You’ve probably covered the basics—from big pieces like dining tables and chairs to little things ranging from a set of pots and pans to plates, cutlery, and drinking glasses. But there are things that some people might consider luxuries but are actually essential to having a complete kitchen and dining area—and will save you a lot of time, space, and effort. Here are some of them:
1. A good set of kitchen knives
Ask any cook or seasoned homemaker what he or she can’t live without in the kitchen, and the quick response will usually be a reliable set of knives. You simply can’t prepare any food without them. Blunt knives will do more harm than good—making it difficult to slice meat and vegetables is just one very basic example of the hassle they bring—and using the wrong size or type can be hazardous. So don’t go cheap and instead invest in a good set of quality knives that will last for many years, with proper care and handling.
2. A decent-sized cutting board
While you’re grabbing your knife set, throw in a cutting board if you don’t have one yet. According to TheSpruce.com (), “A cutting board will also save you a lot of hassle and protect your countertops and cookware from damage. There are many materials to choose from, but the most important decision will be the size. Buy a cutting board that you will actually use and is not too big for your kitchen.”
3. Timeless Dinnerware & Serveware
When you’re entertaining visitors at home, make sure the dining table is set with elegant plates (ideally with separate ones for salad, mains, and dessert), silverware, and glasses, and the food is served in proper serving platters with serving forks and spoons, plus a carafe for water or your drink of choice. Pick a design that goes with the whole motif of your dining room, and choose pieces that will last you for several group dinners to come. Beautiful handmade ceramic plates are always a good idea, suggests ArchitecturalDigest.com.
4. Cloth napkins
Reserve paper napkins for your meals to go and outdoor picnics. When dining at home, whether or not you have guests over, use real cloth napkins. “They're softer on the face, less wasteful and add a really nice splash of style to your kitchen and dining room,” points out ApartmentTherapy.com. Not to mention it makes every meal a bit more luxurious and comfortable, and it brings color to your table setting. You can even change the theme or look from season to season. Just don’t forget to have them washed regularly.
5. Dinner candles
A lot of you may not consider this a necessity, but lighting candles during meals instantly elevates your dining experience, no matter what time of day. “There is something very ceremonial and calming about accompanying the meals of the day with a wam and flickering flame,” writes ApartmentTherapy.com. Why do you think candlelit dinners are so special? Place unscented taper or pillar candles on elegant candle holders at the center of the dining table. Avoid using scented candles, as they may interfere with the aroma and taste of the dishes.
6. Champagne flutes
Whether or not you drink at home, there will come a time when you or your guests would want to pop open a bottle of champagne to celebrate—or maybe you just really want some bubbly for dinner—so it’s best to be prepared and have them ready.
7. Wine opener
As with #6, even if you don’t drink, there will always be one dinner you’re hosting at home when a guest would bring a bottle of wine that you will of course have to serve. And while a lot of good wines these days already come in twist-cap bottles, a lot still come corked. Save yourself the hassle (and subtle embarrassment) of using anything other than a proper corkscrew to open that bottle. It doesn’t even have to be fancy. Mark Oldman, a sommelier and the author of How to Drink Like a Billionaire, shared with BusinessInsider.com, “Look for ones with a Teflon-coated spiral, for easy drilling, and a little serrated blade to cut the foil off the bottleneck.”
8. A bar cart
Now, if you do drink or at least like having friends over for some wine, scotch, or cocktails, then you really should consider investing in a bar cart—particularly one fitted with wheels that you can move it from the dining room to the living area or even your outdoor sitting area, if that’s where you happen to be entertaining guests. More than for aesthetics, this piece of portable furniture offers much-needed convenience and can already serve as storage space for your various bottles, bar tools, and maybe even some glasses.