With spring here and summer coming, it’s time to dust off the old welcome mat (or get a new one), invite some friends over, and celebrate the season. Hosting a dinner party or a casual night in is a great way to reconnect with your people (finally!), even just break up the everyday routine. Feeling a little rusty and would like to spice up the night, Fast Company’s got you. Here are 18 unique dinner-party essentials to upgrade your night.
Lavandin Santal Candle from Joe + Monroe
To rid your space of any lingering staleness and help set the mood, light up a Lavandin Santal Candle a few hours before guests arrive. The candle’s delicate aromatic balance of vanilla and lavender will have everyone thinking your place always smells this good. Not a fan of these scents? Check out Joe + Monroe’s six other Signature Candles.
Blooming Becky Flower Vase from The Lazy Gardener
Flowers are always a nice touch. For a real conversation starter, arrange a bouquet from your local florist in one of these gracefully distinctive vases. There are three “Blooming Beckys” to choose from: Sitting Pretty, Pondering Pose, and Contemplative. And just think, long after your last guest leaves, any one of these handcrafted beauties will continue to delight you.
Luxe Postcard Invitations by MOO
Sure, a chaotic group text will get the word out, but why not make your invitations fancy with a customizable luxe postcard. These textured postcards (of 32-point card stock) come in a set of 25 with your choice of eight seam colors. Dust off your graphic design skills or keep it simple; either way, these postcard invites are sure to make your guests feel special.
Persian Rug with Animal Print from Society6
To make a lasting first impression, Society6 offers a welcome mat in this 17th century Persian-rug print. Available in two sizes, it’s constructed of looped vinyl, making it easy to clean and durable against the elements.
The Oven Mitts by Staff
Now is the perfect time to ditch your old, worn-out oven mitts for this pair of different colored cuties. Unlike grime-accumulating cloth mitts, these are made of food-grade silicone and are dishwasher safe. Plus, the bow-tied smile design will be the perfect pick-me-up until you (finally!) ace that black bean brownie recipe.
Mixed Graphic Bamboo Dinner Plates by Xenia Taler
Show off your good taste with a set of good-for-the-planet bamboo-fiber dinner plates. Made from industrial manufacturers discarded bamboo scraps, with a ceramic overglaze, Xenia Taler’s sustainably sourced tableware is lightweight, dishwasher safe, and a great way to impress your guests. Create your own mixed set of 6 from dozens of graphic designs.
Salad Freak by Jess Damuck
Salad Freak, the first cookbook from food editor and stylist Jess Damuck, will surely up your salad game. A random flip to any page would be enough to guide your adventurous culinary vision for the night. With over 100 recipes, ranging from Tea-Smoked Chicken to Yellow Gazpacho, you’ll leave the carnies and vegans satisfied alike.
Pizza Night! Gift Box by Foxtrot
Struggling to come up with a menu for the evening? Look no further than Foxtrot’s at-home pizza kit of ingredients—dinner and entertainment all in one. Making a pizza together is the perfect activity for a night-in with friends (see: twirling the dough). And Foxtrot’s focus on thoughtfully sourced ingredients, including Jacobsen’s Oregon sea salt and Spice House’s crushed red chili flakes, will have everyone salivating! Includes a 12-inch pizza rocker knife to keep.
Smoked Fish Trio by Fishwife
Indulge a pesca-hungry crowd with these tins of smoked rainbow trout from Idaho, smoked albacore tuna from the Pacific coast, and smoked Atlantic salmon from Norway. The trio of ready-to-serve fish can make an excellent appetizer, and Fishwife’s recipe page will help you whip something up in no time.
Mineral Water by Found Bubbly
Found Bubbly’s mineral water variety pack features 3 bottles of 4 flavors each—Elderflowery, Cucumber Minty, Lemony, and Watermelony—enough to thrill all your dinner guests. These electrolyte-packed chalices give you all the water you’ll need to balance out a wild night in (see: Mezcal to come). Taste-test the different flavors, compare impressions, and turn the bottles into take-home vases for your guests.
Mezcal by Yola
Shake or stir up some drinks with some Yola mezcal. This women-founded, women-run business prides itself on its 400-year-old traditional Oaxacan distillation process, and you can taste the difference. Use mezcal in place of standard tequila in all of your favorite drinks, from Palomas to Salty Dogs.
Champagne Problems 500-Piece Puzzle from Maisonette
Take on this boozy puzzle (after some Mezcal, of course) with your friends for a tame entry into the post-dinner portion of the evening. Solving a puzzle can be the mindless task needed to catch up on your guests’ lives. Or, take it incredibly seriously and complete the puzzle in silence.
Partybox 110 by JBL
Let the party begin with this JBL Partybox 110. Even though you’ve had your prepared First Hour of Dinner Party playlist on in the background, its time to turn things up! This Bluetooth-capable, light-synced, splash-proof speaker will certainly let the whole block know how to have a good time. Or, plug in your favorite instrument for a wholesome sing-along session.
Yatzy by Burke Decor
There’s little more classically entertaining than a game of Yatzy! You and your friends can get back to the dice-throwing, tension-building, scream-producing world of Yahtzee of your childhood, but with a stylish (grown-up) twist. Burke Decor’s minimalist version features blue dice, matching pair of score-keeping pencils and a simply classic scoresheet. Let the games begin!
Playing Cards by David Shrigley
Whether for spades, cribbage, slapjack, or poker, this deck of 54 playing cards will tastefully elevate whichever game you’re into. Designed and illustrated by David Shrigley, the entire deck is comprised of only black suits. In other words, every spade, heart, diamond, and club is “the color of Shrigley’s sense of humor.” And yes, as you’ll see, the “fucking ace” doesn’t back down.
THE AFTER PARTY
Pajama Sets by West of Breakfast
Clean up your place in style by slipping into one of West of Breakfast’s multicolor pajama sets. Pick from 7 different sets—including The Fun One, Charming One, Flirty One, and Wild One—to match your hosting vibe. These lightweight PJs will take you through to the morning after with a big smile.
Avant Guard Face Mask by Experiment Beauty
Avoid the wasteful single-use face masks (that never seem to work, anyway) and invest in one that will—and will last. Use any of your tried-and-true moisturizers or serums to refresh before bed. Enjoy the post-use radiant glow and pat yourself on the back for a night well done.
Dream Light by Kin Euphorics
What a night! Your weeks of planning were worth it, and now you’re gassed. For an ethereal transition to bedtime, pour yourself a glass of Kin Euphoric’s Dream Light. This special brew of melatonin, Reishi mushroom, and other calming spices will lay you down to sleep for a much-needed night of rest.
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