35 Stylish Ways to Up the Home Entertaining Game

UncommonGoods/Amazon


UncommonGoods/Amazon

In the immortal words of Prince, who was always imploring us to party like it was 1999, “If you didn't come to party, don't bother knockin' on my door.” Which is a great attitude to have when entertaining at home because it means, hey -- come on over, but don’t think we’re just going to order a pizza, sit on the couch, and call it a day.

Not that there’s anything wrong with pizzas. Or couches. Those are fine for get-togethers. But to really entertain and throw the kind of party that people will be talking about for weeks to come, takes some effort and planning. It takes attention to detail and a few special touches to create the ambiance.

Like maybe making homemade pizzas (or at least taking the delivered ones out of the box and putting them on a nice tray) and hanging a curtain of lights behind that couch. Set out some nice glasses instead of those red plastic cups and put that inexpensive wine in a fancy decanter. (And speaking of plastic, it’s a great time to start making parties greener, which means replacing plastic cutlery with reusable flatware and serving water out of a glass dispenser and nixing the plastic water bottles.) 

Entertaining at home is the new going out, so read on for 36 ways to class it up and make those guests feel welcome when they come knockin’ on the door. Make Prince proud, and party like it’s 2019.

Psst: If purchasing an item on this list, CafeMom may receive a small cut. Each item and price is up to date at the time of publication; however, an item may be sold out or the price may be different at a later date.

  • Hanging Cocktail Bar

    This wall-mounted hanging cocktail bar is ideal for small spaces or for the patio. The fold-down shelf can be a mixing station and there’s room on top and inside for glasses and good bottles of scotch that hosts might not be to keen on sharing.

    Hanging Cocktail Bar ($118, UncommonGoods)

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  • LED Light Up Ball

    This party is lit! And what better way to get things going than with a huge, glowing orb shining in the darkness? This 20-inch light sphere has a remote control to change the colors to mesmerize guests and potentially scare small children.

    LOFTEK 20-inch LED Light Up Ball with Remote Control ($170, Amazon)

  • Hand-Blown Glass Wine Decanter

    Nothing classes up a party like booze served out of an elegant decanter. This one is made of hand-blown glass and has a solid oak stopper and can even be engraved. Take my money!

    Initialed Hand-Blown Glass Wine Decanter with Stopper ($55, BizEGirlDesigns/Etsy)

  • Mason Jar Solar Lanterns

    These charming lights will add a magical glow to any party. They’re solar-powered and require no wiring or electricity, and will last for up to eight hours -- probably longer than the guests.

    Mason Jar Solar Lanterns ($34 for a set of 6, Amazon)

  • Stone Drink Dispenser

    Man or caveman, anyone will get a kick out of this granite drink dispenser. Gives new meaning to having a drink “on the rocks.” The stand is sold separately.

    Stone Drink Dispenser ($150, UncommonGoods)

  • Chip & Dip Server

    Tired of that chip and dip set shaped like a football helmet? Get something classier that is so gorgeous it’ll become a family heirloom (unlike that football helmet.) Pita and hummus never had it so good.

    Nambé Harmony Chip & Dip Server ($80, Amazon)

  • Ice Cream Mixing Set 

    No need to go to that fancy ice cream shop where they mix up those custom flavors -- treat guests to the same thing in the kitchen. Freeze the marble slab, and then use it to mix in ingredients like chocolate chips, fruits, and candies to create custom ice cream concoctions.

    Parlor Ice Cream Mixing Set ($70, UncommonGoods)

  • Cornhole Set

    Despite its sketchy moniker, cornhole seems to be a super popular party game these days. The pull of a beanbag tossed through a hole on a wooden board seems to be irresistible. At least make it stylish with these wooden boards set in aluminum frames, that won't be a backyard eyesore. Now if they can just do something about changing the name.

    Cornhole Set w/8 Bags ($73, Amazon)

  • Box Wine Dispenser

    Disguise -- or class up any boxed or bottled wine with these elegant dispensers. They hold bags up to 3 liters, or you can use the included bag to hold up to four bottles of Two-Buck Chuck! No one will be the wiser.

