Budget Dinnerware Doesn’t Have to Look Cheap—And We Have Proof
Fourteen affordable finds for your table.
Updated Sep 29, 2021 6:05 AM
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Plates, flatware, glasses—we all need them, but we rarely give them much thought. Perhaps you inherited yours from your parents when you moved out or bought a starter set from a big-box store when you signed your first lease. If you’ve invested in dinnerware, maybe you picked a style that no longer suits your taste (ahem—square plates). The thing is: You don’t need to wait to fill a wedding registry to invest in luxe-looking dinnerware.
Fancy dinnerware has come a long way from fine china or overly gilded and ornate pieces. The elegant tables of today are less opulent. Instead they’re filled with beautiful hand-thrown ceramics, stonewashed linens, and elegant bud vases. And while some ceramists might be a little out of our budget (especially when shopping for large sets), there are surprisingly affordable alternatives out there.
Get ready to set your table under a whole new light—all without having to eat instant ramen for a month to pay for your newfound dinnerware.
The base of any good table starts with a simple tablecloth—that is unless you have a beautiful table to showcase, in which case a table runner is a great alternative. This simple washed linen tablecloth serves as a neutral backdrop and will work with any table setting.
At under $100, this 12-piece dinnerware set will give your table an understated flair. The plates will be nice enough for a formal dinner but casual enough for any regular weeknight.
No need to spend a ton to set the right ambience for your dinner. These under-$15 matte brass candleholders will ensure that every night feels extra-special.
Forget the paper towels and set the table with these linen napkins instead. They’re neutral enough to fit any tablescape, but will elevate even a plain white plate.
Fluted glass is all you need to give your table a sophisticated edge. And at this price, you can practically set the entire table for less than $15.
This ultrathin stainless steel flatware is classic enough that you won’t get sick of it in a few years, but visually interesting enough to add an elegant layer to your dinner table.
Don’t put a plastic water bottle on the table. A sophisticated recycled-glass carafe will keep your guests hydrated in style.
When choosing the right wineglasses, look for a classic shape with a slender and tall stem to add instant elegance to your table. These CB2 glasses fit the bill perfectly.
No need for an elaborate centerpiece for your dining table. A simple bud vase (or a small set of them) requires fewer flowers and will still make your table feel layered and elevated.
If a bottle of champagne is on the menu, skip the traditional flutes in favor of modern coupes. They make sipping bubbly more fun, if that’s possible.
If you own a beautiful Staub, Great Jones, or Le Creuset Dutch oven, bring it straight to the table, but set in on a beautiful terracotta trivet like this one.
The Dip Dishes
Forgo the salt and pepper shakers in favor of these beautiful sample dishes that can hold your table essentials and any other spices you want people to try with their meal.
The Serving Platter
Put your hard work (aka dinner) on display with a platter that everyone will want to get their hands on, and not just for the food.
A few simple serving utensils will always make your table feel perfectly put-together; they’ll also make plating easier for both you and your guests.
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