How to Decorate a Buffet Table for a Casual Fall Party

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Buffets can be one of the best ways to host a casual party.  Buffet tables can be fun to style. Let me show you how to decorate a buffet table for a casual fall party.

Do you like a buffet party? When you want to have a casual, easy party, a buffet is the best way to go. You want your buffet table to be attractive and inviting. I have some tips to show you how to decorate a buffet table.

We don’t always have our guests sit around a table for a sit~down meal. Sometimes, a buffet~style party is more appropriate for the occasion. Maybe the party is for a large number of people or you really want people to mingle.

Your choice of a menu may be causal and doesn’t require utensils. Whatever the reason, you still want your buffet table to be pretty and efficient for serving.

Keeping that in mind, I have some great ideas how to decorate a buffet table for a casual fall party that you will be proud to show off and your guests will love.

How to Decorate a Buffet Table for a Casual Fall Party

You know that I love setting tables for parties and certain tablescapes hold fond memories for me. This fall party tablescape has been one of my favorites and knowing how to decorate a buffet table for a casual fall party will be helpful to you because these tips never go out of use.

Don’t let a lack of resources, ideas or time stop you from hosting a party. Since I’m showing you how to decorate a buffet table for a casual fall party, half the work is done. If you don’t want to prepare the food, order out or make it a potluck. It’s all about gathering friends.

This little get~together was very casual, starting at 5:30 in the afternoon so I used our breakfast room table as a buffet, pushing it up against one of our breakfast room windows that overlook the back garden.

At the time of this party, we were still using our pub table in the breakfast room (Now we have a round table.). It is normally a square but has 2 leaves that make it a rectangle which is what I did.

For my tablecloth, I used one of my pieces of remnant fabric that I keep on hand. I thought this soft blue and cream pattern would provide the perfect backdrop.

TIP: I think the tablecloth should be a subtle foundation for your serving dishes and food. It shouldn’t overwhelm the table.

TIP:  Using large pieces of fabric as tablecloths give you more options as far as pattern and texture and can cost less than a tablecloth. I buy at least 2 yards, but if the price is good, 2 1/2 yards will definitely give you plenty of fabric to work with on just about any table.

TIP: If the fabric has wrinkles, be sure to iron it first.

How to Decorate a Buffet Table

Before spreading out the tablecloth, I set some boxes and a cake stand on the table to add height and interest. As long as they are sturdy, any box or container will work. I’ve used shoeboxes, packing boxes, and upside~down bowls. Move and adjust until you get the look you like.

TIP: Platters, plates, and decorative items should not all be at the same height. It’s much more interesting to vary heights.

How to Decorate a Buffet Table

Place your tablecloth over the boxes, tucking in the edges to hide any raw edges and giving some slack between boxes. For safety, I prefer not to let the cloth drape over the table. I also like a bit of my table to show.

TIP: If you need to cover the entire table, use a flat sheet or another tablecloth first, laying it flat on the table and then proceeding with your boxes and overlay fabric or tablecloth.

This is also a good time to bring out the serving platters that you will use.

Since this was a casual event, I used one of my medium~sized cutting boards as an organic base to serve the charcuterie. The gold platter will serve as my fruit tray. I also added the Remington Sure Shot box that I bought at an estate sale. It will hold my flowers.

How to Decorate a Buffet Table

TIP: Try to vary the color and texture of your serving dishes, but remember that solid is always best for serving food. Light is better than dark. Think about the color and texture of the food you will be serving.

White hydrangeas were still available at the grocery store and I couldn’t resist. I filled in with a little baby’s breath.

How to Decorate a Buffet Table

I moved things around and added three layers of cake stands for my cupcakes. As you can see, I also started adding some white pumpkins “randomly” on the table. I love the white pumpkins against the cream of the fabric.

How to Decorate a Buffet Table

After all your serving dishes are in place, now you can add your plates and napkins. Since this fall party was very casual, I wanted food that didn’t require any silverware.

