butler’s tray and stand
Courtesy of West Elm

Instant Side Table

No extra furniture needed when you have the versatile butler’s tray and stand. It's perfect as a makeshift bar, or it could function as a food serving station. When you’re not using the stand, it folds right up, and the tray can be stored on top of the refrigerator or a side table.

Butler’s Stand and Tray
Tray $59 to $69 (tray)
Stand $169 (stand)
Available at West Elm

serving plates
Courtesy of CB2

Smart Serving

Flat is the way to go, and these smart serving plates have a slightly raised rim so they take up very little space in the cabinet. The smallest size can even double as a dinner plate.

Shopping Tip: You can’t go wrong by investing in white dishes and serving pieces. Different styles and shapes seamlessly come together, and you can still mix in a few colorful accents.

Cuatro Platters
$2 to $15
Available at CB2

Easy Glassware
Courtesy of World Market

Easy Glassware

What muffin stumps were to bakers, glass stems are becoming to entertainers: unneeded. Wine (both red and white), martinis, and even champagne are being served in easy-to-store stemless glasses. When the party is over, these can go right in the dishwasher.

Stemless Glasses
Available at World Market

tiered serving tray
Courtesy of Pottery Barn

Rise Up

When there isn’t a lot of space on the table, go up. A tiered serving tray can delicately display snacks and hors d’oeuvres early in the meal, and then can be transitioned later for desserts.

Great White 3-Tier Stand
Available at Pottery Barn

lazy Susan
Courtesy of VivaTerra

Please Pass the …

The eternal space saver, the lazy Susan has come out of the cupboard and onto the table. Made from an old oak wine barrel, this version will look great in the center of your table and keep condiments and wine within reach.
When not in use for a party, keep this in your pantry to display your spices. Or place it on top of a side table, so that when you need reading light, you can just turn the lamp closer.

Wine Barrel Lazy Susan
Available at VivaTerra

Mingling Plates
Courtesy of Pottery Barn


These plates were made for walking (around the party, that is). If limited seating is a problem, these little plates just might save the day. With a notch for a stemmed wine glass, it will hold your wine so you can enjoy the appetizers.

Mingling Plates
$24 (set of 4)
Available at Pottery Barn

Serving utensils
Courtesy of Target

Your Serve

Serving utensils are smart investments for the holiday entertaining season. A regular soup spoon won’t cut it when it’s time to serve stuffing. This five-piece set will have every dish covered with two slotted spoons, a large serving spoon, meat fork, and ladle.

Serving Utensils
Available at Target

cordless warming tray
Courtesy of Target

Some Like It Hot

Any side table or bookcase instantly becomes a buffet with a cordless warming tray. After being unplugged, side dishes will stay warm up to an hour.

Warming Tray
Available at Target

extra hot plate
Courtesy of Wal-Mart

Extra Eye

Some apartments and houses have less-than-desirable kitchens. Older cooktops and uneven burners can leave you in a bind. So pick up an extra hot plate to help with the meal preparation. When you’ve finished cooking, don’t worry. This college student’s culinary friend takes up very little space.

Hot Plate
Available at Wal-Mart

12 dinner plates
Courtesy of Pottery Barn

The Entertainer

If you think years of hosting parties is in your near future, it might be a good idea to stock up on extra plates now. Intended to be used just for entertaining, this set of 12 dinner plates even comes in a sturdy box for storing.

Caterer’s Set of Plates
$39 (salad set)
$49 (dinner set)
Available at Pottery Barn

cupboard organizer

Grab a Plate

Serving dinner buffet-style is casual and can save space. To aid in the process, look to a cupboard organizer to help set up everything. The wire rack system not only helps organize your dishes in the cabinets, but also makes setting up the buffet a snap.

Corner Shelf
Available at The Container Store

Bar Stool/table
Courtesy of Ikea

As You Like It

It’s a stool, no it’s a table –- really, it can be both. Depending on your needs, this versatile piece of furniture can be pulled to use as a makeshift side table or extra seating.

Bar Stool/Table
Available at Ikea

little bamboo dishes
Courtesy of Branch

Salt and Pepper

There is no need to buy fancy salt and pepper shakers when you can use little bamboo dishes. Guests can just take a pinch and pass them on. And these can be used for anything else, because the bamboo doesn't absorb flavors. Later, you can fill them with soy sauce for sushi or ketchup for fries.

Small Condiment Cups
$5 (set of 2)
Available at Branch

four small bowls on a black wooden tray
Courtesy of CB2

Multipurpose Pieces

With four small bowls on a black wooden tray, this set looks great together. You can also disassemble it and use the bowls to serve a sauce or side dish and the tray to serve drinks or appetizers.

Tokyo Four-Part Server
Available at CB2

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