Dinner parties are so much fun. You make your guest list, spend way too much time scrolling through recipes on Foodgawker, run to the grocery store for all the ingredients, then spend hours in the kitchen. After all that hard work, the last thing you want to do is use paper plates to present your masterpiece. Even if you’re just reheating some leftovers for yourself, you deserve more than a flimsy plate and plastic silverware. And if it’s true that you eat with your eyes first, these $25 kitchen essentials will have you salivating STAT.
1. Jewel Glasses ($14): Sip your beverage of choice in style. Your guests won’t be able to keep their hands off these jewel toned glasses and thanks to the multi-color set, no one will be trying to figure out whose drink is whose.
2. Salad Service Set ($24): Your salads should never be bland and neither should the bowl you serve them out of. This set will help you showcase the hard work you’re doing, both in the kitchen and on your health.
3. Tea Infuser Mugs ($12): Steep your Earl Gray or remove the lid and enjoy a nice cup of coffee in these Victorian-inspired mugs. And don’t be afraid to invite a friend over for high tea. These babies come in a pack of two for a reason!
4. Geo Stripes Place Setting ($13): Buying place settings can feel very grown up. Have fun with it. Try sticking with a neutral color palate so any placemats, napkins or cups you buy will always match.
5. Kate Spade Acrylic Glasses ($25): Your guests will think you pulled out the good glasses when they see these beauties. You’ll want to keep these around for a while, and since they’re made from durable acrylic, you can!
7. Placemats ($18): Also available in red, teal and orange, these machine washable placemats will set the tone for your meal. They’ll also help keep crumbs contained and make cleanup easier than ever. Can we get a heck yes for that?
8. Grass Round Platter ($20): This platter adds more than a dash of color to any tablescape. And since it’s 100% shatterproof, it’ll survive even the wildest dinner parties.
9. Dipped Two-Tone Mugs ($20): Two tones are better than one! These mugs are business on the top and party on the bottom. The simple design and fun colors are a great base to build the perfect collection of china around.
10. Serving Tray ($20): If balance isn’t exactly your strongest skill, this tray is an essential for you. The non slip coating keep the cups and glasses in place. This would also look great on top of the dresser or a desk when not being used for food.
11. Highball Glasses ($8): Again, we’re into multi-color glasses for one reason and one reason only — drink identification.
12. Hand-Stamped Terracotta Bowl ($10): Just because you don’t have souvenirs from a fancy faraway vacation doesn’t mean you can’t bring that handmade feel to your table. This terra cotta bowl is the perfect addition to any laid-back meal.
13. Medallion Pitcher ($16): Why use a plain plastic pitcher when you could use something a little more stylish? Refill glasses with fresh lemonade or pour hot water for tea. This pitcher is not only cute, it’s also dishwasher and microwave safe. Score.
14. Floral Dinnerware Set ($20): Stock your cabinet for less than you’d pay for a week’s worth of iced lattes. This pretty floral set comes with enough dinner plates, cereal bowls and salad plates for four people + proves that budget doesn’t have to mean boring.
15. Cordial Glass Set ($10): Trying to carry enough glasses to set the whole table at once can be risky business, but making so many trips to the cupboard takes SO MUCH TIME. This stackable set will help you to not go too far over your daily-steps goal and just focus on the food, drink and merriment. Party on.
16. Ceramic Painted Bowls ($13): Hand stamped and painted, these are best saved for the days when you’re eating something like handfuls of pistachios or fresh grapes. Anyone else feel like munching suddenly?
17. Creamer ($16): Add a little playful fun to your table with an animal-shaped creamer boat that will make you smile every time you see it.
18. Cloth Napkins ($19): Put those paper towels back on the shelf. These 100% cotton napkins pay for themselves in no time and add the perfect finishing touch to your table.
19. Mod Kitchen Pitcher ($15): Show your guests your style with this retro-inspired carafe. The blue and turquoise diamond band gives an otherwise plain piece some character. If you already have a glass carafe at home, DIY it up with Sharpies.
20. Belmont Cake Tray ($20): A vintage replica, this one is all about the details. The vibrant blue of the glass is a nice departure from the standard clear. Hold on to this one. Your (future) daughter or son will thank you.
21. Appetizer Plates ($15): This set of eight coordinating plates is great for stocking up before a party.
22. Paisley Printed Glasses ($8): This pretty paisley print is great for people who are just dipping their toes into the wonderful world of mixing colors and patterns. Since the design continues in one single color, it’s less intimidating than one that’s full of different colors.
23. Gold Rimmed Plates ($22): The gold leaf rim on these salad plates makes them look like pricey designer dishes. But with these, you’ll still have plenty of money left over for more wine. Thank goodness.
24. Dash Dot Bowl ($10): Whether it’s holding homemade guacamole, fresh-cut fruit or a handful of crackers, this bowl is sure to see some action. The white dots on top of the transparent color is simple but interesting enough to make this one piece your kitchen can’t live without.
25. Medallion Side Plate Set ($16): The simple colors of these ceramic plates make them easy to pair with your other cups and napkins. Don’t be afraid to mix and match patterns or unexpected color combinations for an eclectic look. You’ll be surprised how many patterns can work together once it’s all laid out and the food is ready.
What is one essential you can’t live without in the kitchen? Let us know below!