Whether you're starting your entertaining collection for the first time or simply just want an update, collecting the right essential items can help you throw together the perfect party or gathering, no matter the time of year. Here, a few tips to keep in mind so you build a collection that's just right for you and your style.

1. Picking the Perfect PlatesWhen it comes to plates, try finding something that is versatile. Since this is where you will probably be spending the bulk of your money, you will want them to be able to go with any occasion. I love these organically shaped white plates from abc home. They can go from casual to formal and fit any color pallet with ease.

2. Selecting Versatile Table LinensYou can do so much with table linens! First, I think it is important to invest in a neutral set that you will be able to enjoy for years. You may want to spend a little extra money to get something that will hold up and be reliable party after party.

Linens are also a great way to add some color to your event. Purchase some vintage scarves from a thrift store or buy fun patterned fabrics and cut them down with pinking shears to give them a nice edge. World Market has a great selection of solid colors that will add color to your table and leave you extra cash for your flower arrangements.

3. Star a Collection of Serving VesselsLet’s face it; as much as I love decorating for a dinner party, the food is the real star. Put together a collection of neutral serving dishes that will really show off the food you worked so hard to prepare. I love a white ceramic handmade dish. This style of dish will go with everything! It will also add a styled feel to your table without taking away from the food. You can always add metal and wood for an extra layer or bit of warmth.

4. A Must Have: Galvanized TubA galvanized tub is a great thing to keep around for party purposes because you can use one in so many ways. Throw some ice and your favorite drinks in for guests to help themselves. If you are planning an outdoor party, you can use it to store blankets for guests to keep warm while they lounge in the yard. The possibilities are endless.

5. Mix and Match Your LightingLighting is always the finishing touch. Don’t be afraid to mix and match vessels. One of my favorite tricks is to line each place setting with a votive and colored juice glass.

I hope that these little tips make building your basics a bit easier. Don't forget that getting together with friends and family is all about good food and enjoying your favorite people. Having the right pieces for your dinner table is a great way to express yourself and how much they mean to you.

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