Whether you’re planning a low-key dinner party and game night or an elegant evening with a creative theme, a dinner party is an excellent way to enjoy quality time with loved ones or get to know new friends.

Regardless of what your dinner party looks like, entertaining always comes with a price tag. Obviously, not everyone has an HGTV-sized budget to welcome new neighbors or host a Friendsgiving celebration. If you find yourself drooling over glossy magazine pictures of perfectly adorned tables or scrolling through images of jaw-dropping centerpieces on Pinterest, don’t let the potential cost scare you away! You can create an event just as impressive without breaking the bank.

Check out these seven low-budget table setting ideas for your next apartment dinner party that will impress your guests and maximize your space.

Basic How-To for Table Setting on a Budget

Setting expectations is key when you’re aiming for extravagant dinner party table settings that don’t cost a fortune. Cast aside notions that your party should look like a movie set. Remember that interior design gurus typically have huge budgets and professional teams to assemble their vision.

Before you start, take a look at what you already own to see what sparks inspiration. Be sure your dining room is clean before beginning to place your dinner party table settings!

7 Low Budget Table Setting Ideas for your Apartment Dinner Party

1. Purchase Decorations Secondhand

Whether you’re eyeing sleek dishes to modernize your table or antique centerpieces to add some character to your apartment dinner party, consider stopping at your local thrift store to find decor! Shopping secondhand lends itself to finding more affordable pieces than a home goods store. Rather than splurging on a couple of full-priced items, shop secondhand and get everything you need without going over budget.

Check out your local thrift store and browse Craigslist for unique additions that’ll have your guests talking. Be open-minded and venture outside your comfort zone. Consider using rustic pieces like burlap place settings or matte black plates. While you might not be able to predict what will turn up in a secondhand store, being there will definitely get your creative juices flowing! Don’t overlook stylish glassware, candles and candlesticks, tablecloths, napkins, and even salt and pepper shakers when you shop secondhand.

2. Use a Table Runner or Garland

Less really can be more! Don’t forget to leave plenty of room for food when choosing and arranging your décor. One of the easiest ways to create a polished look without crowding the table is to place a runner or garland down the middle. For an ultra-affordable dinner party table setting, simply add your favorite plates, silverware, and glasses to a table with a runner or garland. Want to add some extra elegance? Break out the candles that have been collecting dust in the back of your linen closet or those old cloth napkins you’ve been hanging on to for years.

3. Pick Up Some Flowers

A bouquet of flowers can make any dinner party table more inviting, luscious, and Pinterest-worthy. Rather than blowing your entire budget on flowers from a local florist, try picking wildflowers or gathering some pinecones.

4. Make Your Dishes Delicious & Decorative

Phone eats first for a reason! Don’t underestimate the aesthetic power of a beautifully-plated dish. For instance, a charcuterie board that includes apples, grapes, cheese, and meat, placed on a beautiful dish can kill two birds with one stone. If you want to add a bit more art to your next potluck or apartment dinner party, take some time to plate your dishes. Veggie trays, sliced bread with cheese or dip, and even casseroles can make for a beautiful dinner party table setting. As an obvious bonus, all of your decor will be edible!

5. Repurpose Old Bottles

Rather than recycling your beer, kombucha, or wine bottles in the traditional sense, try recycling them another way! Collect bottles in various shapes and sizes. Remove the stickers for an easy table setting display. If you have the time and supplies, try spray painting them for a colorful addition to your table. They can be used to hold candles, flower stems, or even just as a creative way to serve water.

6. Get Creative With Mason Jars

Mason jars are one of the most inexpensive and versatile items you can use for your table setting. Add fairy lights or candles for ambiance, use them as drinking glasses, offer them as a container for leftovers, or serve sauces in them. Bonus: they’re just as versatile in everyday life as they are on your dinner table. After the party is over you’ll be able to repurpose your mason jars any way you like!

7. Break Out The Christmas Lights

String lights aren’t only useful during the Christmas season, so dig through those holiday storage boxes before your next apartment get-together. Weave lights into garland or along a table runner, winding around serving dishes, and you’re good to go!

Host Your Apartment Dinner Party At Southern Management

If you love hosting friends and family and are looking for a new place to call home, consider Southern Management. With over 25,000 apartments across the Maryland and Virginia area, we’re bound to have just the space you’re looking for.

Check out our 75 apartment communities online or chat with one of our team members. We’d love to help you get settled in before your next gathering!