Choosing the right dinnerware for your home can feel like a daunting task — our collection alone boasts nearly 100 different options. But the endeavor doesn’t have to be an overwhelming one if you know where to begin. Here are a few key considerations to keep in mind when selecting your next set of new dishes.
- If you like to entertain, have two dinnerware sets: one formal and one casual. Your casual dinnerware should be long-lasting pieces that are practical in everyday applications, while formal dinnerware can be more colorful and ornate (and even more delicate, since you’ll be reserving it for special occasions).
- Decide how much dinnerware you’ll need. Service for 12 guests is traditional, but if you don’t entertain much, prefer intimate holiday gatherings, or have a smaller dining arrangement, you might want as few as eight sets of new dishes.
- Don’t forget about size considerations. Plate size is something that’s all too often an afterthought. Before buying, confirm that the dinnerware — especially plates — on your list fit comfortably into your cabinets, dishwasher, and microwave oven, and that they’re well-suited to the portion sizes you prefer.
- For casual dinnerware, look for durability. Make sure dishes you plan to use every day are safe for use in the dishwasher, microwave, and oven.
- For formal dinnerware, consider an array of materials. Porcelain is delicate in appearance but surprisingly durable. Stoneware is heavier than porcelain, and good for entertaining. Earthenware often comes in vibrant colors. Some, like stoneware and earthenware, boast a rustic appearance, but can be more prone to chipping than porcelain.
- Make sure your pieces reflect your style sensibility. Hold out until you find dinnerware that suits your personality. Even if you don’t own other tabletop accents, landing on the right set will anchor your style at the table. Keep other aspects of your dining area in mind, like the color of your room or the style of flatware you use, and allow that to guide your choice, too.