No matter the size of your gathering it is always essential to have at least 3 different types of good quality serveware. My three favorite pieces are a large white porcelain platter, some type of dip bowl, and a large wood cutting board. These three staple pieces offer endless versatility when showcasing your savory treats at your gathering. And, keep in mind they do not need to be used solely for their intended purpose.
Wood cutting boards are my next favorite entertaining essential item because they provide a beautiful backdrop to all your savory treats. Use it to showcase handmade artisan breads, aromatic cheeses, and scrumptious desserts. I recommend owning at least two, large and small. You never know what type of food you will be showcasing at your next gathering.
The final favorite entertaining essential is a large porcelain serving platter. These platters are excellent for showcasing your Thanksgiving turkey or Christmas ham, and displaying your handmade appetizers. I recommend a basic white platter, it will compliment any dining décor. Also, I suggest owning a couple of these as well and again in various sizes.
Finally, if you can afford it there is one bonus entertaining essential item I suggest owning, some sort of cake stand or raised serving stand. These pieces will add height and functionality to your table. Take notice of the picture below. This table demonstrates all of my favorite essentials and how incorporating unconventional items as well you are able to present a large amount of food while still creating a beautiful and inviting gathering.
Please be sure to follow Inspire to Gather blog, because later this year I will be demonstrating how to build various charcuterie boards and creating beautiful appetizer displays to use at your next gathering. Below is a list of my favorite entertaining essentials and where to purchase them.
Prep bowls, they may be small but they play a big part in cooking and entertaining. These little bowls are one of my favorite kitchen essentials. I not only use them for cooking but I use them for entertaining as well.
My collection consists of a set of 6 oz. white porcelain bowls, clear 1 cup glass bowls, and 2 oz. glass prep bowls. The white bowls are ideal for dips, salsas, and holding chopped veggies when you have a taco bar. They are also the perfect addition to a cheese board or appetizer bar. They are just the right size for nuts and olives. The 1 cup glass bowls work best for veggie preparation and measuring out sauces when cooking your favorite recipes. The small glass bowls are ideal for holding spices when cooking, but can also be used for dipping sauces with appetizers at your next gathering. Be sure to add these small but mighty bowls to your kitchen essentials.
Where to buy my favorite Prep Bowls
Never underestimate a set of basic white dishes. Any table setting can begin with a basic white plate and become something spectacular. Not long ago I purchased a 12 piece set of white plates, bowl, and mugs from Pier 1. Now most of the table settings I create revolve around these basic dishes.
A white plate is like a blank canvas, most other dishes and accessories will coordinate with these basic plates in one way or another. Below is a slideshow of how simply by changing the napkin and/or napkin ring can create several different looks with the same basic white dishes.
Not only does the napkin and napkin ring affect the look and feel of a place setting but the addition of a charger and placemat can have a huge impact on the overall esthetic of the table.
It is just a subtle difference, but changing out the white charger to a black charger plate creates a more modern feel when compared to the classic white and blue of the first setting.
And, again simply by changing the charger plate the esthetic of the table has changed. The galvanized charger plate is perfect for a relaxed lunch gathering while the gold charger plate dresses up the table for a more elegant dinner party.
Finally, here are two examples of how changing the napkins and adding a dinner bowl can change the look and feel of a table setting. The first setting has a simple sage green napkin with wood napkin ring for an understated fall gathering. The second setting has a little more of a country feel with the plaid napkin and the white bowl. Both settings demonstrate how to use the white plates as foundation pieces to coordinate with other colored and patterned dishes.
****Check out Table Settings to see other examples of basic white dishes being used for the foundation to any table setting.
A warm pinky coral and soft sage set the tone for this brunch gathering. This simple table setting began with two white washed wooden candle holders topped with coral and white swirled candles. A faux plant in a cement pot and greenery set the stage for two beautiful coral peonies completing this simple centerpiece.
The place settings all begin with rectangle pinky coral placemats which are topped with round eucalyptus placements. Then the four center place settings each have a galvanized charger and white dinner plate. A soft sage napkin with peony napkin ring complete the place settings.
The two heads of the table have shimmery white chargers, white dinner plates and are topped with pinky coral napkins accompanied by peony napkin rings. The table is complete and ready for a delightful spring brunch.
Holy Cow! Parents really go all out for kids parties. When trying to narrow down the perfect theme for your kids party you will probably feel like me, overwhelmed. Should it be an elaborate party pirate themed party or a simple backyard barbeque with a few balloons and how much is this going to cost. With the average kids party costing anywhere from $200 up to a few thousand dollars how do you make something affordable without looking cheap. Well, you are in luck, I have found a great party theme that won't break the bank. You may need to channel your inner crafty spirit, but it will be worth it in the end to save some dough. A rainbow party theme!
All you need to successfully tackle this theme is rainbow colored supplies. Go to the local party store or even dollar store and purchase a few different color plates, napkins, cups, plastic table cloths, balloons, and crepe paper. You can then designate one wall in the house to showcase the theme. Start with a blank wall and table. The table can be any size (long, short, narrow, or round) just as long as it is big enough to highlight your rainbow themed goodies. Then start blowing up balloons and taping them to the wall along with the brightly colored crepe paper. Before long your rainbow backdrop is complete and you only spent about $15.
