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Set a swanky table

By JODI OLSON and MAURITA JASPER

The "good china." Isnít "good" really code for the expensive, unused china? If itís safely tucked away for special occasions only and it cost a fortune, then technically, itís a wasted resource. The Frugalitarian says all china is good china and thereís no need to spend a fortune on it.

So set a swanky table just because. Mixing and matching thrift store finds makes a gorgeous spread. Bonus: If anything gets broken, you wonít feel the need to launch a panicky, to-the-ends-of-the-earth search for costly replacements. You can change your style or color scheme on a whim without the angsty commitment of knowing youíll have to live with your choice for a long, long time.

Good times and great memories arenít built on the best money can buy, yet thereís nothing wrong with loving a lovely table. So put it together for less with more resourcefulness, creativity and great taste. Your guests will marvel at your style, but more importantly, the upscale look wonít feel uptight and theyíll feel free to be themselves. Itís not whatís on your table, itís whoís at your table.

We like to call it being "Elegantly Resourceful." For more ideas on how to live very well on very little, go to www.thefrugalitarian.com

Fine china is in the eyes of the beholder. Hereís a little anecdote for reinforcement. Two old friends of ours married years ago. He was from a very wealthy family. She was not. When she met his parents, dinner was served on fine china that cost hundreds of dollars per place setting. He says it was a miserable, stuffy, uncomfortable evening. In contrast, when he met her parents, they drank out of mismatched cups, dinner was festive and they laughed all night long.

And hereís what makes it cool:you can go with one color or choose several for a single table setting. Right now weíre into the brown/pink combo. Add texture and interest by choosing some edges that are hobnail, some scalloped and others just plain round. The variety is delightful. And everything comes from Goodwill, consignment stores and rummage sales.