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Chefs often say that people eat with their eyes first. Food that looks attractive gets your taste buds excited, and you can’t wait to dig in. Even before trying your first bite, your palate is telling you that this is something you’re going to love. When served appealingly, the experience is even more amazing. Beautifully presented meals let your delicious culinary talents shine to the max. The dinnerware and serveware you choose for the occasion plays a significant part in that presentation. At west elm, we know you like to make a show-stopping impression on guests. Our distinctive tabletop pieces give you many options. Add some pizzazz to your meals and give your dining room the ambience you’re seeking. With our kitchen sale, there’s no better time to make it happen.

One of the most important ways to capture the attention of guests and family members is to put your signature style on things. No other cook is identical to you. You have your inspirations, favorite recipes and cultural influences. In fact, there are probably times when a recipe tells you to zig, and you decide to zag instead. Improvising when you feel like it adds some excitement to the dining table. That little touch of lemon, cilantro, red wine or whatever other secret ingredients you have up your sleeve make your meals memorable and cause your dinner guests to rave.

The same thing goes with the dinnerware, place settings and table centerpieces you select. Try to incorporate details that people recognize. Do you have a passion for Tuscan cooking? Bring a central Italian feeling to the table with glazed ceramic dishes with a European flair. Use a deep oval-shaped serving bowl to pass homemade pasta or baked favorites around the table family style. If you love art, then infuse that feeling for all things artistic when you plate. Geometric shapes or exotic motifs highlight food and set your table apart from all others.

Color also has a significant effect on the way your food looks. Soft blue or green pastels make salads, sauces, roasts, soups and desserts pop out at you vibrantly. Brighter colors like yellow, red and orange are fun and exciting yet elegant enough for parties. When you want to grab your guests’ attention, try mixing and matching different colors and designs when putting together place settings.

Of course, you’re not limited to one set of dinnerware only. You can swap collections any time you feel like it. Some people like to have one table arrangement for formal parties, another for entertaining close friends in a more relaxed ambience – think margaritas, after-dinner table games and endless evenings of telling stories – and other pieces for everyday dining. When the seasons change or you want to spice things up a bit, there’s nothing wrong with expressing your style with a different dinnerware collection.

Sometimes, what you’re looking for are pieces that have a strong sense of luxury. They put a vintage twist on canapés and cocktails, dinner and dancing or anything else you have planned for the evening. White dinnerware stands out in this setting. Bone china is lightweight and extremely elegant. It shimmers in the light and even reflects the colors of the hors d’oeuvres on your plate. Flatware with silver or gold accents also feels right at home in a refined gala or poolside soiree.

When entertaining, you probably want to spend as much time as possible at the party, not working behind the scenes. If friends just popped in to visit, they might love to enjoy a fresh cup of coffee or refreshing drink while catching up. Trays let you stay mobile and have fun with your guests. If you’re not a fan of standard trays, grab a triangular or oval tray and serve guests in a manner that is more befitting your style.

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