A Guide to Dining In: How to Serve a Good Meal in Your Apartment

Eating Comfortably in Your Apartment

Nowadays, apartment renters have been forced to eat at home much more often. With several restaurants closed, and others only offering takeout due to the coronavirus, most people have had to rely on preparing their own meals. While this won’t be an issue for some, others are more reliant on meals prepared out of the apartment, which can pose some difficulties.   

If you are looking for some tips, use our guide to learn the most effective ways to serve meals at home. Our guide covers a few topics including dining spaces and shopping for food. 

Make a Space-Saving Dining Area 

Small Dining Area Set Up in Aspen Green Apartment Unit

While most apartments have spacious floor plans, many don’t have space for their own dedicated dining areas. If this is the case in your apartment, you can put together your own dining area within the space that’s available to you. You’ll feel more comfortable eating in your apartment if you have a proper table to use. 

If space is an issue in your apartment, you’ll benefit from using a round folding table. You can fold up the table when you’re not using it, and then store it away until you need it again. You can also use lightweight chairs for your dining area, so you can freely move them around as you see fit.  

It can be helpful to place dining furniture up against the wall. It’s easy to line up chairs around a table this way, and this keeps chairs out of the way, allowing you to move freely throughout your apartment.  

Stock Up on Dishes, Cookware, & Detergent

Dishware, Including Plates, Spoons, & Cups

Of course, you’ll also need cookware to prepare meals, as well as dishes to serve them on. Apartments already have all the necessary large appliances, so you’ll just need a few extra things, such as pots, pans, oven mitts, cutting boards, and cutlery, among others. You can also stock up on disposable paper plates, but with these in high demand right now, proper dishware is also a good option. 

It’s also important to get into the habit of washing your dishware on a regular basis. Cleaning dishes is crucial on its own, but with the coronavirus still a major issue, keeping everything spotless is vital. Your apartment should already have a dishwasher, so all you’ll need to do is stock up on detergent pods to use with them. 

Make sure you have a draining rack so you can let everything dry once you’re done washing. 

Putting Extra Thought into Your Shopping List

Shelves of Food at Liuzzi Food Market in New Haven
Source: Yelp 

Now that your apartment has the proper cookware and a dining area, you need to think about how you’re going to be buying food. To start, don’t focus as much on looking for specific brands; this isn’t a good time to be picky about what you can use. 

When putting together your shopping list, it’s important to always check to see what you currently have. You don’t want to be making too many trips to the food store right now, and you don’t want to forget anything when you do go grocery shopping. Checking to see what you already have before you go out keeps you from wasting time and money. 

Since the coronavirus is still a major issue, it’s important that you focus on what you need to prepare essential meals. Keep your grocery list small for the time being, in order to reduce the amount of time you need to spend in the store. You can always go back in a week or two.  

Getting Food & Groceries to Prepare

Wearing a Mask, a Woman Goes Shopping for Food


After the shopping list is prepared, come up with a game plan for acquiring what you need. With the pandemic still in full swing, the options available may be limited. Fortunately, there are several stores still open, some of which offer curbside pickups and deliveries. 

Hartford County has several food stores still in operation, as does New Haven County. Some of these stores offer early operating hours for older residents, so keep that in mind as well. Always be careful while shopping and take a mask with you until we know the coronavirus pandemic has passed.

Download New Recipes Online

A Woman Cooks a Dish From Home With Some Pots

With so many restaurants closed right now, there could be a lower variety of meals available to you. If you get tired of eating the same types of meals over and over again, it might be time to spice up your palate. With a quick online search, you can find a vast selection of recipes you can try out at home. 

Whether you’re looking to start small or go big, there are recipes for cooks of all skill levels online. A few good places to start looking include AllRecipes, Food Network, Betty Crocker, and EatingWell. Learning new recipes is a great way to pass the time when you’re stuck at home, so you’ll benefit from more than just an expanded palate of food. 

Looking to order takeout so you can take a break from preparing your own food? See which locations in the New Haven and Hartford Counties are offering takeout.