We all have that stage in life where we got crazy schedules and we prefer eating takeouts, but sooner or later, almost all people goes to eat in and serve home-cooked meals. It is cheaper in the long run, and also much healthier. Because of this, a set of dinnerware is a must-have for every household, especially for those starting a family. Dinnerware is the champion of the dining area, and it’s much more than holding and serving food. Dinnerware can also make your meals more appetizing, set the tone for home dining and complement you dining room décor.
When buying new dinnerware, keep in mind these tips:
Know the dinnerware material you need
Whether you call them plates or dishes, dinnerware can be a good focal point for your table. Before you pick patterns and colors, you need to start first in focusing on the material you like, or the material that will suit your need. Here are the common dinnerware materials:
Porcelain is a versatile material that is durable and has a non-porous surface. It’s a sophisticated type of dinnerware with a little less price tag than bone china. Porcelain are usually dishwasher-, microwave and oven-safe. You can find porcelain dinnerware in different designs, ranging from the traditional to contemporary patterns.
- Bone china
Bone china is fired at high temperatures. Making it an incredibly durable material with an almost luminescent glow. It has a fine and translucent quality, and it resists chipping. It’s also typically dishwasher- and microwave-safe.
The impermeable, finishing glaze of stoneware creates a clean, smooth and modern dinnerware look. This is what makes stoneware family-friendly and ideal for everyday use. It is more durable than earthenware but it must be kept away from exposure to freezing temperatures or high heat. Some pieces, especially those with hand-painted designs, may need to be hand-washed only.
Earthenware offers durability, value and casual appeal. It has a substantial weight to it, and can sometimes offer an artisanal look. It’s best to avoid sudden temperature changes when using it to keep it at its best condition.
Melamine is the cheapest dinnerware material that is shatterproof and break-resistant. It can be bought in so many different designs. These are typically used for outdoor settings or for young children. Most are dishwasher-safe, but aren’t suitable for microwave or oven.
Know what to look for when buying casual and/or formal dinnerware.
Once you have a good idea of what you want, it’s time to consider whether you want a casual or formal dinnerware. Casual dinnerware are those used for everyday meals, while formal dinnerware are often used for special occasions, holidays, dinner parties and gatherings. The choice depends on your personal needs.
Formal dinnerware is often sold as a set that includes all the pieces that a person would need at the table. It’s ideal for couples or families building their collections. Porcelain is a common material when it comes to formal dinnerware. You can also find it in stoneware, and it’s heavier than porcelain and great for entertaining. Earthenware is often found in colorful variants. But as a tip when you’re looking for a formal dinnerware you would like to use for a long time (and even pass on to your children in the future), go for classic, timeless designs rather than trendy ones. Simple white dinnerware is a good choice, since it allows you to layer in pattern and color using your placemats, napkins and linen.
When buying casual dinnerware, your utmost consideration must be its durability, no matter what material it is made of. Make sure the dishes you pick are safe for microwave, dishwasher and oven use. You’d want it to last long. Choose a pattern, color or design that you’ll enjoy seeing and using daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
White is a classic, safe choice
As mentioned earlier, white is a classic choice. You can never go wrong with white dishes. They are very versatile and simple. Food looks more elegant and appetizing in a white background, and you can always accent it with colorful mugs and bowls. White also matches with anything, making it a usable dinnerware of choice for every occasion.
Also, if you’re not willing to buy two separate sets, the best choice is still white. Invest in a good set of white dinnerware, and you can dress it up or down using linens and other serving pieces. This way you can save space and money.
Look for open stock options so you can customize to your needs
You don’t need to buy a 5-piece set if you know you’re only interested in using the dinner plates and soup bowls. Or maybe you only need some glasses because you got a lot of plates from your wedding. Open stock dinnerware is dinnerware sold per piece, and this option lets you pick only the item you want. Over time, you can add other pieces to pair it with to make a unique and organic place setting, making it a good choice if you’re not a fan of matching sets. This way you can easily replace any piece that would get broken.
Don’t forget to consider space and size
Space and size are one of your most important considerations. Plate sizing is a thing that’s often an afterthought. Before buying a set of dinnerware, you must answer these questions: where would you place them? Does it fit comfortably into your cabinets, cupboards or dish storage? Does it fit into your microwave oven and dishwasher? Do the sizes complement the portion sizes you prefer? Obviously, your answers to these questions must be yes. You may love a specific plate set, but you may not love them anymore after discovering you can’t close your cabinet doors.
Decide how much sets you need
Having a set of 8 to 12 5-place settings can ensure that you’ll have enough dinnerware for general use and entertaining. A 12-guest serving is traditional, but if you don’t entertain that much, or if you have a smaller dining table, you may need only as few as six to eight.
A five-piece set often includes a dinner plate, dessert/salad plate, bowl, cup and saucer. Meanwhile, a 4-piece set includes a mug instead of cup and saucer.
Don’t hesitate to spend on great dishes
As with any item, buying cheap isn’t always the most cost-effective solution. If you want to live using those dishes for years to come, you may need to spend a bit more. Consider your new dinnerware an investment that will be of service to you and your household for a long time.