’t be square. Circular seating arrangements allow more seating than their square and rectangular counterparts. 

Choose small centerpieces.

Large, tall centerpieces can draw guests’ attention upward, making the ceiling appear closer and dwarfing the rest of the room. Instead, keep it simple with shorter centerpieces. Small floral arrangements, even a plate of snacks, will do the trick.

Incorporate mirrors.

On for a little illusion? Mirrors make any space feel larger and lighter. If you lack wall space, try using a mirrored piece of furniture as an accent or statement piece. 

Go big on furniture.

A surefire way to make a room feel cramped is to clutter it with a lot of chairs, tables and other furnishings. Bigger, more sizeable pieces can give the appearance of a larger space.

Turn up the lights.

A room shadowed in darkness will make it appear smaller. Add some brightness by opening the curtains or placing lamps in the corners of the room. Consider lighting candles, too—but don’t get carried away. Too many candles can bring an air of romance not suited for professional gatherings

Opt for multiuse.

In small spaces, function rules. Look for design pieces that are multipurpose: seating that can fold up and away during team activities that require more workspace, for instance. 

Remember, while your meeting space does play a role in setting the tone and ambience of a gathering, an event venue does not a meeting make. It’s about the people, the connections they forge, and knowledge learned. With that in mind, a meeting can never really go wrong. 

Until next time.

Plan well,
Clever Carly