ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Dinner Party Ideas: Setting The Table To Entertain At Home

Updated on May 6, 2011

Entertain At Home

With the economy the way it is these days, more and more people are starting to jump on board with the idea of entertaining at home.

If you weigh the cost of going out to eat against the investment in items for setting a table, you'll quickly see that no matter how often you entertain at home, you will save money.

Dinner party table setting doesn't have to be elaborate though if you want to go that route, the sky's the limit. Most people favor a less formal or casual dining style when they entertain at home.

If you organize your table setting purchases and keep several factors in mind, you can always be at the ready for entertaining at home and hosting a dinner party.

Whether it's a birthday celebration or a holiday dinner, there are some tricks and tips that can save you money over the long run. These tips and tricks can also grace you with a style all your own when it comes to hosting that special dinner.

Let's take a look at some of the ways you can be a tremendous success at home entertaining with table setting ideas.


Coordinating Accents

Most people have color schemes that they love and when it comes to decorating, the possibilities are endless.

Part of that decorating magic is having coordinating accents that blend well with such things as your furniture, your wall colors, even your curtains or drapes.

Everyone I know has several underlying colors that they blend in their home. It might be different from room to room but the dining room is no different.

I recommend coordinating your dishes and your accessories to complement your décor. By selecting 2 or 3 basic colors and then adding to your supply from time to time, you can achieve a simple or simply elegant table setting that will be both attractive and affordable.


Table Setting Ideas from My House

Serving Pieces
Fabric Napkins
Large square dinner plates
Serving bowls in yellow, green, red
Red round placemats
Red gingham
Large round dinner plates
Clear or white serving bowls
Yellow round placemats
Yellow gingham
Square salad plates
Baskets of all sizes
Sage round placemats
Sage gingham
Round salad bowls
Water pitcher
Holiday placemats
Solid red & solid green
Soup bowls
Serving plates in greens and reds
Brown rectangular placemats
Yellow & Green solids
Red wine glasses
Round green platters
Centerpiece placemats
White wine glasses
White oval platters
Small doily placemats


Accent pieces
Accent pieces
Endless supply of napkins
Endless supply of napkins

How To Set A Table

I am not so much interested in setting my table according to which fork goes where. I am much more interested in setting my table to reflect my own personal style of entertaining.

When I entertain at home, I strive to make the colors blend and complement each other.

For instance, starting out with a plain table, I add in round placemats. Since it's April, for Easter dinner, I went with my yellow/gold placemats and alternated with green. The table is set with 4 green and 2 yellow.

I then alternate my plates according to the placemats. As you can see in the top picture, I use a sage green plate on a yellow placemat. I use a yellow plate on a green placemat.

I further carry the color contrast through by adding the complementary colored napkin, folded in a simple design. So the yellow plate has a green napkin whereas the green plate has a yellow napkin.

Check out my easy-to-make napkin hub here.

I tie all of it together by using a diminutive centerpiece that blends the same colors and then add a simple silverware setting and wine glasses.

I use green serving platters and golden serving bowls to further bring out the color scheme I'm working with or perhaps I even add in a deep red serving bowl for more "pop".

Voila - a super simple but lovely dinner party table setting.

More Table Setting Ideas

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Try These Colors

Black and White
Blue and Yellow
Peach and Sage Green
Yellow and Sage Green
Brick Red and Sage Green
Brick Red and Yellow
Mauve and Grey
Brown and Rose
Lavender and Yellow
Blue and Gold

At-Home Entertaining

With the dishes and colors that I have, I can change up my dinner table settings many ways.

It helps to have different colored dishes and placemats which takes the style from formal to informal, a kind of easy lifestyle look.

I choose colors that go with my house décor. I blend a lot of reds, greens and golden colors as they seem to be what works for me. However, any combination of colors will do. Even black and white makes a wonderful table setting.

Many people buy clear or white dishes and serving pieces because they will go with anything. The same goes for any neutral colors like a soft brown.

Gone are the days where we have to have fine bone china gracing our table. The key to setting a table for at-home entertaining is to keep it simple and keep it warm and appealing. You want people to come in and sit at the table. You want them to enjoy using your things and savoring your meal together.

Try some of these combinations for table settings:

  • Round plates with a simple folded napkin
  • Round plates contrasted against a round or square placemat
  • Round plates with a square salad or dessert place turned on an angle
  • Round plates with a soup or salad bowl in the same or contrasting color
  • Square plates with a simple folded napkin
  • Square plates contrasted against a round placemat
  • Square plates turned on an angle with a round plate dessert plate atop
  • Round or square plate with a soup bowl
  • "Stacked" look - round plate with square salad plate with wine glass with napkin inside

How to Set The Table Without Spending A Fortune

As in all things, I am frugal to say the least. Even though I seem to have an overabundance of dishes and serving pieces, I really don't think what I have is extravagant.

I should also point out here that I only buy dishes and serving pieces on sale.

By knowing the colors that I use all the time, I always know what will go with my table setting pieces before I go anywhere. If I happen to see something that fits my color scheme (and my budget), then I pick it up on sale.

I have also grown my collection of table setting pieces over time. Since I don't have fine china anymore, I have made it a commitment to buy good quality dishes but ones that are always on sale.

Fabric napkins are another way of personalizing any table setting. I have made all the napkins that I have for mere pennies. I keep them pressed and ready so that I can use them for every day meals as well as at-home entertaining.

Great Places to Save on Table Setting Pieces

I've gotten great deals at all these places:

  • Macy's kitchen department
  • Ross
  • TJ Maxx
  • Safeway
  • Bed, Bath & Beyond
  • World Market
  • Kitchen outlet stores
  • Birthday or gift cards
  • Gift registry
  • Fabric stores for napkins and placemats
  • Trading pieces with friends and family
  • Garage sales
  • Antique stores
  • Swap meets
  • Anywhere you find the colors you use!

public domain image
public domain image

Colors and How To Set The Table

A lot of the "magic" of table setting is making the colors work together. If you take a look at the color wheel opposite, you'll see that there are colors directly across the circle from each other. Those colors are guaranteed to match or complement each other.

If you're looking for new colors, sometimes it's a lot of fun to grab a color wheel say at a paint store and just experiment to see which colors "should" go well together and which ones you want to go together.

By using the color wheel, you can also draw a wedge or a triangle in the center, and the colors at the ends of the points should also blend well together.

Another easy way to blend colors is to stay with a same color "family". That way you know that your things will match.

I've been mixing and matching colors for so long that I generally just have a feel for the look that I want but I'm always looking for new ideas.

Remember that neutral colors will generally go with anything so those white or clear serving pieces will be great matches for everything.

I like staying with solid color plates and then changing up napkins or placemats for added color. However, you can do the reverse and stick with solid color placemats and napkins and buy patterned plates to achieve the same effect.

In today's world, your stylistic possibilities are endless. More modern brilliant colors make for exciting dinner table settings as well.

Table Decorating Tips

In short, there is no "right way" to set your table when it comes to at-home entertaining or hosting a dinner party.

Your dinner party table setting can be as formal or as casual as you wish.

Check out the You Tube videos for more ideas on great table setting ideas. While some of her settings are a little "too formal" for me, she has some great ideas. I especially like her idea of putting a living plant in a vase for the centerpiece.

Your table setting won't make or break your dinner party but with just a little thought about colors and shapes, you can turn a "blah" table setting into an "ah ha" table setting. It really takes no time at all to make your table setting unique and lend a warm and friendly touch to your dinner party.

If you have your own personal dinner party table setting ideas that you use, please share them with us all in the comments section below.

In the meantime, wishing you every success with at-home entertaining!



This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)