TIP: Always place plates at the beginning of the table and the napkins and silverware at the end of the table. It’s very awkward for guests to hold a plate, napkin and silverware while they are serving themselves from a buffet.

How to Decorate a Buffet Table

I added this small lantern with an orange candle for ambiance and a little pop of fall color.

How to Decorate a Buffet Table

I couldn’t resist using this little chalkboard with a fall message.

TIP: Don’t hesitate to use decorative items to the table that add to the theme of your event.

How to Decorate a Buffet Table

The table was set and ready to go the day before the party.

TIP: I find that setting the table as early as possible helps you “see” the finished table. Now you can concentrate on the food preparation and other details.

PREPARING THE FOOD

Early in the day, I made the cupcakes, diced and sliced the fruit and cheese, and prepared the charcuterie platter. Everything (except the cupcakes) went into the refrigerator. Since everything could be served at room temperature, about 30 minutes before the party started, I started setting out the food.

TIP: Stop whatever you are doing at least 1 1/2 hours before the party and get yourself ready. That way even if everything isn’t 100% ready for your guests, you are. You can ask the first guests to help with any last minute ~ here in Texas, as guests always offer and we accept!

PLATTER 1 ~ CHEESE AND FRUIT PLATTER

Fruit and Cheese is always a welcome addition to any buffet ~ red seedless grapes, sliced figs, sliced apples (This is a variety called Sweet Tango and they are absolutely the sweetest apples you’ve ever had.) served with slices of smoked Gouda ~ one of my favorites.

How to Decorate a Buffet Table

PLATTER 2 ~ CHARCUTERIE PLATTER

I love charcuterie. Combinations of meats and cheeses not only are delicious but also add a variety of color, shape, and texture to your table.

I love to use a large Boos cutting board for my offerings:

  • thinly sliced Genoa salami
  • cubed sharp cheddar,
  • thinly sliced Havarti cheese
  • rolled and stacked prosciutto
  • a wedge of Brie
  • a small bowl of fig preserves.

(You can see that I added a few striped pumpkins to the table ~ that was Sweet Shark’s idea.)

TIP: Vary how you serve cheeses: slices, cubes, a wedge. Cheese should be served at room temperature to bring out the flavors. I love stacking the rolls of prosciutto: again, more interest to contrast with the slices of salami.

How to Decorate a Buffet Table

PLATTER 2 ~ PUMPKIN RISOTTO BALLS

In the fall, this little bite of goodness has been one of my go~to appetizers for years. This was the only food item that actually required preparation and cooking. But the best thing? You can make them ahead!

They can be made ahead, frozen, and then pan~fried a few hours before serving since they can be served at room temperature. I can always count on them to wow guests.

How to Decorate a Buffet Table

PLATTER 4 ~ CHOCOLATE PUMPKIN CUPCAKES WITH NUTELLA BUTTERCREAM FROSTING

I found this cupcake recipe at Lolly Jane when she shared it at a link party. I was dying to try them. They were easy to make (The base is a boxed Devil’s Food Cake.), delicious, and very pretty. You can get the recipe when I made them and decorated them with cupcake toppers.

So now my fall buffet table was set and ready to go. Thanks to my friend Claudia Coker who took the photography for this party. She took this final shot of the table right before our guests arrived.

How to Decorate a Buffet Table

Well, that was how the table looked for our party. The food may be long gone now, but the buffet table for the casual fall party decorations stayed for a while. I hope that showing you how to decorate a buffet table for a casual fall party will encourage you to have more parties!

How to Decorate a Buffet Table

Here are some more fall tablescape ideas:

Casual Navy and Copper Fall Tablescape

How to Style a Fall Patio Tablescape

Autumn Tablescape for a Dinner Party

New Fall Tablescape with Color and Texture

How to Decorate a Buffet Table
How to Decorate a Buffet Table
How to Decorate a Buffet Table

 

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62 Comments

  1. Carol, I know you are one heck of a party thrower and the food has to be great! Everything looks so pretty. The idea of varying the heights at the table is a great one. That makes everything more accessible and prettier. Sharing on Facebook today.

