my favorite, budget-friendly entertaining must-haves

I really thought I’d be sent to labor and delivery yesterday morning after my 38 week checkup, but instead I’m going on week three at 2 cm and 50% effaced, so it’s back to regularly scheduled programming for a little while longer.  I don’t know if it’s my nesting urge or the fact that I haven’t been able to actually “nest” with a renovation going on, but I’m seriously in entertaining mode lately.  I’m all about setting a gorgeous dinner table for leftovers or takeout for me, the hubby and baby girl and playing around with fresh flowers for centerpieces.  Because a pretty presentation just makes food taste better, right??

Over the past few years I’ve accumulated quite a few entertaining staples that have made it super easy to throw together a stylish little get together, whether it be at the last minute or just to dress up a fancy table for the hubby and I on a Friday night after little miss has gone to bed.  I’ve come to rely on basics like simple white dinnerware and serving platters, French-inspired wine glasses, textured chargers and loads of vessels for flowers and candles, leaving me free to go crazy with floral arrangements and fun accessories for color and fun! 

Here are a few basics I use time and time again; the best part is that they are all relatively inexpensive, but none of your guests would guess that!

Simple white dinnerware and serveware.  Such a simple, neutral base for a classic table setting!  Mine came from TJMaxx and they’ve held up well over the years, but I love these both for the price and the look.  I also love to mix them with a patterned salad plate for a little color (these are a favorite).  You can never go wrong with large white platters from TJMaxx and HomeGoods for serving, either – I never pay more than $10 for mine and I always try to mix different shapes and sizes for interest.

Water hyacinth chargers.  The Soare chargers from Ikea are $4 a piece but what they add in texture and interest to a table setting is immeasurable!  Since they’re so budget-friendly, I don’t worry when marinara sauce or red wine end up on one of them!

French wine glasses from Crate and Barrel.  A set of twelve of these glasses will run you less than $50!  I use mine for water, wine or holding small arrangements of flowers; their shape is so pretty, I absolutely love them!

Glass candle holders in various shapes and sizes.  Michael’s has the best short, squat vases on sale for 50% off all the time and they’re the perfect base for floral arrangements because they aren’t too tall to not be able to see the person sitting across from you (I hate that!) but I also love to stick unscented, white candles from the dollar store in them and spread them out along my table and around the kitchen when I have company for a little ambience.  This pack of 72 white glass votives is another great deal and make a lovely presentation down the center of a table!

Trays for cocktails.  I’m probably one of the few people left in blogland that doesn’t own a bar cart but I manage to make do just fine, thanks to a pretty impulsive collection of rattan trays! I have quite a few from Target, TJMaxx and HomeGoods, but I love this marble and brass beauty, too!  I set one on my kitcen counter and corral tumblers, liquor, limes, ice and mixers so guests can easily help themselves.

Chic ice bucket.  I’m still as obsessed with my tortoise ice bucket from Furbish as I was when I got it for Christmas.  It always adds just a little sophistication to even the most casual get togethers and it doubles often as a vessel for flowers!

Bread board.  Occasionally, I like to mix it up from serving appetizers on white platters or trays, and an oversize bread board is my go-to lately, especially when it’s large enough to put everything on it at once!

Bamboo flatware.  I’m obsessed with this set of 20 piece Bamboo flatware from Horchow!  It just adds another layer of interest and texture to my table and the price just can’t be beat.  Many have asked how they have held up since I bought them back in May and they’re great! 

What are some of your favorite entertaining must-haves?

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Hello and welcome to Bungalow Blue Interiors!

I'm Kelly, interior designer, stylist, hostess with the mostest and editor of my blog, where I share pics of my work, my own home, décor projects, entertaining hacks, where to find the best decorating deals and all the beautiful things that are currently inspiring me!




  1. Heather Davey Fusco on August 25, 2016 at 4:09 pm

    I love all of this! Your taste is 🙌🏻. Those wine/water glasses from Crate & Barrel are a great find — buying!

  2. Kelly Stivers on August 25, 2016 at 7:49 pm

    Thank you, Heather!! They are my favorites, too! xx

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