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Ina Garten shows Savannah and Hoda how to set a table for an elegant and easy dinner party

The entertaining expert shocked the co-hosts by showing them how easy it can be to organize a dinner party.

Ina Garten knows a thing or two about throwing a dinner party, and she just spilled some of her top tips for making a big impact without spending all afternoon setting things up.

The Barefoot Contessa stopped by TODAY on Thursday to teach Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb how to set a table for an elegant and easy dinner party, and the co-hosts were surprised to see how simple it really is.

The celebrity chef started by explaining that you don't need a massive guest list to call your get together a "dinner party."

“The first thing about a dinner party, is it can be four people. It doesn’t have to be 12; it's overwhelming, even for me."

As it turns out, she also thinks that less is more when it comes to décor. Here are her top tips!

Start with a simple tablecloth

Garten started with a round table with a basic white tablecloth, then reached for some blue fabric to add a pop of color.

"Is this a runner" Savannah asked.

"No, it's just a square of fabric, actually," Garten replied.

"Oh, that's it?" Hoda said, pleasantly surprised.

Tackle the table settings first

As she taught the co-hosts how to set a table for four, the celebrity chef explained that she likes to start with plates.

“Can you use your everyday old plates?” Savannah asked. “Let’s say you’re like, ‘I have white plates. How can I jazz it up?’”

“I mix them up," Ina replied.

Up next, she instructed Hoda and Savannah on where the napkin should go — on the left side, with the fold facing in towards the plate — and taught them how to arrange the cutlery. For starters, the knife goes on the right, then the spoon. The forks can get a little tricky, but Garten offered some helpful tips.

“Everybody wonders about the forks. You do the first fork that you’re going to use — the salad fork — first and the dinner fork second (so the salad fork is on the outside)."

Savannah noticed that Garten doesn't put her cutlery on the napkin and she explained why. "I like (it) so you can pick up the napkin without moving the silverware," she said.

White wine glasses came next, and were placed in front of the plates.

Keep the centerpiece simple

You don't have to go above and beyond to create a bit of detail in the center of your dinner table, and Garten offered two easy ideas that take no time at all to create.

“For the centerpiece, you can do something as simple as — a bowl of lemons. Get it at the grocery store," she advised.

Or, flowers are another great option. But don't worry about creating something too fancy.

“It’s not so easy to do a flower arrangement, but if you do lots of bud vases you can move them around until they’re perfect,” she said.

"Ooh, that’s beautiful," Hoda remarked.

“I do not know how to do a flower arrangement but this is cute,” Savannah chimed in.

“You know what? They’re hard; I don’t either,” Garten said.

Set the mood with the right tunes

Music always sets the tone for a fun night, and Garten said she always has some tunes playing as her guests are about to walk in.

“I like when people arrive that there's music playing because it's not that moment when you arrive and it's quiet and you think, 'Did I arrive on the wrong day?'”

It doesn't have to be loud music; in fact, the chef prefers background music that's "kind of bouncy."

Master the seating arrangements

When asked if she likes to seat couples together or split them up, the Barefoot Contessa said she tends to keep them near each other.

"I like boy, boy, girl, girl, so everybody sitting next to a boy and a girl," she remarked.

Nail the (super-easy) menu

Garten, whose desserts are available for online delivery, likes to keep things simple when it comes to the menu, too. And she came back later in the 4th hour to chat with Hoda and Jenna Bush Hager about her favorite dinner party cooking hack.

“You order out a lasagna, but you put it in your own dish so you’re not serving it in some cardboard (container)," she said.

Jenna was thrilled with this little piece of advice and said she's done that herself before.

“When I first cooked for my mother-in-law, the whole dinner was from (a) restaurant," she admitted.

But Hoda was curious to know if you have to let your guests know that you didn't actually make the food.

"Do you have to confess, Ina, when they ask you? When they say, 'How did you make that?'" she asked.

And the chef recommended the perfect response.

"(You say) 'I’m so glad you like it,'" she said.

The entertaining expert also offered tips for making the perfect Caesar salad dressing and showed the co-hosts how to assemble a beautiful and delicious limoncello and ice cream dessert with biscotti.