Recently I have gotten a spate of emails and comments wanting to know where I get the cups, saucers, plates and serving pieces I show on Coconut & Lime when I post recipes. While I don't create the elaborate "tablescapes" some bloggers do, I do like to vary the dishes for the blog rather than showing the plate over and over again. I don't like to spend a lot of money on dishes so I have come up with a few tricks.
I have found some of my best deals ($12 for a set of 4 chandelier print teacups and saucers-regularly $40 and $12 for this Jonathan Adler for Chocolate Bar fondue set-regularly $65) at a store that sells mostly clothes, jewelry and purses. The store has a small "home" section towards the back and the things they sell are beautiful and from great designers. However, I don't think most people thinkof the store as a destination for those sort of items and the selection is some what limited but when they mark things down, it is often by 50% or more.
I have also had a lot of luck at high end independently owned furniture stores. Often they have a great kitchen/bar section that has a lot of merchandise to fill out the display (like cookbooks to show off a bookcase or fun cutting boards on top of a movable island) that frequently go unsold and end up on the clearance table.
I also buy sets of things were each piece is different. A set of four rice bowls each with a different print breaks up the monotony while still being practical.
Often you can buy just one of a set. White plates are good for showing off the food, but if you love color like me, you don't want to eat off of it every day. Places like Fishs Eddy frequently sell classic dishes that are priced individually so you can buy as few or as many as you like.