We may earn revenue from the products available on this page and participate in affiliate programs.

There’s nothing like warm-weather entertaining and with summer just around the corner, it’s pretty much all we can think about. A new season means a much-needed refresh and that goes for your hosting essentials as well.

From fresh linens and lustrous flatware to avant-garde floral arrangements and an equally vibrant (and mouthwatering) menu, there are a handful of details that have the ability to transform a standard dinner party from an ordinary shindig to the fete of the season.

Before you send out the invites, take a peek at the items and table setting ideas no party should be without.


A Centerpiece

Bring in a vase to house fresh flowers from the farmers’ market or, if you’re feeling bold, stick to the tabletop and recreate this stunning, edible, display. Haven’t you heard? Fruit is the new floral.

Photography by Stephanie Rudy

Table Linens

Opt for versatile napkins that can work for both brunch and dinner, as well as indoors and out. Pair the dining table with a free-flowing cover or runner, to lend an elegant touch, or keep it bare for the ultimate al fresco vibe.



Invest in serving bowls and platters with serious character or charm and allow the menu to carry the look home. A solid flatware set goes without saying—because a serving dish wouldn’t be complete without one. Invest in a set you’ll want to bring out for every occasion, regardless of how special it is, or not.

Photography by Cassandra Monroe

A Properly-Stocked Bar

A curated bar cart or tray is essential for a good evening, with spirits flowing freely. Invest in proper barware, this should go without saying. A copper shaker to match your new pineapple shot glasses (how can you resist!). Don’t forget an ice bucket or wine chiller to keep your favorite bottle of white chilled to perfection.

Don’t have room for a bar cart? Here’s how you can squeeze one into a tight space.

Photography by WYNN MYERS

A Pop of Color

This colorful dinner at Rancho Pillow showcases a multitude of ways to bring in sunny hues: Be it by way of fresh florals, patterned plates, or whimsical cocktail napkins (bonus points if they’re the cheeky variety), a saturated burst of color is always welcome at the dinner table. While you’re at that, splurge on a new set of plates to give your go-to set a well-deserved break.

Photography by Brittany Ambridge

Functional Accoutrements

We’re talking about the variety that brings on serious style and flair. Think a sleek napkin holder you’ll actually want to set on the table and salt and pepper shakers that aren’t messing around. Finally, throw in some sleek napkin rings to lend a lustrous detail to your best linens.


A Cutting Board

Versatility is at the core of this one. Utilize a cutting board that can also double as a serving tray for appetizers or cheese hour.  For those who find themselves strapped for time, here’s how to assemble a cheeseboard in 5 minutes or less.

Photography by Michael Wiltbank

Mood Lighting

Bring in candlesticks to provide the dinner table with ample lighting and an additional touch of glam. But for the more casual table, we suggest free-standing candles for a pared down look. If you’re entertaining outdoors, string mini globe lights around the yard or terrace for a delightfully ambient touch.

Photography by BELATHéE

Background Music

Bump up the tunes to create a relaxing and laid-back ambiance. This rad collaboration will not only provide the perfect background music but it will fit right in with your decorative scheme, regardless of what it may be.

This article was originally published April 11


2016. It has been updated with new information.

Discover more ways to make the most of your fete:

How to Host a Low-Stress, Bohemian Dinner Party The Perfect Playlist for the After-Dinner Party Must-Have Essentials for Your Next Dinner Party