With the holidays fast approaching and entertaining top of mind, there’s no time like the present to stock up on your dinner party essentials and get ready for the upcoming season.
This rings true for pretty much everyone: Are you the upscale event host, who knows how to distinguish their fish fork from their run-of-the-mill salad fork? Are you the cozy get-together type, who invites a handful of friends over for delicious stick-to-your-ribs comfort food that would send Gisele Bundchen running for the hills? Or maybe you’re neither, preferring to get your nourishment via takeout consumed on your living room floor and not wanting to subject potential guests to that. In which case, you are the guest.
Which means that, whether you’re stocking up for a season of hosting or need to add a few bits and bobs to your hostess gift shopping list, you’re probably in need of a few new additions.
One of our favorite big box retailers presenting an assortment of surprisingly upscale-looking entertaining pieces at a doable price point is Target. Maybe it’s a side effect of launching a slew of home brands, each of which releases a new collection seemingly every other week—there’s a lot to sift through. Specifically, a lot of entertaining essentials. From cookware to servingware to bougie-looking table linens, you’re sure to find something to trick your fellow dinner party-goers into thinking you’re a lot fancier than you are.
Not to say that the basis of a good dinner party is trickery and deceit, but inducing a little bit of design envy never hurt anyone, right?
Keep reading for some of our favorite luxe-looking entertaining essentials from Target, perfect for fall and the holidays without veering into stereotypes. Design-forward offerings at the Target prices we love… and not a pumpkin or snowflake motif in sight.
Celebrity chef Travis London put it best when we interviewed him to feature his eclectic, luxurious-looking apartment: “Even if you have Trader Joe’s wine, putting it in a decanter opens it up and makes it look fancy.” Truer words have never been spoken, and even if you’re someone who doesn’t know the first thing about decanting wine (present party included), it makes for a sleek serving piece that won’t make your table look cluttered.
It’s also great if you’ve spent time cooking up an elaborate cocktail—something vibrantly colored with garnishes deserves to be on full display. Keep a couple of these decanters fully stocked on your bar cart or drink station to make it feel more elegant.
Speaking of wine, there’s more than you can do to make the arguably most fun part of any get-together interesting. Swap out those wine glasses you bought years ago out of necessity—there comes a point in adult life when one cannot, in good conscience, continue to drink wine out of a red solo cup or teacup—for an elevated silhouette.
These glasses, made in Italy, feature a contemporary square shape. According to the makers, the broader base allows for wine oxygenation and the slightly tapered top keeps all aromas restrained in the glass for peak enjoyment. Good for the wine, good for your table setting—these are all-around a great purchase and investment in your barware.
Stoneware anything looks instantly chic, and when it comes in a cool black hue with a modernist shape, we love it all the more. Opt for ceramic dinnerware to give your holiday tablescape a little boost. It’s simple, understated sophistication in the best possible way—and for $60 you can get an entire set. Equally perfect for making weeknight pasta dinners feel a bit more special and for whipping out at a gathering to add a contemporary touch to your tablescape, this collection works for any occasion and every meal. There are even little mugs, should your holiday gathering be a brunch instead of a dinner party.
There’s nothing more impressive than brandishing an impeccably decorated cake at the end of a meal. A show-stopping dessert deserves an equally attractive serving vessel, and a marble cakestand trumps a regular ole dinner plate any day of the week. The simple acacia wood base won’t detract from whatever delicacy you plate atop the platter.
Don’t have much of a sweet tooth? A cake stand is also prime for pulling together a last-minute centerpiece. Try assembling a melange of fruit on top (fruit is the new floral, remember?); pomegranates are always a festive touch, while citrus fruit will add a fresh fragrance to any tabletop. Or pull from some of our favorite non-traditional fall centerpiece ideas, any of which would look great on top of this marble and wood cake stand.
Kick off your meal with a hearty soup or seasonal salad, served in one of these chic porcelain bowls. The set of six features abstract patterns in a unifying shade of deep blue—not too matchy-matchy, but just enough cohesion so your tablescape won’t look thrown together.
These are also great for a more casual, aperitivo-esque fall fête. Pass around your favorite dips in these bowls to accompany a crudité platter, pair with a few bottles of delicious wine, and host a more low-key gathering that marries simplicity and style.
If you’re a fan of minimalist elegance, these simple cloth napkins are all about form-meets-function. The pared back design ensures these blend effortlessly into any design scheme you have planned for your table. Intricate coral embroidery brings in just a hint of color. These napkins come in a pack of four and are part of Chip and Jo’s beloved Hearth & Hand Target line—so there’s the added benefit of having table linens endorsed by the queen of upscale simplicity, Joanna Gaines, herself present at your next party.
Love Mediterranean style, but not sure how to bring that home in an affordable fashion? Enter this ceramic bowl. Fill with lemons—from your very own lemon tree or your very own neighborhood grocery store, depending on how committed you are to this theme—for a simple but statement-making centerpiece reminiscent of something could possibly find in Sorrento.
Part of Target’s Certified International collection, this piece is the quintessence of rustic style and will make a great accompaniment to your tablescape. Both from a utilitarian standpoint as a serving tool, and from a design point of view.
Cutlery is one of those things that’s supremely boring to shop for. A spoon is a spoon, right? But when you come across something as cool as matte black silverware, it’s worth the purchase—if only to elevate one of the most traditionally unexciting things about a tabletop.
Trendy without being too temporarily en vogue, this sleek set will serve you well for years to come. Aside from the unexpected color finish, it’s otherwise pretty simple, therefore lending itself both to formal occasions and family dinners.
Okay, so this one won’t fit neatly into a ribbon-wrapped bag as a hostess gift, but if you’re a frequent entertainer you need a good bar cart. They’re useful for so much more than just a cocktail station (though, by all means, use it as such). An appetizer table people can gravitate towards at their leisure during a cocktail party, for one. Also, they make setup and cleanup a cinch—just stack all plates, glassware, and flatware onto this mobile station to limit your trips to the kitchen.
We love the understated yet contemporary design, which works in every room of the house so you’ll get use from this beyond holiday entertaining season. Use in your home office to store files and important deskside essentials; use in your bathroom to hold toiletries and extra towels. It’s an organizational tool no home should be without.
It’s soup season—time to stock up on bowls. Matte black stoneware, as previously discussed, is a perennial favorite for infusing an instant dose of unexpected style into any setting. And when paired with some of our favorite autumnal soups, like creamy butternut squash soup or immune-boosting roasted carrot, sweet potato, and ginger soup, the black pops all the more against the vibrant, warm-toned food. Pick up a set of these gorgeous bowls to have on-hand for various serving needs—you’ll get use out of them for the dessert round, too.
Nothing quite says “look at me, I’m living a life of luxury” like frivolously serving numerous guests (and risking the ensuing spillage) on a linen tablecloth. Except, when the linen tablecloth in question is under $25 and machine washable, the stakes are actually pretty low.
The crisp material is eons more interesting than anything cotton, and will incorporate an element of rustic farmhouse into your tablescape. Keep the rest of your setting simple, using soft neutrals and layering other textures, for an easy but impactful tabletop.
See more entertaining hacks to try now:
How to Make a Proper (and Pinterest-Perfect) Charcuterie Board
$100 at Trader Joe’s = a Really Great Party
10 Things Every Dinner Party Should Have