Store. Bought. Is. Fine. Who knows if Ina Garten really means it when those words slide almost passive aggressively off of her tongue every episode of her beloved Food Network show. Clearly, The Barefoot Contessa would never be caught dead with pre-made pie dough or truffle oil, but for those of us who don’t have time to personally raise and slay a young calf for our burgers this Fourth of July, we can at least fake it with the decor. Elegant simplicity is Ina’s calling card and we’ve got tablescape and hosting hacks to make your guests question if Jeffrey might be lurking around the corner this Independence Day.
Exclusively Use Fresh Seasonal Flowers
Luscious, fresh buds are the easiest, most impactful piece for any event. There’s a reason brides spend thousands on their flowers! Known for her impeccable garden, an Ina tablescape would feel out of place without at least three vases full, but note that the Contessa usually sticks to a monochromatic color palette for her buds. Scatter large glass vases overflowing with blue hydrangeas or white hyacinth for an elegant look. Store bought is fine. Wink.
The Duchess Bouquet, $80 at Urban Stems
Rustic yet refined.
Bosphorous Clear Glass Bowls, $39 at Pottery Barn
Clearly perfect for showing off your blooms.
Potted Blue Hydrangeas, $39.99 at ProFlowers
For true blue garden party vibes.
Invest in Simple Table Linens
If you really want to step up your hosting like an East Hamptons goddess, your paper napkins have gotta go. Not only is using real linen better for the environment, it elevates the feel of any table and adds a more restaurant-like vibe to any homemade table setting. Even a wooden picnic table looks fancy with cloth napkins! Try a large, overstated, but simplistic pattern like navy blue gingham or even chambray to add a touch of festive color. Your table should have nods to the holiday, but anything you’d find in the aisles of a Party City should be left alone.
Center Stripe Woven Napkin Set in Blue, $14.99 at West Elm
Give a nod to Ina's chambray shirts with a little colorblocking.
Glamberg Diamond Weave Table Runner, $29.99 on Amazon
Neutral enough to work for any occasion.
Fireworks and sparklers don’t have to be the only fire you utilize to celebrate Uncle Sam. Unlit candles lining a table and outdoor area during the daytime imply you’re prepared to transition to nighttime. If your goal is to be Garten’s next protege, plain white candles are the only way to go. We’ll get into how to add some pops of color in a bit, but when it comes to candles, keep them white or off-white and unscented. You want to set the mood, not overwhelm the senses so your meal tastes funny to guests.
6 by 6 Inch White Pillar Candle, $24.95 at Crate & Barrel
Sometimes basic is best.
3 by 4 Inch White Candles, 3 for $16.90 on Amazon
Mix in different size candles in the same color family.
Mid Century Lantern Candle Holders, $21-$96 at West Elm
These sleek lanterns make nice accent pieces.
Related Reading: How to Keep Bugs Away from Your Garden Party
Make Ina’s Flag Cake
One of Ina Garten’s most famous creations is her American flag cake. Make like Betsy Ross, if Betsy Ross were a pastry chef, and proudly align those raspberry stripes and blueberry stars onto a creamy frosting that melts in your mouth, but not in the sun. This classic cake is the perfect and some may argue, only centerpiece for a proper celebration of the US of A. Much like everything Ina does, this cake is always impressive, but not trying too hard.
Nordic Ware 9 by 13 Inch Cake Pan, $14.42 on Amazon
The perfect sheet cake pan.
Brasserie Blue-Banded Porcelain Rectangular Platter, $159.95 at Williams Sonoma
A simple serving platter keeps the focus on the cake.
Williams Sonoma Ultimate Decorating Tool, $34.95 at Williams Sonoma
Pipe precise stripes.
Make Colors Pop with Fresh Summer Produce
Although a sophisticated table setting is generally fairly muted when it comes to color, the menu should not be. A watermelon and feta salad adds the red to your Red, White, and Blue, while a platter of elote gives a splash of nature’s yellow and reminds us we’re really in the thick of summer. Despite the country’s current political divide, one thing we can all celebrate is our great melting pot full of so many cultures and celebrated local farmers.
Georgia Peaches from Pearson Farm, $59.99 at Goldbelly
Set out these blushing beauties in wooden bowls.
20-Pound Boiled Cajun Crawfish Pack from Louisiana Crawfish Company, $159 at Goldbelly
Perfect summer eating that brings bright red to your table too.
Related Reading: 7 Seafood Feasts You Can Have Delivered
Visit our 4th of July Headquarters for more tips, tricks, and recipes.
Header image courtesy of UrbanStems