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Tabletop Style: Casual Stress-free Tabletop Ideas That Are Easy On Your Budget

Want to Entertain Stress-free and be easy on your budget?  Here’s a simple “How to” that will make takeout look good.

Stress-free Tabletop Ideas - Splendid Habitat

My friend shared with me recently she’d like to entertain at home but she doesn’t because it’s way too much work.  I challenged her to go beyond her belief and I promised she wouldn’t be stressed out if she followed my super simple casual formula.

So, the easiest way to entertain at home when it’s not a potluck is this … Dress the table and order takeout.

Now that you don’t have to worry about the food focus on creating an inviting table.  Here’s a way to do it that’s highly affordable and perfect for a super casual evening with friends.

Elle’s ways to “dress the table” in style.

When someone comes to your home and see’s an great looking table they automatically anticipate the meal.  If you make the table look good you can get away serving Chinese takeout or a salad and pizza and make people feel like you did something special.

It’s easy to do and doesn’t have to cost much to do it.  Here are  my favorite casual entertaining tips.

1.  Ditch the paper plates – Pick a color scheme and breakout the dishes.

selection of Green dishes

If you need to, add colorful dishes to what you already have

2. Use colorful placemats – They don’t have to match

Cloth placemats - Casual dinngYou could have a stack with every placemats is different and people will choose their own.

3.  Consider using silverware, if not plastic will work

ironworks silverwareYou can set your silverware (or plastic ware) out with napkins and the placemats for self service pick-up.

4. Not enough plates, no problem – Layering adds interest

PlacesettingDid you know “this and that” plates can look good – go for it!

Placesettings 2

Also, there are some super cool paper placements you can use.

Graphic paper placemats - Stress-free entertainingPaper placemats you tear off one at a time like writing paper.

 5.  For a super casual meal a table cloth is not necessary

Table paper - SUPER CASUAL TABLETOP STYLENo tablecloth, no problem – use paper instead.  When you’re done you just roll the paper up and throw it away.  Add some crayons, markers or chalk for doodling.

Really, you don’t even have to set the table (even though I do).

Drinks – Set glasses and drinks out for self serve and let your friends bring the wine.

Food – Put all the takeout food in your own containers and set the food out just before you’re ready to eat.  

Sit down with your guest and enjoy yourself.  Remember – No worries; being with your company makes it a good time.

Incase you need to shop …

Here are some great places to find good looking and highly affordable accessories for your table:

Price Range:

  • Dishes  – $5 to $12 per item
  • Silverware & Placemats – less than $5 per item
  • Glasses – from $3 to $8 per item

You can find stores near you by clicking the links below.

Cost Plus & Pier 1 Imports have an excellent selection of eclectic dishes, placemats, napkins and silverware starting at

TJ Maxx, Home Goods & Ross Stores have a variety of traditional dinnerware and tabletop brands at deep discount.  If you are trying to match a set go early and go often to increase your chances.  You may have to go to a couple of stores to find what you want but the price will be worth it.  I have gotten amazing bargains this way.

Goodwill, Thrift and Consignment Stores – Are super cheap. So if you like to hunt you just might be amazed at what you can find.  Expect prices to be as low as $1. per item.

I hope this releases some of the stress from entertaining.  Now, go ahead and invite your friends over!

Get more tabletop ideas here.

Until next time …

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