Manhattan, NY

Oh-so-chic table setting ideas on a budget

Happily Ever Style

I'm not a master when it comes to table-setting, but I do enjoy every little opportunity I can get to dress up the table, even if it's just for a Friday dinner for two at home with my husband. When it comes to the holidays, celebrations, or special occasions, however, I make sure I level up my table-setting game — but without breaking the bank, of course!

Read on to find out how you can do it, too.

Opt for paper plates that can be recycled

If you can’t always buy fancy dinnerware, give paper plates a try! A lot of brands now offer beautifully designs matching sets that are perfect for any occasion. Harlow and Grey, for instance, is one of my favorite brands that offer a collection of high quality, stunning options.

If you’re concerned about creating too much waste, there are also a lot of more eco-friendly choices, like these compostable bamboo plates or these squared palm leaf plates.

(Photo by Ashley Gallerani Photography; as seen on @happilyeverstyle)

Dried flowers are your best friend

I love buying dried flowers because not only are they long-lasting, can be reused repeatedly, and beautiful to look at, but they are also multi-functional!

You can repurpose ribbons you get from packages or gifts that you receive and make smaller bouquets to place on your plates. They are the simplest way to elevate any dinner table. Alternatively, you can use the dried flowers as a centerpiece if your table is big enough, too — ours is very petite at the moment because it needs to fit in a Manhattan studio!

Some of my favorite places to shop for dried flowers include local farmers’ markets and on Etsy! And if you live in New York, you should definitely check out Oat Cinnamon, a Brooklyn-based florist founded by content creator Ryan Norville.

Candles are your second best friend

You don’t necessarily need to light them, but a collection of elegant candles are a great way to accessorize le table. If you have a small budget, you can opt for flameless LED candles because, for obvious reasons, they will last way longer than real candles. My husband actually prefers them when we host family and friends, especially when his niece comes around because they are a lot safer.

However, having said that, I personally still like “real” candles because nothing beats their warmth and beautiful scents. Once the candles finish burning, I would turn them into little vases for the dried flowers — which then become fabulous centerpieces!

Don’t skip the placemats

Placemats may sometimes seem unnecessary, but they really are wonderful in many ways. One, they protect your table from heat, spills, scratches, etc. And two, they can upgrade the overall presentation!

My advice is to find a design that works as an everyday placemat because you can easily dress it up for dinner parties with your dried flowers and candles, so you don’t need to buy fancy ones just for special occasions. If you really like to change things up, go for reversible placemats!

Use colorful fruits as part of your décor

In case you really don’t want to spend any more than what you’ve already gotten from the grocery store, my go-to is to using actual food as part of the presentation. Pick out fruits with beautiful colors — strawberries, apples, kiwis, oranges, etc — or pretty crackers and biscuits that are easy to serve and aesthetically pleasing at the same time.

(Photo by Kylee Yee Photography; as seen on @happilyeverstyle)

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Happily Ever Style is a space where Tricia writes about beauty and local travel experiences, and aims to inspire you with various creative content.

New York City, NY

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