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The essentials to a successful and stylish dinner party

20 Dec 2019

With friends and family flying in for the holidays, Winter is indeed a season brimming with celebrations from Christmas to Hanukkah and New Year’s Eve. In charge of entertaining loved ones at home this year? Whether you’re hosting for the very first time or for the fifth year in a row, we share our must-haves to make your upcoming dinner party a breeze and a fun and stylish hit.

Work with flexible furniture

You’ve finalised your guest list, prepared and sent your invitations out, and have bought all the necessary food and decorations for your upcoming dinner gathering. But despite all the meticulous planning, there’s always the odd chance that a guest (or two) will join in on the fun at the last minute. With that in mind, we recommend following the mantra of ‘expect the unexpected’, and to do so by having a dining setting that can easily accommodate to any party size.

If you are a host with the most or foresee yourself entertaining at home for many years to come, consider investing in a wooden extendable dining table. We like an option that comes with a hidden extension, which makes it easy to transition your flexible furniture piece from intimate dinners to large gatherings as needed, all while maintaining a clean and sophisticated look. Slice is among our selection of extendable dining tables with its mechanism cleverly integrated into its design, and features a uniquely beveled “sliced” edge that elevates any dining setting.

Also among our top picks for flexible furniture is the humble, small-yet-mighty stool. Though compact in size, it certainly packs a punch with its endless versatility, and makes for naturally stylish seats that can be easily added for any last-minute guests. We also love how adding stools can break up a uniform look, and create an eclectic dining setting that immediately feels warm, casual and cosy – an ambience that’s perfect for festive home gatherings!

*TREE styling tip: if your home is a little tight on storage space, consider using your stools as petite but chic side tables, or opt for a stackable design (like our Solo stools) that can be easily tucked away when not in use.

Get the look: Slice extendable dining table | Christy dining chair | Jack dining chair | Blacksmith stool | Osso stool (in stores only)

Make spirits bright with a fully stocked bar cart

As your guests arrive, you’ll want to get them quickly and comfortably settled in as dinner is being prepared, and there’s no better way to do so than with a homemade aperitif. A bar cart is a hosting essential in our books: while it makes a wonderful entertainment centre when guests are over, it also provides a chic place to display your favourite glassware and bottles.

Indeed, you can expect your guests will have different tastes and preferences for drinks, but fret not – you can concoct a majority of classic and popular cocktails with just a handful of spirits. We took note from the team at Bon Appetit who suggests to stock bottles of vodka, gin, whiskey (bourbon and scotch), rum and tequila for a complete and versatile bar.

Top up your cart with tools (cocktail shaker, strainer, ice bucket and bottle opener), mixers (juices, sodas and tonic water) and glassware, and your home bar is ready to serve!

TREE styling tip: if you’re on the hunt for a new bar cart, we suggest opting for a design with lockable wheels, as seen on our Universo Positivo Kopagnon piece. This will give your piece much more mobility, enabling you to move around to where the party is and serve your guests as they stay comfortably seated.

Get the look: Universo Positivo Kopagnon bar cart

Give your guests something to nibble on

Cocktail hour is never complete without the snacks! While appetizers can quell your guests’ hunger and line their stomachs before the main course is served, it also means another addition to an already lengthy to-do list. We recommend preparing your light bites well ahead of time, which ensures a smooth hosting experience and allows you to enjoy the rest of the evening. Fruits, cheese and charcuterie are excellent options for no-frills appetizers, but we also love Chatelaine’s cocktail party recipes that are simple to make but taste oh-so-divine.

Plate your light bites on wooden serveware, which add a grounding, natural warmth to your culinary creations with their beautiful wood grains and wonderfully organic shapes. We like to recommend opting for designs that come with handles, which will make it easy to pass dishes around the room. With the use of wooden platters, bowls and chopping boards, you’ll have a rustic, naturally stylish and delectable spread that your guests can’t wait to indulge in.

TREE styling tip: if you prefer something with a slightly more polished but grounding finish, add a selection of marble serveware into the mix!

Get the look: Wooden plates and platters (in stores only)

Set the scene with naturally stylish décor

A well-decorated tablescape certainly makes part of your guests’ dining experience. It’s all about setting the tone with beautiful centrepieces: artisanal tealight holders (such as our mosaic designs) add movement and warmth to the table, and cast stunning shapes and shadows when illuminated for a dramatic dinner scene. For an extra flourish, consider styling your candles alongside floral arrangements, and even festive finishing touches depending on your holiday dinner theme.

TREE styling tip: have a few spare ornaments and decorations after trimming your Christmas tree? Use them as cute and characterful place card holders that can double as gifts for your guests to take home!

Get the look: Tin santa with cane decoration | Terracotta tree | Mosaic scallop tealight holder

We hope some of our essentials and tips will help you as you prepare for your upcoming dinner gatherings. While pre-planning is certainly required for a smooth event, do remember to enjoy your evening too. From the heart, happy hosting and of course, happy holidays!

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