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Without a doubt, one of my favorite things to do is host family and friends. I love creating menus to make sure everyone has something they’ll like, setting the table so guests feel welcome, and adding small, special touches that require minimal effort on my part (and don’t break the bank). Especially now that summer is in full swing, we have guests filtering in and out of the apartment, so I like to keep certain items on hand to ensure we always have food to serve and accessories to make a last-minute party.
Whether you’re serving up a weeknight meal or hosting a dinner party, here are a few simple and affordable additions from Walmart—one of my go-tos for budget-friendly, quality decor—that can make the table feel like it’s fit for an occasion.
If there are mini hot dogs, let alone mini corn dogs, at a party, you know it’s going to be a good time. Every single time I put out mini corn dogs on a plate—like these colorful recycled plastic dinner plates from Walmart—they’re met with a resounding “OMG! Mini corn dogs!” So yes, you could say that I like to stock up on these particularly affordable and delicious little apps.
$7.96 (4-Piece Set)
I tell everyone who will listen that the trick to an elevated meal is to use cloth napkins. Yep, it’s as simple as that. Laying out a cloth napkin for each person, like these summery gingham ones, makes even the simplest weeknight dinner feel like a restaurant-quality experience. Plus, you can toss them right in the wash and use them again at your next gathering. Bonus: These cuties are totally barbecue sauce-proof.
It’s hard to follow mini corn dogs, but a big bowl of a fresh, zippy salad is the perfect second course for a summer dinner. I like to put out this spinach and Dijon number from Walmart as soon as guests have settled down at the table. Depending on how many I’m hosting, I’ll grab between one and three of these salads and combine them all into a large bowl for serving (some people might even think I put it together myself, and who am I to correct them?).
$20.61 (16-Piece Set)
Instead of relying on disposable cups when having guests over, I like to go the extra mile by leaving beautiful, yet durable glassware within reach on the counter or table so guests can feel comfortable helping themselves to water or a drink. These glasses come in two different sizes (16 ounces and 13.3 ounces) and come in at just over $1 per glass.They’re functional for having guests over and everyday use—perfect for iced tea, juice, water, cocktails, wine, and fizzy drinks like these sparkling strawberry seltzers.
11 Must-Haves If You Plan to Host Guests This Summer
No dinner table is complete without some fresh florals, but I try to keep the florals at a lower height so no one has to peek over them. My tip: Spread flowers out into multiple vessels, like these textured apothecary-style vases, so everyone has something beautiful to look at. Sometimes I’ll repurpose flowers I already purchased that week for the table, and others, I’ll grab a bouquet from Walmart and split it into multiple arrangements.
Finally: the main course. Since I don’t have a grill in my city apartment, frozen pizza is the perfect summer entree that takes minimal effort and crisps up quickly. Plus, this entire large pizza is only $9—less than half the price of our local delivery pizza. While I find that pepperoni is an almost universal favorite, Walmart’s Marketside brand also has five cheese, bacon, and supreme (black olives, peppers, sausage, pepperoni) versions depending on everyone’s preferences. Oh, and don’t forget the pizza cutter!
Starting at $2.32
Believe it or not, I have a cabinet full of pillar candles (yes, a cabinet) ready to scatter on the table for added ambience. You can either put these directly on the table, or add a small plate or saucer underneath to catch any stray wax drips. I recommend opting for an unscented pillar candle if you’re planning to have them lit while eating, so the only scent you’re focused on is that of the meal you’re enjoying.
How do you like to level-up your tablescape? Tell us in the comments!
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