A few years ago, I’d read that some of the cheaper dinnerware produced in China was turning up with lead in it. I looked at my inexpensive and chipped (but very pretty) dinnerware and got a little concerned. Rather than spend a couple hundred dollars on what I really wanted, which was a set of lead-free Fiestaware for eight, I decided that until I could find something made in the US that was also not ugly or ridiculously expensive, I’d go with something simple and safe—glass.

I looked at a few department stores and didn’t find much in the way of glass and what I did find felt flimsy so I decided to check my local thrift stores. I didn’t find any complete sets but I did find tons of glass pieces in a variety of patterns and suddenly it hit me…I didn’t need a matching set at all—I would mix and match and have a funky, eclectic set of with everything I needed for a next to nothing. I picked out 8 dinner plates, 8 salad plates, 8 bowls and 8 saucers in a handful of patterns—bamboo, florals, vines, contemporary, lattice, and textured.

I brought everything home, washed it and unceremoniously trashed all the old, chipped stuff. I put my “new” dishes away and have used them ever since. In that time, not one piece has chipped or broken. Once I realized how durable my funky, mismatched dinnerware was, I gave up looking for anything else. Best of all, though, is that it cost me less than twenty dollars for peace of mind that my stuff is lead-free.

The takeaway? Things don’t have to be new OR expensive to be awesome. Please feel free to share your favorite secondhand scores in the comments :)

Photo by Nancy Bea Miller

This Week’s Giveaway: Truly Organic Baking 

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