8 Unexpected Entertaining Items Experts Say Everyone Can Live Without

place settings at a party

Jeff Wasserman / Stocksy

Whether you’re living in a small space and dealing with limited storage or are simply trying to pare down a bit, you’ve come to the right place. Yes, you can 100 percent be the hostess with the mostest without crowding your cabinets with party supplies galore. Here, experts weigh in on the items that you can go ahead and say goodbye to and still ensure that your next get together will be a hit. 

  • 01 of 08

    Matching Place Settings

    tablesetting features matching chargers, plates, green glasses, and white florals for the centerpiece

    @nan.philip / Instagram

    Don’t worry about keeping tons of coordinating plates, placemats, napkins, and other accessories on hand, urged Sara Raak, a blogger and founder of Totable Tablescapes. “A dinner party is more fun when you treat your table design like artwork,” she says. “Have fun with mixing and matching colors, patterns, and textures.” And as a bonus, you're able to showcase your own styling techniques in the process. “If you use all of the same style products from one brand, it can start to look like you copied the table setting out of a catalog and you lose your personal touch,” says Nan Philip, a public relations and marketing consultant and blogger at Simply Elegant. “It is fun to get a little creative!” 

    With regard to napkins specifically, Ally Ravnaas of the Instagram account The Petite Party has a piece of advice. “Collect fun paper napkins for more casual happy hours, dinners, lunches,” she says. “Then invest in one long term linen set for formal occasions.” As a bonus, there are plenty of chic paper napkin designs on the market to match every theme, holiday, and season, so you’ll have your pick of festive options. 

    If you use all of the same style products from one brand, it can start to look like you copied the table setting out of a catalog and you lose your personal touch.

  • 02 of 08

    Chargers for the Table

    place settings without charger plates

    Jeff Wasserman / Stocksy

    On a similar note, don’t worry about dolling out extra money—and sacrificing space—for chargers. “While they may look nice, I see them as being somewhat useless, especially if you’re already using a placemat,” blogger Tiffany Barino of My Eclectic Nest says. “If there is ever an item that I feel I can for sure live without for entertaining, it’s definitely the charger plate for me!” 

    And Instagrammer Rashida Banks considers placemats themselves unnecessary. “The material of the plates and other tableware against the tabletop surface provides a beautiful contrasting interest of color, textures, and finishes,” she says. “So ditch the placemats and expose your beautiful table top!”

  • 03 of 08

    A Spacious Dining Room

    bar cart with glasses, booze, limes, and other cocktail accessories

    Design by Sarah Lyon / Photo by Lauren Zillinger

    Don’t let living in a small apartment stop you from hosting a fabulous dinner gathering! “People think they need a large, perfectly decorated space with lots of seating, but that’s not true,” Christina Nease of Celebrations at Home says. There are many ways to make the most of your square footage while staying festive. “If you don't have a dining room table, host a cocktail party where guests stand and mingle,” Nease suggests. “Or, host an indoor picnic or boho style dinner where guests sit on the floor. Turn your space situation into a theme night!” 

  • 04 of 08

    Tons of Banners

    Reusable party banner

    Amanda Large / Stocksy

    Hosting lots of events for the younger set? Go ahead and implement this hack from blogger Heather Thibodeau. “It's pretty common at kids’ birthday parties especially to see birthday banners that were clearly purchased for that event, and that event only,” she says. “But a party banner doesn't have to be a one-and-done kind of thing. Buy a reusable chalkboard style banner, or pennant style banner that you can write on and erase. That way, it can be used over and over for any event.” Plus, this method is ultra sustainable and budget friendly, making it a winner all around! 

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Seasonal Servingware

    festive season cocktails are red with cranberries and sprigs of rosemary

    Design by Sarah Lyon / Photo by Lauren Zillinger

    We get it, those Santa plates are adorable, as are the candy corn themed mugs you keep stashed away in the back of your closet. But are such items simply taking up space when you could opt for a more versatile solution?

    “Often it’s hard to resist seasonal serveware, especially around the holidays, but it’s something you can live without,” Shannon Calderon and Jenna Dail of The Busy Bee say.

    What’s a festive hostess to do instead? “We recommend investing in solid, neutral pieces, such as all-white platters, wooden cutting boards, and marble trays, so you can use them all year long and so they coordinate with any aesthetic you are trying to achieve,” Calderon and Dail say. They recommend conveying the holiday spirit through food and drink instead. “Prepare seasonal recipes to incorporate the colors of the season and allow the serveware pieces to highlight each menu item.” 

  • 06 of 08

    A Sophisticated Coffee Setup

    coffee setup with cups, smeg kettle, a french press, and cookies

    Design by Sarah Lyon / Photo by Lauren Zillinger

    As much as everyone loves coffee in the wee hours of the morning, it may not be as essential after dark. “Having an elaborate coffee service prepared is usually a fruitless endeavor at a party,” say Ashley Bronczek and Candace Ourisman of Secretly Gifting. “One or two friends may inquire about coffee, so if you have a Keurig and a few mugs, you’re all set!” 

  • 07 of 08

    An Elaborate Serving Tray

    cocktail station with a serving tray

    Heather Ford / Unsplash

    Serving trays may look pretty, but they aren’t always the most functional during an event, Bronczek and Ourisman say. “Forgo the serving trays with handles for your beverages,” they advise. “You will be too busy ensuring your guests have fun to be carrying around drinks to serve.” 


  • 08 of 08

    A Home-Cooked Meal

    plated food on a table

    Jeff Wasserman / Stocksy

    Last but not least, there’s no need to perfect your cooking skills (and stock up on pots and pans that you don’t foresee yourself using in the long term) just to feel comfortable inviting friends over. “So many restaurants are offering ready made meals that you can cook at home, and your guests never even need to know,” Philip notes. “Just pop the food in the oven, heat it up, place it on your own serving platter, and no one is the wiser!”