Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Totally outfitted placesetting: china to flatware to stemware to individual salt and pepper shakers, under $4.75

This post originally ran in November of 2009.

Just over a week before Thanksgiving, we thought it wise to remind Americans there are alternatives to outfitting a table worthy of a spread in a magazine. Only in this case, the full, complete table setting will cost less than a new dessert plate purchased at a conventional retailer. Quality will not be sacrificed by shopping thrift.

When most Americans think of entertaining, they think of racking up purchases at department stores or discount retailers. To put on a full spread for twelve guests for one swank occasion could cost over $500 on the china alone!

But there is an alternative that few consider. The thrift store is the smart entertainer’s choice. Thrift stores routinely have all the accoutrements: punch bowls, domes and pedestals, linens. The host can save hundreds of dollars buying these items thrift.

The above photo features one of my treasured finds, an L. Bernardaud $ Co. Limoges
antique covered dish bought at Goodwill for $5.
My favorite spot to save big is the $0.49 per item shelves a la Goodwill stacked with plates, bowls and glasses; both tumblers and stemware. That’s right $0.49 per item. Sure some of its Corelle, but some of it can be Alfred Meakin Tea Leaf Ironstone, or crystal.

This complete place setting cost less than a venti mochaccino.
Once you're done with it, you get wash it and enjoy it again

The above photo serves testimony. Not certain if it’s apparent in the photo but the water goblets are new, with sticker still affixed. They were $0.49 apiece, the heavy crystal tumblers $0.49 per item too. When buying china from the $0.49 shelves, stick with a simple dinner plate for the foundation of the pacesetting. These $.0.49 apiece plates have a simple gold rim and fit well with most china patterns. Now, I confess my grandmother pulled the green glass salad plates and gold bread plates (I think) out of her giant grandmother’s purse that also serves as a weapon in a pinch. But similar items can easily be found on Goodwill’s $0.49 shelves. Okay, my grandmother found them at estate sales and they didn’t put a dent into her checking account. But they could fit in that purse.

Silver plate flatware shows up in thrift stores for $0.10 apiece.

Wait. It gets even better. The flatware in this setting is a mix of estate sale and thrift. We use it daily. Sure, it’s not sterling but I prefer the vintage patina that silver-plate earns. Sterling can be 100 years old and polish up looking new. There are advantages to that, but I don’t want to pay the price for a set of sterling flatware.

Adding this up per place setting we have:
three plates $1.50,
two glasses $1.00,
seven pieces of silver-plate flatware $0.70,
individual salt and pepper shakers $0.41,
tea cup and saucer (not in photo) $1.
The entire placesetting totals $4.61.

 Punch bowls sets easy finds at thrift stores  usually be purchased  for about $7.
Always wise to buy two, one for virgin and one for alcohol.

 All candles and candle holders came from Goodwill for pennies on the dollar. 

Glass pedestals and domes are musts for entertaining and are easy finds that run from $7 to $12.
We don’t need bother to compare these prices to conventional retail the difference is laughable.

There are so many more possibilities to entertaining an addendum was written to this original post.


Marigene said...

Great post!
If anyone has followed my blog, they will know what can be found at thrift stores for pennies on the dollar, when it comes to tablescapes. 99% of all the plates/crystal/flatware/linens/candles came from the thrift stores.

Jeanne said...

I've been thrifty over the years by setting my Thanksgiving table with old favorite decorations that we love and save, my wedding china and found nature items from my own yard only. It's a joy to update from the thrift store rather than the department store to add my few "new" pieces each year when I retire chipped or broken pieces. I really enjoyed the post.

Nascara said...

Your table is lovely. The best thing about using thrifted kitchenware and plates is no freakout if something is chipped.

Anonymous said...

Your table is beautiful. I kind of wish I were young and just starting out so I could forage for goodies at the thrift stores. Goodwill is the place to go for wine glasses. I'm always breaking them and the choices at Goodwill are great. I just wish I could find some nice enamelware there.

kirstenhopper said...

The Chinese utensils are becoming more and more popular as a regular utensils for our daily needs. These are looking good and comfortable for kitchens and dinings.
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