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38 Cheap (But Expensive Looking) Dinner-Party Accents

Photo-Illustration: Courtesy of the retailers.

You don’t need much to plan a great dinner party. As long as you’ve got food — whether you cooked it yourself or ordered in — and space to host a few friends, you’re more than halfway there. But to make the occasion feel a bit more special, you can grab a few accents that will instantly upgrade your night. A new set of dishes, colorful napkins, and some matching flatware is often all you need to zhuzh up your space and impress your guests. To get you started, we’ve pulled together a bunch of affordable dinner-party accoutrements that are sure to make your gathering all the more inspired. Most of these items are available on Amazon for easy shopping, but we’ve found some of them elsewhere, for those who like to shop around.

These planet-shaped cocktail picks — the sun and moon are also represented — are made with stones like agate and tiger’s eye and come with a convenient stand of walnut wood. Use them for martinis or on a charcuterie board.

To go with those celestial drinks, you might want to grab a 12-pack of stemless (and less likely to fall over) martini glasses.

Or try these shatterproof stemless wineglasses from Govino that come with an ergonomic thumb notch that makes them more comfortable to handle.

And if you insist on using glass, consider these squat mini-glasses that Strategist writer Lauren Ro says she likes for their “everydayness” — and the fact that they feel like something you’d find at a European bistro.

This Scandinavian-inspired decanter comes with a round oak stopper that keeps the carafe sealed when it’s not in use.

If it’s fiesta night, use this handsome glass pitcher from Mikasa for sangrias or margaritas (or just plain water).

These colorful glass straws are more elevated than plastic or stainless steel options. Plus they are reusable (as long as your guests don’t steal them for themselves).

You won’t believe that these tear-off napkins beloved by Tonne Goodman, who says they are “the simplest solution to the tedious task of serving hors d’oeuvre,” are actually made of 100 percent cotton. While they’re meant to be disposable, you could wash them a couple of times and reuse them (albeit not as a roll) for the next party. They’re available in a ton of other colors and as full-size napkins and place mats, too.

Impress your guests even further with a stack of these thick hand towels from Caspari, the 70-plus-years paper-napkin-maker that former Strategist senior editor Anthony Rotunno swears by for its art-worthy prints, when they take a trip to the powder room.

Serve drinks on this chrome-plated tray from restaurant-supply company Winco that has gadrooned edging and traditional engraving.

These cotton-linen blend place mats have a sweet hemstitch frame and come in an array of bright colors, including blue, apple green, and lavender.

If you’re worried about serving your guests on mismatched plates, this inexpensive set of classic white dinner plates ought to ease your mind. Get the matching salad plates while you’re at it.

For a bit more color (and a smaller group), try these ceramic dessert plates that come in an appealing array of earth tones.

For a dinner-party dish that’s unbreakable (and still stunning), Strategist senior editor Jen Trolio is a fan of Crow Canyon for “cookout-friendly enamelware in the best colors and patterns.”

This is the perfect bowl for wowing your visitors with a bountiful salad.

And some inexpensive — but no less handsome — bamboo salad hands to serve your guests.

Set the mood with these twisted taper candles made from natural beeswax.

Place them in these simple candleholders won’t take any shine away from your tapers.

Or keep it simple with a smattering of tea lights spread across the table.

We love the idea of popping these color drip candles in some empty wine bottles for instant table décor.

This set of four cork-backed coasters will keep your favorite drinks steady and your surfaces protected. They can also be arranged together to make a cheery trivet for your counter or tabletop.

Showcase that farmers’ market bouquet with this ribbed vase in a smoky-amber tint.

This buffalo-check table runner is just the right amount of rustic.

Crock-Pot makes enamel cast-iron Dutch ovens in lovely colors (like this ombre teal) that are a fraction of the price of Le Creusets.

Present all your tortes, flambés, and pies on this melamine cake stand.

Serve rice — and, after the meal, some ice cream — in these small Japanese bowls.

Or fill these bright and happy bowls with soup (or more ice cream).

Strategist senior writer Liza Corsillo owns these French bistro glasses, which are perfect for “a small portion of juice,” she says. You could even use them for after-dinner espressos.

Use this to rest your utensils on something prettier than the countertop while you’re stirring sauces, or bring it to the table to hold serving spoons.

This cool matte-black crock is your new salt cellar, for flaky Maldon, or a sugar dispenser for afternoon tea parties.

W&P Everyday Ice Tray

If you’re without an ice machine, look no further than this tray beloved by five Strategist staffers. The material it’s made of “feels thinner and more flexible than that of its counterparts, so you can remove the cubes with almost alarming ease,” says kitchen-and-dining writer Emma Wartzman.

Or charm your guests with these dachshund-shaped ice cubes.

Use this cutting board as a serving tray for cheese and charcuterie.

Cookies would look very elegant on this three-tier Japanese stand.

We like the turquoise shown here, but this 20-piece stainless-steel flatware set also comes in cream, gray, lilac, sapphire blue, red, and walnut.

Send your guests home with leftovers in these Chinese takeout boxes that Brooklyn-based recipe developer Mehreen Karim stocked up on before her epic Friendsgiving dinner party.

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38 Cheap (But Expensive Looking) Dinner-Party Accents