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Plating matters: How to choose the best dinnerware

Thinking about getting a real set of dinnerware? Done buying paper plates all of the time? Or finally ready to ditch your old college set that you’ve had for more years than you were actually in college?

Whatever your reasons for wanting to look at new dinnerware, good for you. It’s a grown-up step, and we are proud of you. The real reason you are looking to get a new set will help determine the style of dinnerware you should look for, though.

Reasons to get new dinnerware

So why the need for it? What’s the purpose? Ask yourself that and have a really clear picture before you go out looking. You could be starting out your life on your own for the first time and need a few pieces to get started. Or you could be planning to start hosting dinner parties and want to make sure you have enough pieces.

Whatever your reasons, you want to make sure you know how many people you think you’ll need to serve, the type of dinners, and how much you’ll want to spend. Dinnerware can get pricey pretty quickly if you need a lot of pieces.

Six Annovero porcelain bowls

Main kinds of dinnerware

  • Formal dining

If you are wanting to impress your parents or dinner-party guests, you are looking for some formal dinnerware. A basic set should have the standard five pieces that you can continue to build on. You usually get this for your wedding, but if you are single looking for a nice set, these are sold pretty much anywhere.

  • Casual dining

This set can be more relaxed, more your personality. You’ll be using this set for your everyday use, so you’ll be looking at it a lot. Make sure it’s a pattern or style you won’t get tired of easily. You’ll have more pieces in this set because you’ll use it more often. This set should be more durable and not as expensive, since there will be more opportunities for mishaps.

  • Open stock

This is a great option. if you think you’ll only use bowls and plates from a set, then you should ask to see the open-stock options at the store. You basically pick what you want to use. If you won’t ever use a cup saucer, then you don’t have to have one. If you need five extra bowls because you really like ice cream, then you can get them.

Do you need fancy china?

But what about fine china? You always hear your grandmother talk about her “good china.” Is it? Is getting fine china dinnerware something you should be considering? Not necessarily. Yes, it is a nice, quality dinnerware. It’s pretty. But do you need it? Probably not.

Why is fine china dinnerware so expensive, though? It has to do with the fact that china need such a hot temperature to fire them in the kiln. The hotter the temperature, the more heat needed, the more expensive that firing is, the more expensive the china.

A five-piece set will start around $100. That may not be a lot to some, especially if they got it as a wedding present and didn’t have to pay for it, but it is pricey compared to a lot of other sets. It’s best left for the most formal of dinners and special occasions.

A china tea set arranged together

Make sure it works in your home

We’ll say it again, your dinnerware should reflect you. It should be a color you like, a pattern you are happy with, and a style you wanted to pick out. Once you have that sorted, there is something else you should consider. Will it fit in your house? Physically? Will it fit in your cabinet? Your dishwasher? Your microwave? Is it microwave safe? These are questions you need answers to before you swipe your card.

It would be horrible to spend some money on a set you spent so much time picking out to find out you can never forget that that plate can never ever go in the microwave. Or that you have to wash your plates by hand because they can’t clear your dishwasher. Measure once, cut twice. This can transfer to so many other things in life. Check out the specifics and dimensions first.

Luckily, almost everywhere sells dinnerware. From Kohl’s to Target to Macy’s, there are eight to 12-piece sets for $50-$80. You can get them cheaper if you want, and you can pay more if you want. It’s all up to your budget and what you are willing to spend on a pattern you really like. As long as you get a set that matches your dining space and your aesthetic, you’ll be happy with your choice.

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