For my birthday last year, my mother gave me the money to go out and buy a coordinated plateware pattern, something of decent quality. It was one of those errands which was never accomplished. We got by with the four increasingly chipped Ikea plates (and some smaller ones) which came with the flat, never quite enough even for a very few guests at a time.
It seems appropriate to me that we finally made the time to find a pattern that would suit after I'd finished my degree. We only spent a few hours on it*, but I'm pleased with what we brought home today. I'm mostly no longer a student, and now too, I have a plateware pattern.**
* C. despairs of the staff working in the department store we purchased these in. They were - conveniently - having a buy 3, get a 4th free sale. When calculating how much we owed, the staff person counted down each pile of eight. One, two, three - move the fourth into the "free" pile. One, two, three - move the eighth into the "free" pile. And so on, stopping to remove each fourth item from our piles.
** Denby Azure - but not the Coast part of the range. You can see what it looks like here. I don't really like the teacups, but most of the rest of the range is decent. We only bought plates and bowls to start with. There's only so much that'll fit in the cupboards at the current place.