The idea of tablescaping is something I will forever associate with the pandemic. As I got closer and closer to getting the vaccine, I became more and more obsessed with the idea of entertaining again. I desperately wanted to entertain friends again.

In my decorating research, I’d run across the story of one decorator with a tropical getaway. She proudly stated that a guest could come and stay for a week, eat three meals a day with them, and never see the same set of dishes twice. Twenty-one sets of dishes! I was instantly jealous.

But then, I thought, There’s nothing clever about being rich. (Nor for that matter being a famous designer and having companies send you dishes for free.) That made me wonder, how do you have tons of variety (and fun) tablescaping without spending a lot of money?

Tablescape for my first post-vaccine dinner party.

While I do have a nice set of Mikasa in the Windsor pattern, I’d put that into storage and was using dollar store plates. I decided to get rid of those and start to acquire, what I thought at the time was simply another set (or two) of dishes.

Several years ago I picked up four small square bowls at TJ Maxx in the Adelaide (yellow) pattern by 222 Fifth. I’d always really liked them, so I shopped around the Internet and was able to get the same pattern in black and white serving of four for about $120. I then found a set of gray dishes, serving of four, at TJ Maxx for $25. The gray dishes mixed and matched with the black and white–and also the Mikasa. I could easily have stopped there. I did not.

One day I went into the Women’s Resource Center Thrift Shop and found four tiny dishes in the Kashmir pattern by 222 Fifth. They cost .25 cents each. I snagged them. Then, I saw a lot of dishes on Facebook 6 salad, 6 bowls, and 2 cups in the Lyria (saffron) pattern for 42$ I bought them in a parking lot outside a shoe store. I found more dishes in the Lyria pattern at an even better price–8 dinner plates, 8 salad plates for $20. I picked up 6 pieces of Adelaide (green) at an RV dealership two hours away also for $20. And then…

Setting for my second post-vaccination dinner party.

It was right after Easter, the Women’s Resource Center Thrift Shop had just taken down their display and put out a bunch of dishes they had hanging around. I bought about forty dishes that day… more 222 Fifth, some Martha Stewart Wedgwood, even a piece of Bordallo Pinheiro. All for around a dollar a piece. I have settings I haven’t even tried yet!

Categories: Decorating the house, Tablescaping

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