How to style your kitchen for that perfect dinner party aesthetic

Whether you’re an experienced dinner party veteran or a first-time host eager to welcome guests into your newly refurbished kitchen, there’s a lot that goes into preparing for such an exciting occasion.

From picking the right theme and a matching ambience to nailing that dinner table centrepiece, there are plenty of steps to tick off your list as you rush to get everything ready, all of which can make creating that crucial dinner party feel rather intimidating.

With the right tips and tricks, not only can you make the whole dinner party preparation stage that much easier, you can even turn it into an exciting part of the event that you look forward to working through.

So, to reveal the best way to go about doing this, the team at Wren Kitchens teamed up  with two experienced interior designers, Kate Conrad and Nicola Rodriguez, who offered  their top tips on how to style your kitchen for that perfect dinner party.

1. Give your dinner party a theme

Whether you’re a huge fan of the classic formal dining style, or you prefer a simpler, more minimalist dress code when having guests over, one thing that’s sure to make your dinner party memorable is a cohesive theme for the evening – something that brings every element of your dinner party seamlessly together.

Colour scheme, décor, ambience, all of it will be influenced in some way by the theme you choose, but more importantly than that, it gives your guests something to get excited about besides the food.

Of course, you don’t want your chosen theme to be too vague or specific, which is why it’s always a good idea to take your time exploring a few viable options you like the idea of before choosing your favourite – you can always note the other ideas down and save them for future parties.

2. Make use of tiered tableware

While not suitable for every dinner party, especially if you tend to favour a simplified aesthetic, if you plan on hosting a traditional, retro, or even modern dining experience, then making use of tiered tableware in your setup is an absolute must!

From multi-level stands and serving platters to tall vases and water jugs, incorporating tall table wear into your design will go a long way towards helping the rest of your dinner party décor stand out, while also leaning into that classic dinner party style – even if you only plan on serving a buffet-style dinner.

And the benefits of tiered tableware don’t stop there. Having all your food served simultaneously on stacked trays allows your guests to help themselves while eliminating the need to be continually sat, creating a more informal and social atmosphere.

3. Choose an appropriate centrepiece for your table

A beautiful centrepiece, be it the evening’s much-anticipated dessert or a painstakingly designed flower arrangement in a matching vase, is another element that every dinner party needs.

Naturally, your centrepiece should complement for your chosen theme, but this shouldn’t be something you rush to pull together. Take your time searching for a particular item or food that speaks for itself and harmonises with your chosen theme.

If you find your centrepiece first, or you already have one in mind before the party planning process begins, then use this item to organically dictate your dinner party theme for you.

4. Turn your kitchen worktops or island into a bar

No matter the type of worktops in your kitchen, it takes very little effort to transform this space into a stylish and thematic bar for your guests to enjoy at their leisure.

This is particularly useful if your guests arrive while you are still preparing food and letting your guests serve themselves eases the burden of hosting, while also giving them the freedom to mix their favourite drinks. You can even ask your guests to each bring a specific drink to complement the bar, helping you save on costs.

This smart use of your kitchen space is ideal if you’re looking to maximise the room you have available in a small kitchen, and it’s a far more practical solution for saving space than setting up an entirely separate drinks area. And, of course, it makes for the perfect social spot before you and your guests sit down to enjoy dinner.

5. Create a signature drink

Every good dinner party needs an equally good selection of drinks, but a signature drink can go that extra mile in adding credence to your chosen theme and reflecting your taste and style.

We suggest offering your signature drink to your guests as their first to help kick the evening off in style, always make sure that you have one or two drink alternatives for those guests who prefer an alternative.

6. Write up a set of menu cards

If you’re looking to add a personal touch and restaurant, feel to your dinner party, then you can’t go wrong with a set of menu cards. Perfect for letting your guests know what foods they can expect to enjoy, you can hand them out as they arrive, leave them on the table, or even send them out before the party to help set the tone.

Menu cards aren’t just useful for set menu parties, if you prefer a buffet dining experience, then you can have one large menu card available for guests to browse before dinner while also leaving smaller cards by each dish, so guests know what they are.

7. Set the ambience

Whether it’s the right music, lighting, or scents, setting the right ambience is essential for getting your evening off to a good start. So, using your theme as a base, take your time deciding how you want to create an environment that perfectly captures the style you’re going for.

If you want a cosy setting, for example, then dimmed lights or candles work well for warm light, and low volume background music provides background noise without overpowering conversation. Who doesn’t like entering a beautifully scented house? Why not place scented candles or incense around your home prior to your guests’ arrival.

8. Don’t skimp on the tablescape

Finally, as you’ll be sat around the dinner table for a large portion of the evening, it goes without saying that you should make every effort to create a tablescape that matches your theme and looks very stylish.

Fresh linens, a good quality tablecloth, and plenty of napkins, all of these should match your theme’s colour scheme, as should any decorations you decide to place around your table.

You now have our top tips on how to stage the perfect dinner party which are intended as guidelines rather than rules. Feel free to get creative in your approach to your next party, which will reflect your own personality and flair. For more kitchen tips and tricks check out the Wren blog.

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