    Looking forward to the next cooking class. 😉

  2. Such a beautiful buffet. The setting is gorgeous and the food looks fantastic. Your mantel is so festive. Great ideas here. Happy Fall!

  3. Thanks for the tip about using boxes on a table to stagger heights. I will put this to use. As always Carol, your food looks scrumptious and your home is lovely. Your mantel is a knock out!

    Big Texas Hugs,
    Susan and Bentley

  4. Carol, I love how you styled your table. And thank you for the tips! They will come in handy for my Halloween party! The food looks amazing and I can’t wait to try out the recipes…I’ll be watching for them! Your home looks very inviting! Yay for cooler temperatures too!

  5. Eilis,
    I was thrilled to feature you! Whenever I can work in recipe bloggers to my predominately home decor and styling blog, I’m excited! I can’t wait to try that soup of yours. I happen to like cumin spice and use it in a lot of dishes.

    Have a wonderful week!
    Olivia

    1. Lisa, I learned that trick when I worked with a catering company many years ago. It really does make a difference in how your table looks. Thanks for visiting Bluesky Kitchen.

  6. Carol,
    Everything looks delicious, and I’m looking forward to seeing your chocolate cupcake with Nutella icing recipe. Your tips for setting up the buffet are excellent. I’ve never place boxes and cake plates UNDER a tablecloth, but I’ve seen this look at hotels for years and now seeing yours will remember this to try at my house.

    Judith

    1. Judith, I’ll be sharing the cupcakes on my weekly newsletter this Friday only for my subscribers. Hope to see you there.

  7. Carol, The food on your table looks as great as your presentation. Can’t wait to get some of your recipes. I love your fall mantel, especially those candlesticks and the three galvanized buckets. You’ll have to tell me where they came from!

  8. Carol- you are a kitchen and entertaining master and I love seeing your suggestions. This should be in a magazine!

  9. Thank you for hopping and sharing your beautiful Fall ideas. Lovely table and delicious foods displayed so well. Falling into Autumn Bliss…

  10. Wow, loving your fall mantle! Those candlesticks are just beautiful. So glad you joined us at the DI & DI Link Party also, hope you found some new friends and had fun.

  11. Thank you for sharing all your tips on creating a buffet table, Carol. It was such fun to take a peek at all your pretty decor around your lovely home, decorated in Fall splendor!

  12. Carole, I love your Fall decor! But, I kinda love the food more! LOL! It all looks soooo good! Thank you for sharing your talent with us! Happy Fall Day to you! Toodles, Kathryn @TheDedicatedHouse

  13. Carol, I’ve been out of town so I missed the party but reading your post today. Thanks for sharing your party food and tips to do the table. I like your menu and look forward to your recipes.
    Love all your fall decorations. It was nice to come home to cooler weather that felt like fall.

  14. Carol, it would be lovely to attend one of your parties! This buffet is set so beautifully with all the dishes and sparkle. I love using cake plates to display cupcakes… Reminds me of one of my daughter’s last birthday parties at home! We used a bunch of cake plates to display the cupcakes she decorated for her friends. <3 Happily pinning!

    Thanks for the lovely tips,
    Barb 🙂

  15. Such a beautiful table and great food ideas. I like the idea of a relaxed “stand-up” party where food is not necessarily the main feature but is complimentary to the people assembled. I will keep this post for future reference for sure. Thank you.

  16. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing at the To Grandma’s House We Go DIY, Crafts, Recipes and More link party. I pinned this. Hope to see you again next week.

  17. Carol, do you have a recipe for a brunch casserole that is easy to put together the night before and baked off in the am before the brunch? Loved the table setting and food arrangement.

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