By Cyrus Ferguson

Published on July 25, 2018

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ILLUSTRATION BY CYRUS FERGUSON

Summer is here, and the time has come to host outside. Regardless if your venue is a backyard, patio, cement rooftop, or park, there’s nothing quite like bringing friends together to break bread under a warm sunset.

Above all else, hosting is the art of purposefully creating a thoughtful and engaging atmosphere. As beings driven by sensory perception, our moods and expressions are shaped by the spaces we inhabit. The difference between an average shared dinner, and an extraordinary communal celebration, can truly come down to details like light, texture, and color. A well-prepared meal will always be appreciated, but only through presentation can it be elevated to an experience.

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The Summer palette I’m currently feeling.

Knowing the importance of these finishing touches can be overwhelming, but there’s no need to stress. If one approaches hosting as an experimental practice, an opportunity to play with design, cooking, and personal interaction, and see what works best for you and your home, there’s truly no pressure to get everything right at once.

That said, there’s no reason to not get a head start on one essential element; your tabletop wares. In order to kickstart your hosting adventures, we’ve curated a starter kit of our favorite Jet.com tabletop pieces to launch you into warm and buoyant Summertime vibes.

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Tablecloth and 6 Napkin Set, $56

Step one in constructing your curated table is to envelope your dining surface in a textile that establishes the color palette. Here I’ve selected a woven textured table cloth in muted ochre and marmalade tones that nod to the setting summer sun.

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Set of 4 Woven Placemats In Aloe, $25

These placemats are a woven synthetic fiber (polypropylene to be exact) meaning they’re durable and ultra easy to clean, so stray barbecue sauce is no problem. I fancy this soft seafoam green as an unexpected complement to the ochre of the tablecloth.

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Marble and Acacia Wooden Serving Cheese Board Set, $55

Cheeses and charcuterie are important topics here at Domino HQ, so it follows that we also take our cheese boards quite seriously. This board has a traditional paddle shape, but the materials are anything but. The mixed marble and acacia wood play off one another in a striking way that would still be at home in the most neutral of kitchens.

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Fortessa Camp 9 in. Coupe Round Plate – Set of 6, $60

For your daily plate set, plain white is the way to go. For your summer hosting? Mix it up! Formed from BPA-free melamine in a speckled navy, with handsome yet functional walled sides, it’s an all-purpose camp plate with style.

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Set of 2 Marble Melamine Serve Bowls, $18

To ground the marble theme of this kit is this set of two serving bowls. Made from melamine for optimum durability (for who among us hasn’t tragically dropped a bowl of guacamole), these will also picnic well and wash easily.

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Acacia 2 Piece Salad Servers Set, $24

Those of us that have aimlessly wandered the expanses of a big box home store know the challenge of finding attractive serving utensils. Stick to the acacia wood motif with this pleasingly rounded pair.

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Oak Salt & Pepper Shaker Set, $23

Never thought you’d come across sculptural salt and pepper shakers, eh? Well I’m here to show you they exist and can easily become part of your thoroughly contemporary tabletop.

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Olive Wood 3 Inch Pinch Bowl, $21

So you’ve just spent the morning infusing your sea salt with Tarragon. Bravissimo. Now pair that seasoned secret weapon with a equally tasty serving vessel.

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Marble Butter Keeper, $22

Speaking of tiny, refined, serving vessels. You’ll find me keeping my real Irish butter ready to spread at perfect room temperature consistency on homemade sourdough at any given time with this marble keeper.

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Aqua Glass Carafe with Cork Stopper, $39

On the path to upgrading your hosting, there comes a time when one can no longer serve water directly from one’s plastic water filter. Plan ahead, infuse your water with cucumber and lemongrass, and serve it from this rad Swedish carafe.

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Oval Oak White Wine Decanter, $30

Did you know decanting your wine can make it taste better? As an advanced host you should add this savvy move into your repertoire ASAP. Think how much much fancier your guests will perceive that $15 sauvignon blanc when it’s served out of this stately decanter. Bonus points for the fact the oak stopper detail matches the salt and pepper shakers above.

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Foster & Rye Enamel Cocktail Shaker Set, $30

Final hosting challenge: Prepare a signature cocktail for your guests (hibiscus Cosmopolitan, anyone?). Shake with panache using this starry midnight blue number that will give a subtle nod to your speckled dining plates.

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