Crockery, dinnerware, dishes, china… no matter what you call it, when choosing dinner plates, bowls or cup and plate sets for casual and formal entertaining, you have A LOT of options.
Dinnerware dresses up your table and sets the
tone for the entire dining experience.
Whether you are enjoying a casual meal with the family, serving brunch on the patio to friends or hosting distinguished guests, your dinnerware choice will leave an impression on everyone seated at the table.
Think casual, formal or both!
Choose dishes that enhance your meal, complement your décor and are an expression of your personal style. Deciding whether you want formal or casual dinnerware sets or if you’d prefer to select individual pieces you can mix and match, is the first step before you buy.
Determine your needs
Do you do a lot of entertaining or have a large extended family that gathers at your home on special occasions such as holidays and birthdays? You may wish to purchase a formal dinnerware set (or 2) depending on the number of place settings you need. It is recommended that you have at least 8-12 place settings. Of course you can add up what you think you need and purchase more than one dinnerware set or buy from open stock sets which allow you to purchase just the pieces you will use most often.
Open stock dinnerware provides options
Perhaps you feel you don’t need salad bowls because you have a set of wooden bowls you prefer to use. Or maybe your casual dinnerware set doesn’t require 6 mugs because you’re the only one drinking from them. Open stock dish sets allow you to buy decorative plates, bowls or cups individually, which is a great option when a plate gets broken or cereal bowl mysteriously disappears. Most households have a casual dish set for everyday use and another set of dinnerware for formal parties and dinners. Or, you can get a beautiful set of casual dinnerware and dress it up with additional pieces for formal occasions.
Here are a few simple tips to help you in the dinnerware purchase process:
1. Consider a casual dinnerware set in neutral tones
When selecting dishes for everyday use, you may want to choose a solid color.
White, grey, cream or another neutral will match your kitchen or dining room no matter what your current (or future) décor may be. You can get solid colored dinnerware that’s soft enough in tone to blend with most décor schemes. Of course your dishes do not have to match your kitchen color. However, if you choose vibrant or unusual decorative plates for the kitchen, you may end up getting tired of them when you use them every day (so consider that possibility).
Heavier dishes such as stoneware or ceramic that are glazed with a smooth finish are family-friendly, making them a great choice for daily use. Remember when choosing a casual dinnerware set that you want it to be dishwasher safe. If microwave safe is also important, be sure to double check that too, before you make a purchase. You don’t want to be washing the cup and plate set you’ll be using for your morning coffee, by hand, do you?
2. Explore textures and subtle patterns
Just because you want a basic, neutral dinnerware set for casual use, doesn’t mean you have to compromise on how pretty it looks. Consider a dinnerware set with texture or pattern. You can also choose a set with an eye-catching finish (shiny glaze or matte) that makes it aesthetically pleasing and elegant enough to use for a special occasion. Complement your kitchen decor with lovely dinnerware that brings a dose of casual elegance to the table. Choose contemporary dinnerware with a raised motif or a fine pinstripe that adds subtle sophistication to the look.
3. Let your dinnerware make waves
Be adventurous. Even if you are determined to purchase an everyday dish set that will last a long time, you can still consider classic looks such as solid colors, and opt for other dishes trimmed in another shade. Some dinnerware features a bold, colored rim or has a gorgeous wavy edge that elevates its beauty. If you want to enhance a casual dinnerware set, consider purchasing individual pieces from another dinnerware collection to turn up the wow factor. Open stock dinnerware is available to purchase separately so you can choose as many pieces in a particular size, color or style as you like. You can even add designer tea cups to the mix. The possibilities are endless.
4. Mix and Match neutrals with colors
Start with a solid crockery set and add your favorite colors to the mix. Add vibrant dinner plates or bowls and keep the rest of the set neutral. Or use colored salad bowls or cups and saucers to enhance an all-white palette. Match these pops of color with your table linens and your casual brunch just got a little more elegant!
5. Add patterns with pizzazz
Express your creativity. Add bold patterns to your table setting with salad bowls, cup and plate sets, rice bowls or dipping vessels. If you find a pattern you love, incorporate it into your dinnerware collection. A mix of playful designs can add a touch of whimsy and a splash of fun to any celebration.
6. Play with modern shapes
It’s hip to be square… and oval… and oblong! Casual and formal dinnerware comes in all shapes, patterns, colors and sizes. It’s never been easier to showcase your individual style and personality than through your dinner plate selection. Today’s formal or casual dinner plates for kitchen or dining room use, feature trendy colors like teal and indigo, yellow and lilac. Choose a square bowl with a wooden handle or a triangular teacup and snack plate. There are so many options for making every meal even more memorable. If investing in both a casual and formal dinnerware collection is not feasible, opt for an everyday set that you can dress up with gorgeous linens or beautiful serveware to make it more elegant when entertaining. You may also want to consider cupboard space. If you have minimal storage, perhaps one set can do double duty. On the other hand, if you’ve got a china cabinet that can hold a fancy dinnerware set, happy shopping!
7. Go formal with fine china or handmade ceramics
Whether your formal dinnerware is trimmed in gold or is handmade porcelain ceramic, the most beautiful tables start with stunning dinnerware. White bone china is a timeless addition to the dinner table, but there’s also something to be said for the striking combination of black and gold.
Selecting dinnerware should be an enjoyable experience. Planning a beautiful dinner takes time and effort. Put as much thought into the table setting as you do in the menu and your dinner party will have everyone raving about the food and the setting.