It's all in the details, folks. The best hosting essentials will trick your guests into believing you're preparing a meal à la Carmy Berzatto from The Bear.
Filling your dining table with cozy details and asking Alexa to shuffle a fun playlist is half the battle according to food writer and culinary entrepreneur, Jonah Reider, who writes Food & Wine's bi-monthly Supper Club column and founded Pith.
"It has so much more to do with how you welcome [guests] into your space rather than what you’re welcoming them with," he tells Real Homes.
For the adventurous souls hosting a party in a small apartment, there are a few non-negotiables in Reider's eyes: A pitcher of something delicious at the ready upon friends' arrival, great tunes, and of course, the proper lighting. Don't be afraid to let candles give off a golden-hour glow.
"They add all of this rich, highly dynamic light and make whatever you’re serving look beautiful," Reider says.
As you dip into the world of entertaining at home, make sure to have a few essentials that can carry you from season to season and across cuisines. Here are a few of our favorite selections.
The best hosting essentials for year-round gatherings
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Having your work crew over for a bite? Reuniting with your college roommates? No matter what you're serving or what you're celebrating, these staples are a must for social butterflies.
Should you really want to crank hosting duties into high gear, Reider recommends picking a style of dishes or sets and building it over time.
Sweet dreams are made of cheese. Line up your brie and asiago alongside nuts, crackers, raisins, and the like on this 10" farmhouse-style find. You can use it as a functional cutting board or strictly for serving or decoration.
Whether it's daiquiris or water with lemon, this 60-ounce pitcher allows all of your guests to quench their thirst before digging into appetizers. You can use a handy pitcher for just about any occasion so this is a great year-round addition.
Let's get snackin'
Reider suggests buying yourself time in the kitchen by serving small things for visitors to nibble on. What better way to keep olives and the like in place than cute ceramic serving dishes? You can pull these out for movie night snacks or more sophisticated appetizers.
Raise a glass
Who said a glass of water needs to be boring? Spice things up with something colorful and chic! These colored glasses will look gorgeous in just about any kitchen or displayed on a chic bar cart. Plus they're generous enough to hold some ice water or a mixed cocktail like a gin & tonic.
Wine and dine
Cheers to a glass of vino! Should a guest get a little rowdy, you might want to learn how to remove red wine stains before everyone comes over for girls' night. The iridescent effect looks so pretty in the light and makes for a great Insta pic.
How else are you supposed to keep your tables and surfaces in check? Make sure everything's in tip-top shape thanks to these chic, modern coasters. These heavy-duty coasters won't get lost or damaged in the shuffle of your party. Plus they look great stacked on your coffee table!
If you want to build your collection of hosting essentials over time, start with something basic that won't go out of style. White dinner plates are classic for a reason. Plus, they let other decor items on the table do the talking. You'll be sure to use these year after year.
Price: $7.96 (set of 4)
Elevate girl dinner with chic, reusable napkins. If you want to incorporate fun patterns or playful hues into your table, consider this a way to get things going. The subtle sage green adds a small pop of color to your tablescape while still neutral enough to match any other linens you may be using.
Price: $10.49 (16-piece set)
No matter what type of meal you're serving, you'll need a sleek, reliable silverware set to get the job done — especially if your kitchen skills aren't quite up to snuff yet. You can't go wrong with a classic set of flatware. These ones are stainless steel so they'll hold up well in the dishwasher.
Florals are a fun accent on any table, but you'll need a vase as equally captivating as the petals themselves. This modern decor pick really makes a statement with its unique shape and design. It will really jazz up those $5 Trader Joe's flowers you picked up.
Price: $24.95 (set of 3)
As Reider suggests, candles propped on the table offer "major slay," so might as well stock up on a few pieces of eye candy and make the dining scene worth guests' while right? This set of three comes in a variety of colors so you can pick which option compliments your decor the best.
Price: $39 (set of 6)
You'll need to wrap up the festivities with a decadent pastry or chocolatey brownie. These petite 8"x8" plates are a floral Y2K fix when that sliver of birthday cake — and seconds — is calling. The floral print and scalloped edges add some special touches to your dessert spread.
Not that your party is complete, it's time to start planning your next occasion! For the early risers among us, check out these beloved brunch hosting essentials. Please save the sleepyheads a side of bacon.