Ever feel like you’ve accumulated so much hosting and entertaining stuff, but most of the items you rarely use? Or, perhaps, you don’t have much in the way of hosting and want to add to your collection, but feel overwhelmed with where to start? If you answered yes to either of these questions, then you’re in the right place. After years as industry professionals and launching our own collection, we’re spilling the tea about what we can’t live without when it comes to inviting people into our homes.
One thing we learned as kids while watching our grandmothers is that hosting doesn’t require much. If you have an open heart, follow Nana’s Rule, and have a desire for connection, then you’re already prepared to open your doors to loved ones. However, there are staples both Mimi and Nana had in their hosting repertoire that made hosting a lot easier. And, well, isn’t making something easier what we all want?! With that, we’ve decided to reveal our insider knowledge with 6 Entertaining Essentials You Actually Need to help you save time, money, and hopefully some cabinet space!
Looking to add items seen in this post to your hosting collection? Shop our carefully curated entertaining essentials at the bottom of this post.
(P.S. Wondering what items you can live without? Check out 8 Unexpected Entertaining Items Experts Say Everyone Can Live Without on The Spruce, and find out our answer!)
Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means we may earn a commission (at no cost to you!) should you choose to make a purchase using our links. It’s okay – we love these products, and hope you will too!!
6 Entertaining Items You Actually Need
#1: A Good Playlist
Music not only creates a mood, it can also be a great solution to any awkward conversation gaps. We suggest light instrumental music, whether it be classical or contemporary choices, so that there are no lyrics competing with guests’ conversations. Search for instrumental playlists on your favorite streaming apps and devices, so you don’t have to worry about making your own. We especially love doing this during the holidays for an instant festive vibe.
We love pitchers because they serve more than one purpose! And we don’t think we’re alone in our love of these entertaining essentials because our pitchers are some of our best sellers from our Shoppe! Pitchers are, first and foremost, a vessel for ice-cold water or seasonal beverage that can be placed on a tabletop to encourage guests to self-serve their refills, allowing you to have one less thing to worry about. In addition, we absolutely love using pitchers as vases for greenery or flowers and incorporating them into a Centerpiece Medley. So, whether you use your pitcher to serve refreshing beverages or to add life as vases, you’re instantly and effortlessly enhancing your guests’ experience.
#3: Neutral Dinnerware
Whether you’re just starting out with your entertaining collection or you’re looking to simplify what you already have, you can’t go wrong with neutral dinnerware. With whites and off-whites as your base, you can then achieve endless tablescape possibilities by adding accentual, seasonal hues. Furthermore, investing in quality dinnerware will save you money, as your pieces will last and can be used over and over again.
#4: Disposable Napkins
Disposable napkins are an entertaining must-have, as they’re affordable and can be used and tossed for easy clean up. But what if you have a disposable napkin that had a double purpose? We love Cotier Brand’s Convokins because in addition to being quality, disposable napkins, they’re also conversation starters! Use these as ice breakers at your next dinner party, or even at your next family dinner. You might be shocked by how these napkins get the conversation flowing!
(This festive photo above is from our How to Create Gourmet Hot Chocolate Bar feature! Check it out for a fun way to spend time with loved ones – in any season!)
#5: Serving Trays
Serving trays are seriously one of the best investments you can make as a home host. Not only will a tray save you trips going to and from the kitchen, it also gives your tabletop an organized, put-together aesthetic. (Oversized Charcuterie Boards can easily be used as serving trays, as well!) We’ve been known to use our favorite Natural Paulownia Wood & Leather Tray as chargers too, which just adds another way to use serving trays when inviting loved ones into your home. With so many uses, we can’t recommend serving trays enough as a must-have entertaining essential!
#6: Warm Elements
Creating warmth can be such a game changer when it comes to inviting people in. Very much like creating a play list, incorporating warm elements can help relax guests (and yourself!), encouraging everyone to stay a while longer. Furthermore, these elements can easily add visual interest to any space.
So, what is a warm element? Our go-to items for adding warmth to our tablescapes are candles and a textural table throw. Candles illuminate the space and people are naturally drawn to them. (Don’t forget to lower any overhead lighting to add to a relaxed ambiance!) With table throws, anything with a soft texture is going to contribute to a feeling of coziness and encourage deeper conversations.
That’s it! These are the must-have items that every hostess should have in her collection, and that we always have in ours. Remember, just having a lot of stuff is not the goal here. Instead, creating your own collection is about having quality, multipurpose entertaining essentials that make your life easier. Our hope is that by us sharing our knowledge as industry professionals, we help you realize that less sometimes is more. So, clear out the clutter and open up your doors this season, and always remember you’re #hostfulatheart.