Editor's note: Whether you're hosting the whole family for the holidays or just welcoming a solo weekend guest, entertaining at home can be the perfect chance to make happy memories with those you love. With our expert advice, opening your home to friends and relatives will be a snap. Look for home entertaining tips every day this week on Porchlight. 


It's that time of year: Big dinner plans are made, parties are scheduled, and people gather around your table ready to celebrate.

Whether you're hosting Thanksgiving dinner or a holiday cocktail party, having a few versatile entertaining pieces is essential. Here's what you need to make your upcoming soirees simple and stylish.


For serving water or your signature mixed drink, a generously sized pitcher is indispensable - you can even use it as a vase for those surprise bouquets you receive as host gifts. Choosing a metallic option like copper gives this vessel a special look, but it’s still neutral enough to go with any tablescape.

Legend Pitcher, Crate and Barrel, $50

Cake stand

Use a cake stand for serving your favorite dessert or as a pedestal for the table's centerpiece. Adding a natural wood element makes any table feel more grounded and complete. Like the pitcher, it's neutral and will go with anything.

Forest Floor Cake Stand, Anthropologie, $58

Serving tray

A tray is a necessity for serving hors d'oeuvres or simply corraling glassware. You can also use it to create a simple drink station: Just place beverage essentials on the tray and leave it on a buffet or the dining table for a pretty, yet functional, self-service display. Copper and marble are big trends in home decor right now, and this tray brings them together perfectly.

Marble and Copper Tray, Pottery Barn, $119

Festive patterned napkins

For most of your entertaining basics, neutral is the way to go. But an effective way to liven up your table is by bringing in a colorful, patterned napkin. The options are endless, and choosing a look that appeals to you establishes the mood of your table in a snap.

Berry Meadow Napkins, Williams Sonoma, $40

Unique glassware

Traditional glassware is always a safe bet, but glasses with a unique shape or color can really make an impact. A terrific conversation starter, unique glassware is perfect for jazzing up your table or the specialty drinks you're planning to serve.

Northern Lights Glassware, West Elm, $10

Together these five chic essentials will make any table or buffet party-ready. They each feel special, but are versatile enough to mix and match with different color schemes for any event you can dream up. Happy hosting!