When you're entertaining a crowd, a sideboard can be the simplest way to serve food. A sideboard saves yourself the hassle of plating meals for every guest. Plus, it allows your guests to fill their plates with the food and portions they desire. Your sideboard table needs to be functional, ensuring guests can move through it efficiently while having access to all foods. Your sideboard can also serve as a decorative element in your home, adding colour, charm and elegance to your event. Set up your sideboard table thoughtfully and decorate it with your theme in mind with these tips.
Establish Your Table Layout
Assess the functionality of your sideboard table as you begin your setup. First, consider where you want to set up your table. You want adequate open floor space around the table so that guests can maneuver easily around it. Depending on your room layout, you might choose to float the sideboard table in the middle of the floor, which will allow guests to move through the sideboard on both sides. On the other hand, a sideboard table set against a wall takes up less floor space, opening up your room. Another key factor to consider when choosing a layout is envisioning where the sideboard line will weave. Make sure your guests can create a line without bumping into furniture, cabinets or walls.
Once you've identified where to place your sideboard table, it's time to lay it out. Keep your menu in mind when setting up the sideboard table. Place foods in a logical order. For example, if you're hosting a make-your-own taco bar, taco shells and tortillas should be placed first, followed by meat and toppings. Sketch out your layout on a sheet of paper to note where each food item should be placed so that you're ready for the next step of setup.
Design Your Table
The design step just might be the most fun part of creating a festive sideboard table. This step allows you to get creative and add your personality to the table. Use linens as the base of your sideboard table. A classic white tablecloth lends a touch of elegance to your sideboard table and works well for more formal gatherings. Don't shy away from colour when creating your sideboard table. You can add colour with the linens themselves or with your serveware, flowers or candles. If you're unsure of how to decorate your sideboard table, let your occasion serve as your inspiration. For example, a bridal shower sideboard table might feature photos of the happy couple, candles for soft lighting or vases filled with the bride-to-be's favourite flowers.
Once your linens are in place, it's time to refer to your notes and lay out your serveware. Follow the guide you created that indicates which foods go where. Then, select serveware that's built to accommodate each food. Make smart choices by keeping foods with sauces or liquids in bowls or casserole dishes to avoid spilling food on your linens. When selecting serveware, incorporate different elements for a unique style. You don't have to have a matching set for your party. Opt for varied heights, which add intrigue to the sideboard table and make food more accessible. For example, display desserts on a multi-tiered tray for added visual intrigue.
Complete Your Sideboard Table
Now that the basic elements of your sideboard table are in place, it's time to add those finishing touches that are both practical and personalised. Make navigating the sideboard easier for your guests by including dish name cards that let guests know what every food is. Small chalkboard easels or folded pieces of cardstock work well and fit nicely next to serveware. Place your dish name cards directly next to the dish for easy navigation.
Another must is proper serving utensils, which can make your sideboard run more efficiently. Make sure you have the right utensils in place for different foods and consider adding more than one utensil for each dish. This second utensil is especially important if guests will be navigating the sideboard table from two sides.
Hosting a sideboard at your next event can be a cinch with smart planning. By creating a table that's as functional as it is aesthetically pleasing, you ensure that guests can fill their plate with delicious food with ease.