The Fall Cure has recently ended and party season is in full swing. In Week 2 we decluttered our kitchens, so we don't want to "reclutter" the cabinets with extra stuff during the party planning process. To avoid this problem, here's our how-to for setting a party table without buying anything new except fresh flowers, food, and drinks. (We also have great resources in our entertaining archives for ideas and inspiration.)
Most people already have some dishes and serving pieces in their collection, but there might be some items you're missing. Rather than stocking up on items you might not use much, try out these stand-ins.
If you're low on vases, substitute a drinking glass or glass bottles. Or look here for more ideas.
If you're low on serving trays, split up your appetizers onto smaller dishes. This way, each guest has a single-serving appetizer plate made just for them.
If you're low on tablecloths, cut a piece of fabric 1 inch longer than the desired size (on each side), and hem with a needle and thread or no-sew tape. You could also dress up a table with unexpected coverings like wrapping paper used as a runner.
If you're low on silverware, save your forks and knives for the main course and choose finger foods or use toothpicks for appetizers.
If you're low on coasters, cut fabric scraps into small squares and hem the edges. You can also use fabric scraps to make cloth napkins.
If you need a little ambiance, use glass cups, ramekins, or even tea cups to display tea lights.
Any other ideas out there for DIY party tables?
Re-edited from a post by Sarahc which originally published 10.19.07 – ST