Throwing a party can be pleasure and pain, in almost equal measure.

The pleasure comes when everyone is comfortable, happy and having fun. But for those living in cramped Sydney flats and houses, the first priority can be fitting everyone in without turning it into an unplanned orgy.

Open plan living areas, preferably with some connection to an outdoor space, are ideal for entertaining, which is something real estate agents pick up on in their ads.

With fewer walls and more open space people can move freely around; the poor bastard slaving over the barbecue doesn’t have to stand around by him or herself outside and there’s plenty of opportunity for an impromptu dancefloor if the party takes such a turn.

Of course, not everyone is in a position to create an open plan in an outdoor living room.

If you’re in a flat, a rental or have no interest in renos you’ll have to make do with what you’ve got. But there are a few easy tips for making the most of a small space.

Furnishing can go a long way. No one likes having to side-step through a knee-high maze of clutter and flat-pack furniture.

Yes, that gigantic coffee table at Space might look like a good idea, and surrounded by the vastness of a showroom it won’t look as big as it is. When you get home, and realise it takes up most of your available floor space, you’ll feel differently.

It’s always a good idea to measure your rooms before you go furniture shopping, and recognise the value of having less. If you’re in a rental, try and remember you won’t be there forever. And your next house might not have as much room for your four-seater sofa with matching return.

If you have gone and filled your house to the brim and want to have a dancing, standing, moving party, consider shoving some excess into a spare room with a closing door. You might not be able to get to the computer easily, but at least your guests will have room to move.

Kitchens will always become a meeting place. Help your guests out by clearing benches as much as possible, so they’ve got somewhere to place empty glasses.

A kitchen table might be good for a small breakfast gathering, but it will just be a pain if there are 50 people in the kitchen, so shove it against a wall.

And remember to use your assets. If you’re in a tiny flat that has an amazing view, try and channel the guests towards that.

If your backyard is nicer than your indoor living space, get everyone to head out there. And if you’ve got a pool, remember to tell everyone to bring their Speedos. Any house can become a great party venue with a little bit of planning.

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