6 Things You’ll Need This Fall Season To Start Dining Indoors

  • 01 of 07

    6 Things You’ll Need This Fall Season To Start Dining Indoors

    Now that we’re making our first forays into the fall season with its cooler temperatures and shorter days, one thing has become unmistakably clear: The days of dining outdoors have officially passed by for this year — particularly for those of us who bask and thrive in the warm outdoor air of summer.  But that’s ok, because though we may have hosted our last late night barbecue for the year, or attended our final pool party, the good news that we should all be excited for is that the time for indoor entertaining has only just begun. Now it’s true that we can and do dine indoors all year long. But we have to admit that there’s something special about dining indoors during the crisp evenings of the fall. The warmth of the oven, the nearness of the holidays and the feeling of family just add a little something special to the prospect of gathering friends, family and other loved ones under our roofs for the simple pleasure of good food and enjoyable company. So let’s start getting those fall evite invitations warmed up as we get ready to start a new season of entertaining. But, wait. Before you hit the send button on your electronic save-the-date cards we have to make sure that your decor is ready for the influx of harvest season merrymakers that will soon be gathering around your tables. That means that there are still just a few things that you are going to need to make sure are checked off your list in order to ensure a successful indoor soiree. Fortunately the list isn’t too long. In fact, there are just six things — six must-have items that you need for your next party to make absolutely certain that your guests are comfortable and that you will be thoroughly entertained for all of your evening get togethers.

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  • 02 of 07

    New Dishware and Plate Sets

    The start of the fall entertaining season is the perfect time for you to take a second (or two or three) to re-evaluate what’s happening in your china cabinet. And, while you’re at it, take a look to see which dishes have been collecting dust in your cupboards for the last 12 months or more. The process isn’t always fun, we know, but it is necessary. And when you're done, you’ll know exactly what you’ll need to buy to bring your dishware collection ready for every party until the new year. 

    To start, there are a few crucial questions that you are going to have to ask yourself in order to be a good hostess. First, ask, how many of your dining pieces are still in good condition. This question isn’t always as cut-and-dried as it sounds. Feelings of nostalgia are sure to creep in as you find yourself trying to rationalize holding on to the lone survivor of what was once a fashionable set of four or more. When you sense that starting to happen, counter by asking yourself which of your pieces you would have second thoughts about presenting to a guest. That should give you a much more accurate accounting. And don’t get us wrong — not every plate or platter showing signs of love and long life is ready to be put out to pasture. A chip or a ding on a vintage heirloom piece of serving ware is something you can keep working with, but if every plate in your dining set has a chip on it, then it’s just time to get some new dishes. 

    Next, think about how long you have owned any particular set of dishes. This can be another tough question to answer at times. It doesn't necessarily apply to heirloom pieces or collections. Pieces in that category do have value, both financial and sentimental, so there’s a definite reason to hold on to them. But at the same time you find yourself facing some hard choices as to what in your cabinets actually qualifies to be in that category. The best criteria for dish sets that you’ve had for a long time is simply how often you actually use them. Anything for which the answer is, “not often,” is something that is simply eating up space and collecting dust bunnies in your cabinet. In short, it’s part of the problem. Lastly, ask yourself whether you own a complete dining set.  For those of us without kids, this is the point where we begin to fall short in the dining category. If we are used to setting up dining for one or two we rarely have place settings for 6 or 8 guests, to say nothing of being prepared for holiday events that might bring even more people to the table. When this happens, we’re often forced to realize that we’ve been making do with random combinations of pieces cobbled from whatever partial sets we have, and asking our guests to do so as well. Now you’re not always going to like the answers you come up with when asking questions like this of things you’ve owned for years. But the good news is that once you have answered them, it’s time to go shopping and now you’ll know just what to buy.  

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  • 03 of 07

    A Bar Cart

    Now that your dish and serving ware dilemma has been resolved, it’s time we moved on and gave some thought to the libations that will fuel your fall revelries.  One of the best accessories to have when entertaining is a well appointed bar cart. They are absolutely indispensable for organizing necessary items like napkins, utensils, glasses and ice. And you can even use them as an alternate serving surface to avoid creating too much of a traffic jam at the table or buffet. That means that if you don’t have one it’s a good idea to get one, and if you have one already, you need to make sure that it’s ready for entertaining. The questions to ask here are whether you have glasses, a carafe, an ice bucket, and all of the accoutrements necessary to make a decent cocktail. For the special night, challenge yourself and create a signature drink for the fall season. Easy-to-make specialty cocktails like a spiked apple cider or pumpkin spice with a splash of bourbon can easily make your next party a hit. One of the most important considerations is how you intend to style your bar cart. Bar cart style is one of those small details that, when done well, can truly elevate the look of an entire room, to say nothing of the party going on it. More than just placing what you need on the cart, however, to really make the most of your cart, you are also going to want to add in some seasonal accent pieces, like a vase full of white pumpkins.  Remember this all about creating an inspiring space for your guests to entertain for the night.  

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  • 04 of 07

    A Record Player

    A great party is no time for the radio. Instead, be your own DJ and impress your guests  by showing off your record collection.  Record players are seriously back in style, and at a relaxing fall soiree it can be refreshing to spend a bit of time offline and just enjoy the sound of a little vinyl.  

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  • 05 of 07

    Conversational Artwork

    When you’re hosting a gathering where not everyone knows each other, having visually stimulating artwork on your walls can be a great icebreaker for your guests. Summer is a great time to visit art galleries and check in on the work of your favorite emerging artists but often the great art collections that we picked up over the summer season are still sitting in their poster tubes come fall. Many of these pieces never see the light of day because we’re unsure of how to hang them. If you’re ever in doubt about which way to hang your collection go for a simple grid.  It’s clean, modern, and an easy way to display art with a minimum of tools or labor. Your guests will thank you because it will personalize your space, and give everyone something to talk about.  

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  • 06 of 07

    Last Second Seating

    A good host is always prepared for the unexpected, and often the unexpected means an uninvited (though not unwelcome) plus one that arrives for your meticulously laid out dinner party. This is the time to have some extra seating at the ready like a bench or fold out chairs that can easily be up and in use in just a few seconds to keep the party going, so the more the merrier.

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  • 07 of 07


    A table just isn’t complete without a centerpiece. For your next indoor soiree use cut flowers or succulents to make a striking statement. There are plenty of seasonal flowers to choose from including Dahlias and several types of lillies. Look for different kinds of fall foliage to round out the display or even take the lead. Mini white pumpkins or a mixed assortment of gourds, pinecones and acorns are a beautiful way to set the mood for an evening in away from the chill.  If possible it’s always a good idea to source from a floral market in your neighborhood to bring in some local flavor.