Pre-Fall Dining & Entertaining Guide
Patio season is upon us, with beaches, pools, and campsite full. But as the days slowly shorten, we can't help but plan for the season ahead. When your thoughts turn to place cards and playlists and inspiration boards fill up with table decor, you'll want to prep your space and plan for guests - for a meal or overnight.
Whether it's a dinner party you're planning or if you're looking forward to the holiday season, we have everything you'll need to gear up for guests.
Set Up Dining Room Furniture to Welcome Guests
The first thing you'll want to do is prep your space for dinners, games, conversation, or drinks. Follow our checklist below to prep for the autumn.
Find Your Style
First apartment, or first home? Downsizing or upgrading? Look beyond the fully set table to the foundational pieces beneath. The table, the chairs, dining bench, bar table, and dish storage. These items of dining room furniture are available in a range of styles from traditional to transitional, modern minimalism, maximalist, rustic, or mid century throwback. Narrow down styles that appeal to you while being able to stand the test of time.
Measure Your Space
After identifying your style and before shopping, you'll want to make sure you have an idea of which pieces fit best in your space.
Measurement is key, here, and not only measurement of your space. The wall a table will rest against, if any. The door that it will have to fit through to make it into your space. The amount of clearance for pushing back chairs at the end of an evening.
A dinette table will be best for a small condo or apartment, while an expandable table that sits up to 12 is much better for a dedicated, generous dining room that has more space.
Take Inspiration From Form and Function
When it's time to upgrade or furnish a space, be sure you're clear about how you'll use dining pieces. A table that folds away can clear room for dancing the night away, or for easy cleaning.
A round dinette creates a bistro feel for intimate dinner parties of up to four people. Upholstered dining bench make for cozy family meals, and bar tables with corresponding stools lend a sophistication to meals and drinks.
Choose One of EQ3's Dining Tables
Large and Expandable Dining Tables
Leaves or no leaves? The Harvest, Hatch, Bon, Close, and Ease expandable for a crowd. Large scale dining tables without expansion include Mesa, Homework, Kacia, and Place. Or customize one of the Kendall collection.
Small Tables, Bar Tables, Dinettes
The unique Hallie folds down, tucking away for a multi-use room and includes storage for napkins, place settings, and more.
Pick bar and counter tables, like Kendall or Simone, for a restaurant experience at home. For small dining rooms or open concept homes, dinettes work wonderfully. Choose square Kacia to fit against a wall or round Mesa to make a statement in the center of your floor plan.
Narrow Down Seating Options
Counter height tables make this easy: choose an upholstered seat that sits tall like Lima, Oles, Nixon. Or go for wood finishes with Tami, Lyla, or Dawn. Just be sure to decide whether you'd like a backless stool, or seating that makes it so you, or a guest, can lean back.
Dining chairs offers a plethora of options. Curved backs from our Lyla collection in multiple finishes. Straight backs that come upholstered like Acel, or in wood finishes like Tami. Modern formality from Valentin, or the casual elegance of Nixon. For seating that's both unique and timeless, Wren offers upholstered and wood backs.
Find the style of chair that will support you and match your table, then mix wood and upholstery if you're looking for an eclectic look that's screams you.
Finish with Dining Accessories
The fundamentals nailed down, add everything you need to make and serve meals. Outfit your dining and cooking space from the list below, or fill in any gaps you have in your accoutrements.
Plates, bowls, cups. When choosing the dishes that will house your menu, focus on the overall look of your kitchen and table. Mix in a rustic touch with stoneware, or a modern edge with white china. Bring the outdoors in with natural stone, or complement your maximalist space with bold patterns from Marimekko.
Utensils can be curved or straight-edged in traditional stainless steel. For forks, knives, and spoons that truly stand out, go for subtle rose gold or striking black.
Finally, stock your cupboards with enough glasses for you and your guests. For a lovely statement, explore our range of Vesper glassware. With vessels for water, wine, cocktails, and martinis in unique shapes, this collection guarantees that your table will stand out.
Explore textured and smooth glass collections. Or add stoneware tumblers to set off a modern rustic or modern farmhouse table.
Items for Cooking and Serving
Cutting vegetables. Serving Coffee and tea. Presenting courses and pouring drinks. A complete table requires visually striking dishes for all these tasks.
And don't forget a serving tray or two. Design grazing boards on river stones, or carry drinks on handled serving trays in walnut or oak finishes.
Finally, complete a dining or bar table with needed fabric items. Aprons for playing host, oven mitts for carrying hot dishes. Cotton or linen napkins and placemats for each place setting.
Stock Your Bar
When giving a dinner party for family and friends, you'll want to be sure you have everything you need to play at home mixologist. Beyond glasses, carafes, ice buckets and shakers are the order of the day.
How to Host a Dinner Party
Now that you've created a welcoming space that's functional as well, here comes the fun part. Planning and throwing dinner parties in spaces large and small can be a simplistic joy, but can easily take on a mind of its own. Follow our steps to keep the night enjoyable for guests and host alike.
Create a List of Friends and Family to Invite
Be thoughtful about the guest list: how many people can your room comfortably fit? How many can squeeze around the table? Each person should have their own place setting, so be sure to stock up on dishes, coasters, flatware.
Finally, make way for conversation. Name cards and invitations can feel stuffy, but you may want to mix friends and couples up according to interests. Be sure to give guests plenty of notice to clear their calendars.
Prep in Advance
Anything that can be done before the day of your party should be done. It might even help you to construct a menu around dishes that can be prepare beforehand. Outside of the menu, make a list of what you'll need: dishes and linens, ingredients, drinks, decor, and a stellar playlist. Then pick it up, design it, create it. That way, you'll be free to enjoy the food and drinks you've worked so hard to prepare, the music you've curated, the atmosphere you've designed.
Focus on the Food
Don't worry about trying to get a Michelin star, your nearest and dearest will show up to see you. Simple dishes, served each as a course, buffet, or family style, will lessen your stress. No need to try something new - feel free to stick to your specialty that may be new to your diners. Or swap out an ingredient to a time-tested favorite with something that's just come into season.
Or make it event by allowing guests into your kitchen with make-their-own pizzas, sushi or spring rolls.
Don't Forget About Beverages
Wine will make it easy, but if you're feeling adventurous a special aperitif or digestif works as well. Stock your fridge accordingly. Whatever you serve, be sure to include carafes or jugs of water on your table, paired with a water glass for each guest.
Create a Feeling, an Experience
Beyond food and drinks, an evening's dinner to remember includes intrigue and conversation. Make sure that your guests are comfortable enough to start talking by designing the elements for an amazing night. Detail can include the right lighting, including tabletop candles, and the right atmosphere.
A traditional dinner party table can include elaborate florals and tall candelabras, but you may find that acquaintances can become closer over pillar candles and linen table runners with a bouquet of wildflowers. Whether you set dinner plates on chargers or opt for a simple place setting, be sure that your decor reflects your taste and personality.
Clean the Kitchen
After your party is a success, it's usually a good idea to end the night with a bit of cleaning and organization. Leftovers into the fridge, wine re-corked. These are the crucial steps. Then save the rest for the morning, or have a slow next day, savoring the feeling of a memorable soiree.
The music plays, the dishes are warmed, drinks served and your closest pals surround you. Once your guests arrive, avoid stressing out in the kitchen. Instead, set out your meal and let the hours pass. Focus on a chat with a friend. Fill any lulls with another round of water, or the next course. Pre-planning means that you can enjoy yourself as much as your guests. After all, parties are meant to be enjoyed.