The secret to party-giving is good food plus good company in a beautiful setting. We opt for the buffet for entertaining ease and to showcase your decorating and culinary skills. Our Far East-inspired table above for a curry buffet is just a taste of the sparkling ideas that follow.
Adapt any room for a party, with your entertaining touches
Focus on your most inviting spaces; rearrange furniture to suit the number of guests. Choose accents to complement your menu. In the living room buffet at left (and on preceding page), lacquer ware, brass servers and batik floor cushions carry out the exotic mood. Curry and condiments add enticing aromas. Guests can move easily from the buffet to coffee and snack table setups around the room.
Set out a variety of breads and fruits, some cheese, perhaps a pate. (Why not try your own Pate Maison?) Cherry tomatoes make a refreshing finger food. Place wine bottles in caddies for easy pouring, daisies in wine carafes for sunny accents. Napkins are trimmed in ribbon we pressed on with bonding web.
Put a room to work with party tablesettings
In living room (right and opposite) sofas are pulled out from walls to flank the coffee table before the fire. Hearty vegetable soup, a meal in itself, is served with crisp green salad, home-baked black bread and red wine. Flatware is stashed in clear glass containers, so everything that is needed for self-service and dining is handy.
With cheery red as its bright, dominant color, this study (left) becomes a super party setting. A desk is replaced by portable round-top tables skirted attractively. Books in the etagere give way to candles, pasta and breadsticks, and the beginnings of a Tuscan feast. Bold tablecloth enhances patterned china; red handpainted flowerpots carry out the rich color theme. Large pots hold begonias in a centerpiece; small pots are breadstick servers.
Have a supper of quiche, cider and vegetable salad
A simple French snack in the dining room becomes a banquet with style when served amidst family treasures in an antique Welsh cupboard (left and opposite). Plates of quiche, hot from the oven, are stacked in an old wire plate carrier; the salad glistens in a magnificent pewter double-shell bowl; your choice of dressings is spooned from pewter porringers. Glass hurricane shades filled with apples and walnuts from buffet. Our tablecloth is crewel; the cider pitcher, a reproduction of an antique design. The centerpiece is a spray of dried wheat.
Personalize your party tablesettings
Improvise as you arrange your buffet and party tables. Don’t hesitate to use unusual pieces, or old things you love, for serving. The way you set your table makes it personal — and special. The mood created is a reflection of you.
This party starts in your kitchen, where guests pick up cranberry juice, melon, popovers filled with eggs and mushrooms to enjoy at table above. A dazzling dessert shelf offers breakfast cakes and confections.
Serve coffee and cordials (opposite) away from the clutter of dinner and the clatter of dishes. It gets your guests up for a breather, and also lets you set up your last course ahead, before festivities begin. Wallpapered screen is a space-expanding wall extension.