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dinner party design tips from apartment therapy's maxwell ryan.

How do you design a dinner party? Or bunch or lunch party, for that matter? Apartment Therapy's Founder, Maxwell Ryan, gave us his six best design tips to get your space ready to host a memorable meal.

Apartment dinner party tips cheers


start with a (small) table. 

We've been trained to think that we need a large dining table in order to host, but Apartment Therapy's founder explains that what we really need is a mind-shift. In restaurants, we almost always dine at a cozy, two-by-two table, and we should not feel like we need more than that in order to host a meal in our homes.


clear your clutter. 

Nothing will detract more from the meal you're about to serve than clutter, so put it away. (In Maxwell's words - do you want to go to a restaurant and see someone's gym equipment? No? Then put it away.)


aim to have three points of light.

Lighting can make or break the ambiance, so make sure your lighting is working with you, not against you, when you host. Having three points of dimmable light is the ideal to aim for, but anything that you can do to create soft, warm lighting from different points in the room will go a long way to setting the right mood for your meal. 


candles. candles. candles.

Speaking of setting the mood with light, make sure you have candles. Lots of candles. 


reflection obsession.

Whether your space is big or small, reflections (especially reflections of light) will take it from mediocre to perfection in a matter of seconds. Mirrors work to expand your space, letting it breathe and reflect the light. "This really makes a space feel alive when you entertain!" says Maxwell.


table top.

Your table (and what sits on top) is the main tactile point of engagement during a dinner party. So really think about what that experience is going to be like. You can start with a table cloth, and move on to thinking about the cutlery your guests will hold, the plates and bowls your guests will eat from, the wine glasses they'll drink from, and the dishes from which their food will be presented and served. "This doesn't need to mean buying expensive things, but considering the look and feel," says Maxwell. 



Don't forget to read our full interview with Apartment Therapy Founder Maxwell Ryan on #EnsemblExchange. 


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