Make Yourself at Home(Sasquatch Books, 2017) by Moorea Seal, shows readers new ways to decorate to make any space feel like their own. Follow Seals’ leads to create a homey space, learn how to check for great deals and how to use color to inspire you. Find this excerpt in Chapter 3, “Dining Room.”
Whether you’ve never hosted a dinner party or, like me, you love welcoming friends for dinner, there are always new ways to make dinner parties more relaxed, fun, and memorable. Here are my top tips for introducing new friends, utilizing your space, and creating a magical evening!
- Hunt thrift stores for a mix of fun plates and glassware. You can find a huge assortment of formal crystal glassware, decanters, and unique plates at thrift stores that cost little but offer a cool and eclectic visual impact when mixed and mismatched on a dining table.
- Don’t worry about mixing store-bought food with homemade when planning your menu. Don’t feel like you have to hand-make every little thing. Mostly people just want to hang out with you!
- Use a paint pen to write guests’ names on leaves and use the leaves as place cards for guests to find their seats at the table.
- Light a few unscented candles around your home before friends come over and add a few to your dining table. No matter how styled your home is or isn’t, candles can really fill a space once the lights are dimmed and the sun goes down, bringing life and warmth into any space. And unscented candles won’t steal the show from your delicious-smelling food.
- Have an intimate dinner where you introduce a few friends who you think would really click and have complementary personalities. Instead of introducing people as “Jane, who is a teacher,” intro- duce each person with their name and how they are special to you as well as something they might have in common with someone else at your dinner party.
- Make a signature cocktail for hangout time before you start dinner, something that reflects your personality and personal taste!
- Utilize the entire space of your home for hosting friends for dinner. Start in the living room with a cocktail and light snacks, an easy way to get people comfortable. Move to the dining table for dinner. And after dinner, move to an outdoor space in the summer or a cozy spot in your home for games and dessert in winter. Why not make a full night of it?
- Make extra dessert and send guests home with a to-go box.
- Add a fun surprise to the end of your evening. My husband built a mini re pit in our backyard for roasting marshmallows with friends or talking over the re before they head home. You can also throw a dance party, play old records on a record player, play games, or watch a funny or nostalgic movie that everyone loves.
- Create a printout of any special recipes from your meal for guests to take home and use later.