I love a party as much as the next person, but I also tend to be frugal and have a real aversion to waste. Put these things together, and it means that my parties never have a discernible theme because the decorations always feel too occasion-specific. But it's fun to have themes, so in the spirit of appeasing both my festive and more practical side, I've compiled a list of red, white, and blue party items that will still be useful after the 4th.
1. West Elm wave dinnerware set, $19.99-$23.99 for 4-piece sets: Take advantage of this sale to get some interestingly patterned dishware that will be much more eco-friendly than paper plates.
2. West Elm Brushstrokes Napkin set, $20 for 4: The same eco-friendly principle applies for these coordinating napkins.
3. West Elm lacquered wood tray in cherry red, $17.00: This little guy will come in handy for serving food and drinks at your party, but afterward, it can be used in any number of ways. I've got one in my bathroom to keep my toiletries organized and another in my entryway to corral my mail.
4. Anthropologie large farmers' market basket, $20: Equally good for serving berries and for collecting keys, rogue office supplies, or any number of other things that need to be kept rounded up.
1 and 2: Anthropologie two-toned wooden spoon set and two-toned cocktail forks, $18 each: Goodness knows that with my dedication to non-stick cookware, wooden utensils are among the kitchen items that I use most frequently. These are pretty enough to double as serving utensils for your party but practical enough for everyday use.
3. Ceramic serving bowls in peacock blue, red, and white from RedClayCo. on Etsy, $49 each + shipping: At 10" in diameter, these simple and elegant bowls are large enough to handle all your salad (or potato salad) needs, and they can function as mixing bowls, salad bowls, or fruit bowls for the rest of the year.
1. Vintage wicker picnic basket from EpochCo on Etsy, $36 + shipping: Obviously, summer is the season for picnics, but in the winter months, this attractive basket can be used to keep blankets handy, or you can use it to as simple storage for summer clothing or accessories.
2. Vintage 60s robin's egg blue sunglasses from I Prefer Thrifty on Etsy, $28 + shipping: Sunglasses are a year-round item, and why not go a bit funky with some blue vintage frames?
3. Red-striped Turkish peshtemal from The Anatolian on Etsy, $28 + shipping: The uses for this thing are endless. I've been known to use mine as a picnic blanket, beach towel, gym towel, and a throw blanket. Attractive, sturdy, and lightweight, peshtemals are one of my favorite home items.
4. Blue Weber One-Touch Gold Grill from The Home Depot, $160: Summer corn and winter chestnuts. They all need an open fire, right?
5. Large navy blue chevron tote by Bella Jean Totes on Etsy, $45 + shipping: You can still seize the day with some red, white, and blue, but by opting for a fashionable chevron print instead of the stars and stripes, it's more appropriate year-round.
Retro plaid metal picnic basket table from Poppy Hill Farm on Etsy, $115 + shipping: This was just too good not to add. It's a small, thin piece of luggage that opens up to reveal picnic-ware. Then—wait for it—it opens up even more to become a table. With this little thing, you can pretend to be picnicking even when it's below freezing. Be still my heart.
(Images: as credited above)