In theory, the idea of throwing a lavish Easter brunch for family and friends is exciting—we're envisioning picture-perfect craft cocktails, an impressive spread of brunch-approved foods, and a beautifully set table. But the reality isn't quite as effortless as it first appears. First, there are the dietary restrictions of each and every guest—from gluten-free to lactose intolerant or vegan. There are all the preparations, from grocery shopping to sending out invitations and crafting the perfect playlist. Lastly, there is the decorating and setting of the table—and the realization that no matter how grand your entertaining dreams are, your budget doesn't even come close to matching a Real Housewives' kids' birthday party.
In fact, it would be preposterous to assume that you should buy new tabletop and place settings for each holiday, yet stores are not in short supply of bunny themed-tableware. But in the name of practicality and a dose of frugality (it is Earth Month, after all), we handpicked classic entertaining essentials that would look great at an Easter brunch table but could also be reused for every other occasion life might throw at you, from Christmas dinner to your everyday breakfast. Ahead, we share our favorite entertaining essentials you won't have to store away after Easter—along with a few tabletop setting tips from some very prolific hostesses.
First, start with your color scheme. Neutrals and muted tones are not only perfect for spring, they can also be mixed and matched all year round. "For maximum impact with minimal effort, I try to choose a very limited color palette (with two or three dominant colors) and then stick to it throughout every element of the table, from the décor to the specialty cocktail to the flowers," says Camille Styles.
Then, add in texture. "Bring in nature," suggests Styles. "I love to bring organic elements into my tabletop design—flowers, greenery, fruit, and berries should feel abundant on the table, especially at this time of year when everyone is excited to get outside with the warmer temps."
For texture, Styles adds not only flowers and greenery but also natural fibers to make the table feel layered and inviting. "I love Target’s new global-inspired pieces from Threshold," she adds. "These jute chargers add to the natural vibe and are the perfect complement to other organic elements."
Sticking to a limited color palette seems to be a recurring theme amongst experts. "Always aim to keep your look cohesive—and from looking like an over-the-top rainbow," suggests designer and Thumbtack pro Angie Chang. "Think of your color palette as a pie chart. Never use more than four to six colors in your pie. For example, use neutrals— like white and green—and an accent color—like yellow."
Simplicity is key not just in the color palette but in the place settings too. One of the mistakes Styles always notices at the table is the use of too many glasses or utensils at each place setting. "Simplicity is a very modern approach to setting the table these days," she says. A set of vintage flatware is not only timeless, it adds interest without overloading the table.
When it comes to napkins, Styles swears by linen: "Linen napkins dress up any table and make it feel instantly party-ready," she says. To help stay within your restricted color palette, Chang recommends the following: "You don't want the table to be overloaded with too much color. For example, use different tones of blue, but soften it with touches of green and white." Remember, less is always more.
For tableware, Styles likes keeping things simple: "Choose an all-purpose wine glass that can work for red or white and a beautiful white dinner plate." For a more organic look, she recommends stoneware plates: Pick them in a neutral shade to allow bright, seasonal food to take center stage."
Another entertaining mistake Styles often notices: scented candles that overpower the food. "I love a table filled with flickering candlelight, but it’s best to keep them unscented so as not to compete with the delicious aromas of the food! No one wants to inhale notes of vanilla or jasmine while they're enjoying their frittata."
If you don't want to go overboard with an elaborate centerpiece, Styles recommends using greenery or flowering branches: "One of the things I love most about spring is the flowering branches that suddenly arrive at the flower market. I gather a big bunch and group them in oversize vases for a dramatic—yet incredibly easy—centerpiece." For larger parties, Chang recommends a garland to spread the greenery across the table without having to use multiple arrangements.
Chang also warns against overloading your table with too many elements—from greenery to serveware. "Keep it fresh and clean. Like Coco Chanel said, always look in the mirror and take one thing off before you leave the house." The same goes for your Easter brunch table.
Finally, as long as your guests are well fed and their glasses never run empty, you can relax and know they're having a great time. Styles's signature drink is as simple as her tabletop tips: "Champagne and fresh-squeezed juices for the perfect mimosa."
Next up: nine delicious allergy-free Easter recipes the whole family can actually eat.