Entertaining Basics with Crate & Barrel

When it comes to hosting people for dinner or parties, my family is very casual. We tend to grab whatever plate (or sometimes bowl) is closest, pile it up with food, and sit on the floor. But this technique doesn’t work when you want to host a more formal dinner party, so I raided the Crate & Barrel website to share with you my essential entertaining supply list. This is what I consider the bare minimum amount of things you need for hosting, but if you’re on a budget, feel free to skip some items and only get what you need.

Crate & Barrel have a fantastic range of homewares, so it was easy to find things that I really liked. When it comes to entertaining, there’s a few things you should always have on hand. If you’re hosting a lot of people, it can get costly, so you’ll want to try to spread your budget out. Some stores will have a catering range where you can buy 12 or more of an item, rather than a small 4 piece set.

1: A plain white dinner set.

Square dinnerware is a personal preference of mine. Most people will prefer a more traditional round set, but I feel like square has an edge of modern sophistication. Always go for a basic white set. It goes with any color, your food will look vibrant and amazing, and it’s easy to replace broken items. If you’re not into the all-white look, try mixing in some simple patterns like polka dots, or pieces with thin or thick lines round the edge.

2: Flatware

Aren’t these rose gold cutlery pieces so amazing? I love the rose gold trend that’s been happening lately. It’s such a feminine twist on plain gold, and it adds a warmth to the things around it. Sterling or stainless silver is more common, but don’t be afraid to show a bit of personality. If colored flatware isn’t your thing, try using a colored napkin ring or placecard holder to add a bit of fun to your table.

3: Wine glasses

Stemless wine glasses are a godsend for people like me who have shaky hands. They’re also beneficial once you’ve emptied them a few times and it gets harder to put them back down! I think stemless wine glasses are so chic and trendy, and it’s easy to use them for other drinks if you’re not big on wine. Try to have both red and white wine glasses on hand, however most people aren’t wine connoisseurs and will settle for whichever one you’ve got.

4: Champagne glasses

These champagne glasses are so fun! I prefer to use champagne glasses that have a pattern of some kind on them. Champagne is for celebrating, and it’s such a happy drink that it deserves to have a happy vessel! This one has a subtle pattern that will appear to be almost the same color as your drink, so if you want a more vibrant and fun look, go for gold! A mix of stripes, dots, and swirls makes for a fun variation.

5: Water and other glasses

You absolutely need to have water glasses on hand. Some people prefer not to drink alcohol, and some like to switch between wine and water to keep their intake down. Personally, I prefer whiskey over wine, so having a glass for that makes me feel special and like my desires are catered to. Water glasses also round out a formal table, and can be substituted as orange juice glasses for brunch.

6: Water pitcher

Again, an item I feel is definitely needed. Keeping a water pitcher (or two) on your table means that you aren’t going to be constantly refilling peoples water glasses when they run out. As a bonus, you can also use it for sangrias and other drinks, or put a bunch of fresh flowers in it for decoration!

7: Table cloth

We all know how much I love gray, and tablecloths are not the exception. Using a gray tablecloth will not just protect your table from spills and scratches, but it will also provide an elegant backdrop for whatever kind of table you want to set. Gray goes perfectly with any color, and a tablecloth just feels more sophisticated than just having a bare table.

8: Placemats and napkins

Placemats aren’t really a necessity, but you should definitely get them to pair well with your napkins. I like using a darker placemat, so that it isn’t as visible if guests drop food on it. The napkin that I chose has kind of a champagne-y shimmer to it that would look fantastic with a simple dinner setting. Linen napkins are again sophisticated, and they’re easy to wash and use again.

9: Serving dishes

You could always just plunk your roasting dish down on the table, but serving dishes allow you to play with the appearance of the food. They’re great for any kind of food, and white serving dishes will help the colors and textures pop. Get a couple in different sizes, so that you never have small amounts floating in a sea of blank space, or things precariously balanced on edges.

10: Ice bucket

Ice buckets are so incredible, and I love them so much. Maybe it’s because I’ve never been to a dinner where the drinks are kept in an ice bucket, but they feel so fancy and elegant. There are some drinks that should always be served cold, so having an ice bucket at hand will stop them from warming up as the evening progresses.

11: Candle holders

Candles are great for a more intimate setting, and I love these angled cut holders. There are so many types of candle holders out there, that you’ll always find one you love. If you prefer flameless candles, I suggest getting holders that conceal the actual candle so that people can’t tell. These angled ones are great because they’ve got a bit of edge, and you could also use them for snacks.

And for fun: Throw blankets

If you’re hosting an outdoor event, a great thing to have is throw blankets for your guests. You can get good quality ones for quite cheap, and they’re great to just drape over your shoulders once the night sets in and it gets a little chilly. You can match them, or mix them up with fun colors and patterns. The possibilities are endless!


This is a timeless collection that’s suitable for any event, and will always look sophisticated. If you’re into hosting tea parties, I suggest going to your local thrift store and picking up some cute sets of vintage china with pretty patterns. You can mix and match them for endless combinations. If you’re hosting cook-outs or more kid-friendly events, then keep a stash of cute disposable or melamine dishes and cutlery so you wont have to worry about things being dropped.

For easy decoration, bring in aspects that you already have around, or things from nature. I like to have something really simple on the table like candles, and then have flowers on a separate table so that people arent trying to talk around the blooms. Another tip is to keep overhead lighting on a dimmer, so that you can lower it for a more intimate atmosphere. I also like jazz music for dinner parties, but classic jazz over fast-paced pop jazz.

This post is not in collaboration with, or sponsored by, Crate & Barrel. All opinions are entirely my own!

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