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Volume II
March 9, 2007

Decorating Tips for Hors D'ouvre Table?

A couple of times a year, I need to set up a large hors d'ouvre table with many different items on it. I have never been satisfied with my presentation. Can you give me some tips--maybe even a diagram or two--for a nice presentation? I would be most appreciative.

Thank you

E. McNulty

Hi Elizabeth,

I think you'll find the article below helpful.

Find more articles by typing in "buffet design" into your favorite search engine (like

Hope this helps,

Desi @ DVO

Effective Buffet Design

Author: Janice Benoit
Published: June 25, 2006

Set up your buffet design in an effective, creative & functional manner to incorporate your decorating theme into the party. These tips add punch to your buffet design.

One of the most overlooked parts of any party is the buffet set-up. By paying a little attention to the buffet design, any host can maximize his or her decorating impact, while also creating an efficient and attractive layout for the party's highlight --- the food.

Once you set your menu, you can plan your buffet layout.

If you plan to have a large number of guests, and your room can support the traffic flow, design a double-sided buffet. Otherwise, create a single-sided buffet on your table or island. Use stacks of books or inverted pots to create varying levels for the dishes. On a double-sided buffet, the highest levels should run down the midline of the buffet. For a single-sided buffet, the highest levels will run along the side that is furthest from the guests.

Vary the levels, making your food presentation interesting and efficient.

Don't worry about what is used for your levels -- the actual items will be covered by the fabric that you'll use to give your buffet a theme (see below). Lay out the food and service pieces in an organized manner. The plates should be at the beginning of the buffet, followed by the salads, cold side dishes, hot entrees, bread and hot side dishes. Place appropriate serving spoons/forks adjacent to each type of food.

Incorporate your theme into your buffet design.

If you're planning a Mexican Fiesta, drape fabric in spicy, salsa colors throughout the buffet. Tuck a couple of thematic knick-knacks (terra cotta pots, enamel tiles, pesos, chili peppers) into the crevices created by the fabric.

For an Autumn Harvest theme, use fabric in fall colors (burnt orange, brown, gold) and natural knick-knacks (mini-pumpkins, gourds, fall leaves).

For a Fourth of July celebration, use fabric or bunting in red, white and blue and knick-knacks with a patriotic theme (stars, stripes, Uncle Sam, paper firecrackers made from toilet paper tubes covered in red paper and stuffed with white tissue paper and silver sparkler sprays).

Follow these basic guidelines to get your buffet started. In future articles, I will cover buffet design for specific themes, including menus, layout and decorations. If you would like to get ideas for your special theme, let me know by starting a discussion below, and I will respond!

Email your thoughts to us. Tell us about you and your family, and send us a picture. We'd love to hear from you...and who knows...perhaps you will be the star of the next newsletter!

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