There are many ways to make a space feel smaller -- lighting, props, and furniture come readily to mind. But first, it's important to consider the content of the event. By that I mean -- is there a center stage? Does the program and entertainment need to be seen by all? Then the solution is not necessarily more and larger props, but to redefine the space by adding a wall or dropping the ceiling so the guests' line of sight is not impeded.
Creative ways to "drop" a ceiling...
Using fabric and giant lampshades, my team and I at AOO Events lowered the ceiling of this expansive tent to create a more intimate event while not blocking anyone's view of the stage.
In this case, we used lighting. Or rather, we didn't use lighting. You can see here that just by strategically lighting the ceiling, keeping most of it dark, and using oversized chandeliers, we dramatically changed the feeling of this ballroom.
For an outdoor event, the use of stringer lights serves two purposes. It offers a consistent amount of lighting for safety, and it helps design the "ceiling,"or parameters, of the space.
Creating intimacy when lines of sight are less important...
Giant lamps allowed us to fill up this open event space and create almost a living room type of feeling.
We broke up the space in this large ballroom with the use of fabric dividers. On one side, there was a lounge setting; on the other, a buffet. Sheer fabric with textures work well because they don't create "hard" walls you can't see through. If location and budget allow, hang sheers from the ceiling for the best effect. But if that isn't possible, ground-supported sheers (as shown here) can be just as dramatic.
Now, the next time someone "gives you more space," you will know exactly what to do with it!