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Dinnerware Buying Guide

Think of dinnerware as the star player in your tabletop team. Working with table linens, stemware, and flatware, dinnerware makes a personal statement that contributes to a winning family-meal or dinner-party experience.

Types of Dinnerware

Types of Dinnerware

The biggest distinction in dinnerware is between formal and informal -- a decision that depends on your family's lifestyle and dining habits. If you entertain frequently, you may need a set of each type. Within each broad category of formal and informal, the individual pieces of dinnerware are much the same, although a formal table setting typically has more pieces to match the additional courses or menu items.

Fine China

The best choice for holiday dinner parties and formal gatherings, this dinnerware usually features top-quality materials and classic, simple styles that create a sense of occasion.

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Lenox
$96.00

Lenox Simply Fine Chirp Serving BowlCrafted of Lenox fine bone chinaMicrowave, oven, freezer & dishwasher safeGuaranteed chip ...resistantDiameter: 9 1/2Need more information on this product? Click here to ask. read more

Lenox
$99.95

Let yourself be swept away to an island paradise, complete with a solitary sailboat, lush palm trees, and uninhabited beaches. Thi...s is the alluring tropical scene portrayed by designer Chuck Fisher in this exquisite pitcher. Use the pitcher to serve lemonade, fresh-squeezed juice or, in keeping with the theme, a tropical fruit punch! read more

Casual Dinnerware

Ideal for everyday family breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this dinnerware typically boasts more color and graphic elements than formal dinnerware. You might even mix solid and patterned styles or include seasonal-theme pieces for a relaxed, informal mood.

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Home Trends
$64.00

Your friends and family will admire your good taste when they see this beautiful and practical Better Homes and Gardens Bazaar Bro...wn Dinnerware Set on your table. The dinnerware has a rich color with a vibrant hand-drawn style design featuring varying shades of brown stripes. The eye-catching, rounded-corner design looks like it belongs on dinnerware you would find in a boutique or art gallery. This 32-piece Better Homes and Gardens dinnerware set for includes eight of each: dinner plates, salad plates, soup bowls and mugs. With this many place settings, you can have a small gathering and not run out of dishes. The Better Homes and Gardens stoneware dinnerware is finished with a lustrous reactive glaze. All the pieces are both microwave- and dishwasher-safe, so it is easy and convenient to use. These dishes are sturdy enough for everyday use, but attractive enough for special occasions. The Better Homes and Gardens Dinnerware Set provides value with an upscale style and beautiful desig read more

Gibson Oveseas Inc.
$30.32

The Gibson Home Fresh Essentials Dinnerware Combo Set is a good choice for your everyday dining needs. This colorful and bright co...llection comes complete with four huge dinner plates. It also contains four salad plates, four bowls and four tumblers, helping to complete the attractive look it offers. Because it is made with break-resistant Durastone, this beautiful dining service is sure to last for years to come. The dishes (but not the flatware) in the Gibson dinnerware set are microwavable. Each piece is entirely safe for the dishwasher, making post-meal cleanup a breeze. As it uses stainless steel flatware, staining and rusting is not a concern. It will maintain its original sheen. Tie the decor of your kitchen or dining room together with a splash of color when you use this beautiful collection. read more

Gibson Overseas
$38.53

Enhance the look of your table with the Gibson Home Terra Bella Stoneware Dinnerware Set. It includes service for four people with... four stoneware dinner plates, four salad plates, four bowls and four coordinating mugs. This dishwasher- and microwave-safe Gibson 16-piece dinnerware set is ideal for casual home dining and entertaining. read more

Better Homes and Gardens
$29.92

Better Homes and Gardens Coupe Square 12-Piece Dinnerware Set, White:Durable enough for everyday useMicrowave and dishwasher safeO...ven safe up to 450 degreesMaterial content: Porcelain4 dinner plates 10.75 x 1.25 (27.3 cm x 3.1 cm)4 salad plates 8.25... read more

Plates

Dinner plates are among the most important pieces because they present your kitchen's best front-and-center to each diner. Use an oversize charger plate below the dinner plate to frame it and add a decorative element. Smaller salad plates and bread-and-butter plates play supporting roles.

