Five Tips to Create a Fine-Dining Experience for Your Special Guests

If you’re hosting a dinner party, you may want to go all out and dress your dining room to the nines—give them a fine-dining experience they won’t forget. You may want to emulate the dining experience of your favourite four- or five-star restaurant, or you may want to create your own classy vibe. Whatever you have in mind, a domestic fine-dining experience doesn’t need to break the budget. Here are five tips for creating a fine-dining experience for your special guests.

Get the furniture right

Furniture can set the whole tone of a room, so it’s important to get it right—especially in a dining room, where furniture is the main course (well, apart from the edible main course). Dining chairs in particular are fun to play around with. You can either have them all match the table, or you may choose to add a bolder and more oversized chair at the head of the table. This accent chair will offset your smaller chairs that span the length of the table. If you’d prefer a symmetrical appearance, you can add matching accent chairs at either end of the table. Whatever you decide, ensure to stick with the fine-dining theme, which can sometimes shy away from the modern look in favour of a more antique style.

Pull out your nicer crockery

Pull out your nicer crockery

If you’re going for a fine-dining vibe, this is no time to economise on crockery. If you have fine china plates—or even elegantly patterned plates—bring them out. If you have silverware that is not purely for display, bring it out. If you have a fancy tablecloth that’s been sitting around in your linen cupboard, bring it out! You may have more resources available than you think—and if not, then you can always outsource. If you’re a fan of coasters, ensure that they match your aesthetic. Lie everything atop the table elegantly apart. Perhaps watch some napkin-folding tutorials. If your guests are reluctant to disrupt your tabletop origami merely to wipe their mouths, then you know you’ve done something right.

It doesn’t have to be this elaborate but you get the idea.

Décor can make or break your whole vibe

Décor can make or break your whole vibe

‘Make or break’ is slightly dramatic, but the décor you use will contribute to your vibe almost as much as the furniture will. For instance, which centrepiece will take the floor atop your table? An elegant vase with a few freshly cut flowers can be a nice touch. Perhaps you want your crockery to revolve around a miniature statue or figurine. You might want to also check your wall art. Do your displayed images match your fine-dining aesthetic? For tonight, you may want to relegate those family photos to the loungeroom (or similar) to make way for an antique painting.

This predominantly green centrepiece complements the blue-green aesthetic. Sometimes you don’t need an abundance of flowers to strike the right impression! Image: 1825 Interiors

Make it inviting with mood lighting

Make it inviting with mood lighting

If you’re fortunate enough to have adjustable lighting, use this to your advantage. Simulate the intimacy of a fine-dining experience by dimming the lights to an appropriate level. In lieu of adjustable lighting, you could also use candles—scented or otherwise—to fine effect. If you’re concerned about fire safety, you could also use fake candles. Adjust your heating or cooling to the season-appropriate temperature. Pop some music on—CDs or even records if you’re old-school. Otherwise, fire up the UE Boom and stream some tunes. You could even curate the playlist for ultimate quality control.

This is an excellent use of lighting. If you intend to host dinner parties often, it may be worth investing in some fancier light hangings.

Bring some good grub

Finally, the reason that we all came here: the food! What are you going to cook and how are you going to present it? Research some gourmet recipes prior to your big event. You can Google some recipes or invest in some quality cookbooks, if you prefer the tactile freedom of flipping through paper pages. Consider your budget and decide if you will accompany the main course with an entrée and/or a dessert. Ensure that you have considered all dietary requirements and cook to accommodate! Finally, ensure to present the food to look attractive atop your carefully curated crockery. It’s not just the dining room you’ll want to look good!