hospitality, Lifestyle, Practical Hospitality

6 Items Every Host Should to Have at the Ready

My husband and I decided to adopt an open door policy when we moved into our home. Anyone is welcome, at any time, for any reason. It can be difficult to cope with this kind of life if you’re never prepared for company. Over the years I’ve adapted, reorganized, came up tips and tricks, and compiled a list of things that I always have at my disposal. Having these 6 things ready to go at any time has made our open door policy a lot less stressful and a lot more fun. Whether company shows up at my door for coffee, mid-day, or as I’m putting dinner on the table, I feel at ease and ready.

A Set of White Dishes

White dishes are classy and versatile. They can be used for any occasion and in any season. White foundation dishes such as dinner plates and soup bowls makes it easy to add pops of color using place cards, salad plates, napkins, or napkin rings. White dishes also make it easier to decorate your table for different holidays without having to own 15 sets of dishes you can only use once a year. I also really love using white serving bowls and platters. It instantly makes food look better and elevates your table space.

Linen Napkins

Linen napkins are useful for two reasons. First, they are able to be washed and reused indefinitely so you’re not wasting money on paper products that you will throw away. Second, they add a classy sophistication to any table. I avoid white as they stain easily. Napkins are such a fun way to add color and soften any dinner table. I prefer a soft linen to a stiff cotton napkin. The softness adds to the elegance and luxury of my dinner table.


No guest wants to uncomfortable pressure of making sure they don’t leave rings on your furniture, so be sure to have plenty of drink coasters on hand for them to use. You can purchase a nice set of 6 or 8 everyday coasters from places like World Market, Target, or Amazon, then purchase a bunch of paperboard coasters to use for parties. Amazon has great options for paperboard coasters in bulk, but if you want fun personalized paper coasters check out printing companies like Vistaprint.

A Pitcher/Carafe

This is a must for any hostess. I recommend having several, but definitely at least one good pitcher. Always have a pitcher of something ready to be served. This can be as simple as ice water, or as complex as a pitcher of margaritas, but you should always be prepared to pour a cold drink for anyone who happens by your home. I like to use a pitcher for water, lemonade, and iced tea. I like to use a carafe for milk, juice, and iced coffee. I would further recommend having a good teapot and/or coffee pot available for use as well. I hate having a beautiful tablescape ruined by un unsightly plastic jug of juice sitting right in the middle. Pitchers and carafes make it easy to keep the motif while providing practicality as well. You can choose a white porcelain pitcher, clear glass, stoneware, or anything else you fancy. I have some of everything because I have a serious problem collecting dishes.

Serving Platter

There are many good options in a kitchen for serving food, but having at least one platter is a must. There are so many choices available in almost any home goods store. You can choose from wooden, glass, porcelain, stoneware, marble…the list goes on. If you don’t have any platters available for everyday use, no worries! Other items that can be used include fun bowls, cutting boards, cheese boards, charcuterie boards, apothecary jars, and marble tile slabs.

Bottled Beverages

I always keep bottles of wine, sparkling juice, and sparkling water on hand. These are elegant to set out, fun to serve, and makes guests feel extra special. It’s also super easy to mix up a mocktail or cocktail this way. Other bottled beverages to consider keeping in stock are bottles of champagne and any juice or flavored water.

These 6 items will leave you feeling more prepared for both scheduled and unscheduled company. It’s always fun to pop open my company cabinet and pull from my supply. Is there anything I should add to my list? I’d love to hear from you and what you’ve found to be helpful!


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