    Wine Nook Box Wine Dispenser ($95, WineNookShop/Etsy)

  • Ombre Stemless Wine Glasses

    Ditch the plastic wine cups for these beauties handmade by Mexican artists, mouth-blown from recycled glass. The festive colors are gorgeous, and also help guests keep track of their drinks during the party.

    Multicolor Ombre Stemless Wine Glass Set ($85 for 6, UncommonGoods)

  • Vintage Rolling Beer Cart

    This vintage-style rolling beer cart will be the center of attention at any party (as long as it’s filled with beer.) Would be perfect for storing cold drinks and desserts at a kid's birthday party, too. (Make sure to take the beer out first.)

    Giantex Rolling Cooler Beer Cart ($130, Amazon)

  • Himalayan Salt Tequila Glasses

    For anyone who likes more than a little tartness with their tequila. These reusable shot glasses are hand-carved in Pakistan from Himalayan salt and are a novel way to take that shot of mescal -- no need to salt the rim.

    Himalayan Salt Tequila Glasses  ($28 for 4, UncommonGoods)

  • Terracotta Pizza Oven

    Homemade pizza seems to be popping up on party menus a lot these days, and this distinctive pizza oven would make an interesting, functioning centerpiece. Or, if rolling out homemade crust is too much trouble, use it to keep that delivered pizza warm.

    Blue Fish Terracotta Pizza Oven ($150, Cost Plus World Market)

  • Chocolate Waffle Shots

    These shot glasses are edible and made out of waffles and chocolate. Need we say more? Fill them with ice cream, espresso, or liquor and get the party started.

    Chocolate Waffle Shots ($24 for 6, UncommonGoods)

  • Five-Piece Cocktail Set 

    This classy bar set would be a nice addition to any home bar and would make perfecting those drink-mixing skills even more fun. It comes in its own storage box, and the whole thing can be engraved for a gift. 

    5 Piece Cocktail Set With Wood Storage Box ($80, TealsPrairie/Etsy)

  • Folding Portable Gas Grill

    This small portable grill looks stylish and is perfect for small spaces -- it even folds flat for easy storage. Besides, it’s time to replace that old, rusty one on the patio that’s filled with spiders. (Trust us, it’s filled with spiders.) These sell out fast, so get one now for all those summer parties.

    STOK Gridiron Portable Gas Grill ($160, Target)

  • USB Charging Station

    At some point during the party, someone (or everyone) is going to have to charge their phones. This handy USB charging hub can charge six phones at a time. No one will miss out on a single selfie.

    VOGEK 6-Port USB Charging Station ($19, Amazon)

  • Steel Fire Pit 

    A fire pit is almost a party necessity -- there’s no better way to get people gathered together and talking (besides wine). This one is so stylish, and at this price it’s a real steal.

    Sakura Steel Fire Pit ($205, Wayfair)

  • Highball Glasses

    Grownup parties require grownup glasses -- no more drinking that mojito out of a red plastic cup. These highball glasses can be used everyday, too.

    Mikasa Cheers Highball Glasses ($44 for 4, Amazon)

  • 20-Piece Silverware Set

    Get classy and get rid of the plastic flatware along with the plastic cups. A set of inexpensive flatware for parties is a smart buy, and helps the environment, too. These are beautiful and so inexpensive, go ahead and order a few sets for those big get-togethers.

    Casbah 20 Piece Silverware Set ($21, Target)

  • Outdoor Cooler Table

    For tight spaces, no more having to choose between having a table or a cooler -- this one is both! It also looks nice as a regular table, too, for having that hangover-coffee the next morning.

    Keter Outdoor Cooler Table ($65, Amazon)

  • Masonware Party Station

    There’s a big metal tub filled with drinks at every party, but who says it has to be unattractive? This one is galvanized metal and sits in a metal stand that has a wine rack built in. So civilized!

    Artland Masonware Party Station ($70, Amazon)

  • Lighted Patio Umbrella 

    A patio umbrella is nice, but a patio umbrella with lights inside is even better. The lights are solar-powered and will last for up to seven hours and the umbrella adjusts easily to any angle. It’ll be hard to get anyone to come inside.

