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The Visual Art of Entertaining

Entertaining can be one of the most rewarding and memorable times you spend in your home. However, people often forget that entertaining isn’t just about cooking amazing food and concocting incredible cocktails, it’s about the personal touches that make your guests feel like you’ve made things special on their behalf. If you are serving dinner, your visual displays and tablescapes are incredibly important aspects of entertaining that can take your soirée from so-so to spectacular. Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when laying everything out.

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Pre-set your table

Your table display is one of the most important parts of entertaining. It takes thought, preparation and a few personal touches to really make it shine. Why wait until the last second to create it? A lot of the time, food and cocktails need to be prepared within a few minutes of your guests arriving but, luckily, a tabletop can be set hours in advance. Do yourself a favor and plan to set your table a few hours before your guests arrive so you can avoid the last-minute stress. If you are really on top of it, you can set it the day before and put plastic wrap over the glasses and plates to avoid dust settling!

Proper table settings

Why put so much effort into making the food look and taste delicious if you are just going to pop it on a table and serve it indifferently? The precision of a proper table setting lets your guests know that you have taken the time and care to really make your event special. Take a few moments to lay out napkins, silverware and glasses in the right places to add a touch of formality to your dinner.

Serving Pieces

Even if your china is quite simple, collecting beautiful serving pieces can really re-invent your tablescape. They don’t have to cost a fortune—the place that has the most incredible serving pieces is very often the local flea market! Gorgeous, antique trays, cakestands and platters can wow your guests and showcase your beautiful food perfectly. Take the time to hunt down these elements, and add a little pizzazz to your table.

Keep your canvas simple

One of the most important things you can do to ensure your décor is really appreciated is to make sure it makes the maximum impact.  Keeping your tablecloth or tabletop white means you can add color in the right places to really make an impression. Flowers, napkins, and table runners are all places that can use wonderful colors that pop against a white background. The same applies to food; serve colorful food on a white plate to really make a statement.

No plastic

This is a rule that is essential. You have spent all this time setting your table, coordinating your colors and adding special touches—ruining it with an ugly ketchup or water bottle just isn’t in the cards. Pour water into a glass pitcher; pour condiments into little serving bowls or jugs; put salt and pepper into shakers or tiny bowls. It’s an extremely simple way to make your dinner just that little extra bit sexier.

Adapted from Simply Divine: A Guide to Easy, Elegant and Affordable Entertaining by Lisa Vanderpump

About the author

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Pandora

Pandora’s Addictions: Overly high heels, cooking for her husband Jason, strong coffee, taking beautiful photographs, curling up with a book (every day of the week), playing the piano, Notre Dame football, The Rolling Stones, English tea, wizards, puppies, singing any Broadway song, Cadbury’s chocolate, French wine. View All of Pandora's Articles

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