Entertainment Essentials

By Logan Yost (NYC Contributor)

If you’ve read my previous articles, you know I favor simple, timeless dinnerware, glassware, and cookware, but it’s always fun to bring in some pieces that make a statement. Entertaining and setting a table is so much more than just throwing a plate in front of a chair with some food on it. When I set a table, I place the dinnerware, then silverware, then glassware. I then put out flowers in the center, set the empty platters and bowls where I will have them for the dinner, and then I fill in all the gaps with as many tea light holders as I can manage.  This way, you’ve set the table to be functional first, you’ve made sure that candlelight will be even from end to end, and you haven’t left any empty spaces that may disrupt the eye as it moves around the table. Along with a strong lighting statement hung above the table this approach will make for an unforgettable experience.

The best part of having your staple entertaining pieces in simple clean colors and finishes is that you can seamlessly add fun accents for little money and effort to totally transform everything. There are a few things I feel very strongly about when it comes to tables. Dinnerware should always be white and patternless so the eye sees the food first and so you don’t tire of using them day in and day out, glassware should be clean, simple, and fairly inexpensive so you don’t hate your friends for breaking them, scotch and bourbon should always be served in a fancy glass with good weight to it, barware should always be interesting, candle holders and overhead lighting should always be inexpensive so it can be changed out when you get bored, cocktail napkins should always be fun and colorful, people should never be served on paper plates or with plastic cups so make the initial investment in appetizer plates and simple glassware, and finally, you shouldn’t listen to me, you should choose what you love and what inspires you to entertain. You cant go wrong if you truly love what you own, so always trust yourself and you’ll never regret your purchases. {click on the photo to zoom in}
1. Simple large pitchers for martinis, sangria, or simple lemon water. CB2 $5.95
2. Fancy sparkly scotch & bourbon double-old-fashion glasses. Tiffany & Co $30.00
3. Clean large wine glasses that work double duty for white and red. Tiffany & Co $20.00
4. Clean everyday glassware that’s also inexpensive. CB2 $2.50
5. Amazing mid-century style glasses used for martinis AND champagne. Sur La Table $12.95
6. Fantastic tea light candleholders in mixed metal. Crate & Barrel $4.95
7. Vintage barware like this Penguin Ice Bucket for $24.99 on Ebay. Often available on Ebay, Amazon, Fab.com, and in
second hand stores
8. Fun crushed “paper” espresso cups. Available in different sizes. A+R Global Design $22.00 a pair
9. Cocktail napkins in bold colors and patterns. Gracious Home $5.00 for 20
10. Clean, simple, and CHEAP appetizer plates. Buy a stack of 20-30 once and never give it another thought! CB2 $1.95
11. Timeless French white porcelain dinnerware you can put it in the oven. Williams-Sonoma $84.00 for a 5 piece place setting
12. Inexpensive paper lanterns in different sizes and colors. paperlanternstore.com $.90 and up.
13. Classic bistro flatware. Crate & Barrel $39.95 per place setting
14. Fun kitchen timers. Alessi $68
15. Accessories with a sense of humor. Alessi $63
As a designer, I find many different styles appealing and it can often be hard for me to settle on things when I’m purchasing for myself. Over time I discovered that the key was simple staple pieces so I can inexpensively quench my thirst for “fashion” when the mood strikes me and it doesn’t end up breaking the bank. You know how a black dress looks completely different depending on your hair, jewelry, and shoes? Well, dinnerware and glassware is the dress, and all the extras are those little gems like napkins, candle holders, and fun kitchen accessories.
Have fun and remember, dinner is about so much more than just the food. Savor the whole experience.
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