    Solar Powered LED Lighted Patio Umbrella ($72, Amazon)

  • Cheese Board Set With Serving Utensils

    It’s not a party without a cheese board, and this one will display all the brie, Gouda, and Manchego in style. The cheese knives store conveniently in the rack at the top, and there’s a place for the crackers to go, too. So fancy.

    Bamboo Cheese Board Set With 4 Stainless Steel Serving Utensils ($36, Amazon)

  • Leaf Dinner Napkins

    Dinner parties require cloth napkins, and these elegant linens printed with leaf designs will class up any event. They’re handmade, and each napkin has a different design. So gorgeous it’ll be hard to convince anyone to wipe their mouths with them.

    Leaf Dinner Napkins ($22 for 4, KitchStudios/Etsy)

  • Indoor/Outdoor Starburst Light 

    Lighting can make all the difference at a party. Ditch the harsh fluorescents and fill up the room or backyard with unusual fixtures like this starburst light. The “branches” are bendable and can be bent to a variety of shapes -- even to fit into a vase. These lights will be up year-round which is fine because the bulbs last up to 25,000 hours, enough for almost three years of non-stop partying.

    Indoor/Outdoor Starburst Light ($20, Amazon)

  • Black Walnut Serving Tray

    Don’t serve those delicious canapés on a plastic dish -- honor them with this stunning serving tray. Made out of black walnut, it has metal handles for easy carrying. Those little cheese-topped crackers will taste even better when presented on this majestic board.

    Black Walnut Serving Tray ($75, BearDogDesignsCo/Etsy)

  • Chalkboard Table Runner

    This innovative chalkboard table runner is a great way to label dishes on a buffet, write out a custom message, or just let guests release their inner sidewalk artist.

    Chalkboard Table Runner Set ($23, UncommonGoods)

  • LED Lights Curtain

    Looking for the perfect selfie background for a party? This is it. A curtain of small lights makes a magical backdrop for a photo, and also adds a warm ambiance to any space. Guaranteed, these are never coming down.

    Twinkle Star LED Lights Curtain ($18, Amazon)

  • 11-Piece Fondue Set 

    Everyone seems to be having fondue parties these days, and who can blame them? There’s something irresistible about dipping things into bubbling vats of cheese. And if we’re resurrecting a party dish from the 1950s, might as well go vintage with this fondue pot in shag-rug orange.

    Sierra 11-Piece Fondue Set ($74, Amazon)

  • Bodega Glasses

    According to the party gods, stemmed wine glasses are so last year. Bodega glasses are the new “it” glass, and they sure are easier to keep from being knocked over at a crowded soiree. Simple and unassuming and so international, these are great as everyday glasses, too.

    Bormioli Rocco Glassware ($20 for 12, Amazon)


  • Giant Red Balloon Animal Pool Float

    This huge pool float (that's an homage to artist Jeff Koons's inflatable dog statues) will amuse the creative types at any party and get them away from the expensive wine. No pool is needed -- this would look great just sitting in the middle of the lawn.

    Giant Red Balloon Animal Pool Float ($30, Amazon)

  • Ice Bucket

    Never underestimate the importance of ice at a party. Without it, there wouldn't be any Old Fashioneds, margaritas, or Moscow mules. And unless the party’s in a frat house, the ice shouldn’t be tossed in a dish tub in the sink. This ice bucket looks classy and will keep those cubes cold (and clean) for a while.

    OXO Ice Bucket With Tongs ($50, Sur La Table)

  • Beverage Dispenser

    Always have water on hand at a party, and to keep things Earth-friendly nix the plastic water bottles. Fill up a container like this one with water and throw in lots of lemon and lime slices, some mint and cucumber and it might just be more popular than the mystery punch. And it looks nicer, too.

    Artland 2-gallon, 2 Part Beverage Dispenser ($72, Amazon)

  • Single Serve Pod Coffee Maker 

    A good host always offers coffee to guests at the end of a party. Of course, there’s always someone who’s going to want decaf (barbarians!) so a single-serve coffee maker is ideal -- buy a bunch of different pods and let everyone make their own brew.

    Keurig K-Mini Plus Single Serve Pod Coffee Maker ($100, Bed Bath & Beyond)

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