Living like a king? That's when you not only own but actually use the fancy $100-per-place-setting china you got from grandmother or were gifted at your wedding. For the rest of us, the ones who are settling into their first place or stocking up on plates over the years to entertain a crowd someday, these ten stores and their super affordable basic dishes and glassware are way to go
Crate & Barrel's younger, hipper sister store has some impressively affordable basics. Platters plates and unique serveware are open stock, or buy a "starter kit" with everything you need.
Favorite pick: Party Pack, glasses, plates and napkins to serve apps and drinks for eight for under $50.
There are definitely some bargains to be had at Crate & Barrel, and even the basics are full of style. Word has it that if you open a registry for a wedding, birthday or housewarming, they'll send you a hard-to-come-by C&B coupon once the party has passed.
Favorite pick: Set of 12 Boxed Appetizer Plates ($19.96), any of the boxed sets (there's also salad and dinner plates) are great to stash away for a dinner party.
World Market has tons of beautiful ceramics and dinnerware, but the real bargain is stocking up on the Entertaining Essentials. Get glasses or plates in bulk to fill out your party or everyday pantry.
Favorite pick: Porcelain Plates with Space-Saving Racks, get 12 8" plates for $20.
This Manhattan dining store sells vintage-style dishes and glassware online, too. Splurge on one or two showstopper patterned pieces, then fill in the gaps with affordable classics.
Favorite pick: Diner-style Arena Juice and Rocks Glasses for $2-$3 each.
It's no secret Target has stepped up their game when it comes to housewares. The dishes, glassware and serving pieces are no exception.
Favorite pick: Threshold Bistro 16-Piece Dinnerware Set, various colors available to serve four for $39.99.
I have grown to love Kohls over the years; it's my go-to department store for affordable goods (and there's always a coupon or three available).
Favorite pick: SONOMA life + style Clarity 16-piece glassware set, heavy rocks and pint glasses for $1.50 each ($24 for the set).
Poo-poo on Walmart all you want, but if you need lots of plates for a little cash, Wally's your man. Some of their dinnerware styles are pretty dated and hokey, but there are usually a few basic white sets in stock.
Favorite pick: 10 Strawberry Street 45-Piece Dinnerware Set, service for eight for just $49.
Locations are limited to the Southeast and Midwest, but if you can find an Old Time Pottery, there are bargains to be had in the form of dinnerware sets and glassware.
Favorite pick: Their open stock of various stemware for $1.29 a piece.
I was as suprised as you are, but glancing through the stock of this bargain bin website turns up plenty of simple, classic casual dishware at, you guessed it, $1 a piece.
My favorite pick: Royal Norfolk Santa Fe Stoneware, bright and colorful like Fiestaware for a buck a piece.
Of course it made the list. You can fill up a blue bag to the brim with dishes and glasses to fill your pantry, and still walk out with cash in your pocket.
Favorite pick: It's a tie between the IKEA 365+ 18-Piece Dinnerware Set and the SVALKA Red-Wine Glass Six Pack, get both to wine and dine six people for just $40.
(Image credits: Crate & Barrel; CB2; Crate & Barrel; Cost Plus World Market; Fishs Eddy; Target; Kohl's; Walmart; Old Time Pottery; Dollar Tree; IKEA)