After the backdrop is done stack your brightly colored plates, napkins, and cups on one end of the table. Then add you goodies and create a buffet style food station. Fill in holes and add some height to the table with a few cake stands topped with plates of fruit (natures food rainbow) and glass jars filled with bright colored candy. These simple additions will pull the whole table together and complete the look.
***If you are feeling very ambitious then try one of these balloon bundles hanging from the ceiling or this cool rainbow and cloud idea for a photo backdrop.
Christmas in the kitchen this year was a nod to the farmhouse design style I absolutely adore. Red and black buffalo check was used all throughout the space. Little pops of the print adorned wreaths hanging from my cabinets, hung on the kitchen Christmas tree, and of course on my dining table.
When designing my dining table this year I centered the entire space around the red and black buffalo check table runner I purchased from hobby lobby at the beginning of the season. Two wooden black candle holders topped with rich green candles were then placed a top the runner, followed by the wood and black cake stand. From there I added a few ceramic trees and a set of rattan spheres on the cake stand for an everyday look.
To change up the look for Christmas dinner I knew I had to find the perfect plates to accent my basic white dishes, so I began searching all my favorite stores for just the right addition. After a couple weeks of searching I finally settled on this four piece set of salad plates from Pier 1. I loved how each plate was different while still a cohesive collection.
Once I brought the plates home everything came together. I began by placing four eucalyptus placemats purchased from Pier 1 last season on the table, followed by the subtle shimmery white charger plates. Next, the basic white dinner plates wrapped in bold red linen napkins were placed on the chargers. Finally, each place was set with the whimsical salad plates and topped with a rattan sphere.
After the places were set I worked on the centerpiece. I definitely could have left the everyday centerpiece since it was just going to be myself, husband, and two kids for dinner, but I wanted to make it more special and I wanted to introduce different elements to create more interest. I added mercury glass trees for an elegant touch, white ceramic houses and a sparkly rattan tree to continue the farmhouse theme, and just a few springs of artificial red berries to pull your eye up. Everything was complete, now it was time to enjoy a delicious ham dinner.
Thanksgiving was especially exciting this year because it was our first one in our brand new home and my sister and her family were going to be joining us. Sure, we have had plenty of memorable thanksgivings, but none that were in our home, we owned. My husband, two kids, and I have always been renters, so as hard as we tried those different apartments never felt like home. So, this year I wanted to make Thanksgiving special.
I cooked a big beautiful turkey, deliciously herby corn bread stuffing, fluffy mashed potatoes with gravy, green beans, corn, cranberry sauce, and two pumpkin pies with homemade whipped cream. The food was planned so all I had to do was set the table to accommodate nine people, that was the tricky part.
Our beautiful concrete table can only accommodate six people comfortably, maybe eight if we squeeze together. Therefore I had to utilize our beautiful island my husband just built. I recently purchased four black metal bar stools so I knew we would have enough seating, the only issue was trying to create a cohesive table setting. I only have one four piece place setting of orange dishes, four white wheat embossed salad plates, four black chargers, four galvanized chargers, and four plaid napkins. So it was time to utilize my basic white dinner and salad plates, and collection of other everyday napkins, placements, and chargers.
First I worked on the table. I laid down a simple black table runner, two black wooden candle holders with black and white candles, and the wood and black cake stand I recently purchased from Kirklands.
Next, I set the table with the four black chargers on both sides and used two of my galvanized chargers for the heads of the table. The black chargers were topped with rich orange dinner plates, beautiful white wheat embossed salad plates. and plaid napkins. The galvanized chargers were topped with basic white dinner plates, rich orange salad plates, and sage green napkins. The two different looks were brought together with modern square wooden napkin rings.
I then created a simple centerpiece on top of the cake stand with a couple ceramic pumpkins, a medium sized seagrass pumpkin, and a couple springs of artificial greenery. I wanted the table setting to feel clean and modern with a touch of traditional farmhouse.
The dining table was set now I needed to figure our how to make to the island setting complement the table. Since, the three youngest kids were going to be sitting at the island I knew I could go a little more simple. I used a simple round white placemat, a white dinner plate, white salad plate, and an orange bowl.
The look was completed with the sage green napkin and modern square wooden napkin ring. However, when its all said and done I knew the kids weren't really going to use all those plates, but I at least wanted them to still feel part of the dining experience.
Everyone enjoyed dinner, we all probably ate more then we should have, but it was so worth it to be able to share Thanksgiving together in our new home. Next, up Christmas!
The winter blues are starting to set in. You’re tired, possibly under the weather, or just sick of being cold. So, now is the time to lift spirits and chase away the dreary days with a gathering of friends. Liven up your table with inviting blues, bold patterns, and delicious food.
A galvanized charger plate, basic white dinner plate, and light blue salad plate lend a subdued backdrop to this bold navy and white geometric bowl I found at Home Goods the other day. The bowl is accented with a navy cloth napkin and understated DIY greenery napkin ring. The napkin ring is made simply by wrapping a six inch piece of a wired green paper like garland around the napkin. It turned out to be exactly what this place setting needed. The place settings are then brought together with a classic navy and white stripe table runner, etched wine glasses, basic silverware, and a simple centerpiece. Below you will see to different centerpiece ideas.
Inspire to Gather
Welcome to our website and blog. We are so pleased you have decided to stop by and join us on this wonderfully crazy journey called life. Here you will find inspiration to create a warm and inviting home, along with tips and ideas for throwing a beautiful gathering, some of our favorite recipes and products, along with little bits and pieces of our own lives. So get comfy and enjoy!
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