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Cyan Design
$147.50

Cyan Design Small Aurora Plate Features: -Material: Glass.-Perfect transitional style addition to any room.-Color: Blue.-Product T...ype: Decorative Plate.-Shape: Round.-Style: Contemporary.-Material: Glass -Material Details: ..-Set: Yes.Dimensions:... read more

Cyan Design
$277.50

Cyan Design Large Palomar Plate Features: -Material: Glass.-Perfect transitional style addition to any room.-Color: Amber and Clea...r.-Product Type: Decorative Plate.-Shape: Round.-Style: Contemporary.-Material: Glass -Material Details: ..-Comes With... read more

$19.95

Create a timeless keepsake commemorating their birth with our exclusive All About Me Personalized Baby Birth Plate.Choose from 4 a...dorable designs (baby buggy, sports balls, rattle, or baby blocks) to be printed above baby's birth information featuring their first and last name, birthdate, and all of baby's birth details (optional). This unique personalized baby gift will be cherished by the parents for years to come. Quality crafted of white porcelain. Baby plate measures 7 1/2" dia.Birth plate is a keepsake piece - not intended for use by baby.Makes a great gift set paired up with our Wood Display Easel, sold separately. read more

Bowls

Soup and salad bowls present these respective courses in appropriate portion sizes. Their shapes often echo that of the dinner plate.

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Cyan Design
$155.00

Cyan Design 04234 Rouge Bowl Finish: Red Shade/Glass/Material: Glass Number of Lights: N/A Type of Bulb: N/A Wattage: N/A Voltage:... N/A Length: 0 Width: 0 Height: 4 Warranty: Full Manufacturer's Warranty on this Item read more

Cyan Design
$542.50

Cyan Design Miranda Bowl Features: -Material: Glass.-Perfect transitional style addition to any room.-Color: Clear.-Quantity: Indi...vidual.-Stackable: No.-Lid Included: No.-Product Type: Decorative Bowl.-Shape: Abstract.-Theme: .-Holiday Theme: No... read more

$19.95

When it's cold outside, there is nothing better to warm them up than their favorite soup served in our Soup's On! Personalized Sou...p Bowls! Mouths will water in anticipation when they cast their eyes on the colorful illustrations of soups' tasty ingredients!We offer any 3 lines of personalization to recognize the cook, or just to make it a fun way to enjoy their favorite soup. What a charming gift for birthday, get well, housewarming, first apartment or chef's kitchen! read more

$24.95

She will enjoy her morning cereal and her afternoon snack in our Disney® Frozen Personalized Bowl you personalized just for her!Up...load your favorite photo displayed between Elsa and Anna. Include any 1 line message above the photo opening. Our exclusive bowl design was created so your loved one will not only be starting or adding a one-of-a-kind piece to their Disney collection; they will be adding a piece that actually has their name on it, too! read more

Cups and Saucers

Coordinating cups and saucers often take center stage toward the end of the meal when they serve coffee or tea, perhaps with dessert. Cup sizes and shapes vary by dinnerware pattern, but all should be comfortable to hold.

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Lenox
$17.29

LNX4732: Features: -1 Cup.-1 Saucer.-Blue cup and saucer set.-8 Oz.-Crafted of fine porcelain.-Microwave and dishwasher-safe. Dime...nsions: -Overall dimensions: 5'' W x 5'' D. Collection: -Butterfly Meadow collection. read more

Lenox
$24.39

Lenox Butterfly Meadow Tiger Swallowtail Cup and Saucer Set Lenox Butterfly Meadow Tiger Swallowtail Cup and Saucer Set. This cup ...and saucer set matches the Butterfly Meadow pattern. Both the cup and the saucer, evoking the beauty of butterfly meadows, have gently scalloped edges. This cup features a Tiger Swallowtail butterfly read more

Red Vanilla
$49.99

This sleek and unassuming set of espresso cups and saucers is ideal for keeping a minimalistic appeal to your dining table. With s...quare saucers, this Red Vanilla Extreme White set is modern and unique. Set includes read more

Place Settings

Dinnerware is often sold in preassembled place settings: dinner plate, salad/dessert plate, soup/cereal bowl, mug or cup and saucer, and sometimes a bread-and-butter plate.

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Crate and Barrel
$119.75 $113.95

White Pearl Dinnerware Sets: White Pearl 5-Piece Place Setting - Inspired by the simple elegance of a pearl. Beautiful embossed do...ts on white bone china create a durable dinnerware with a timeless appeal. -Bone china -Superior quality and design -Dishwasher-, microwave-, and warm oven-safe -By Nikko Ceramics -Made in Japan read more

Crate and Barrel
$113.80 $107.95

Jars Celeste Dinnerware Sets: Jars Tourron Black 4-Piece Place Setting - Handcrafted by a famed French ceramics factory founded in... 1857, our casual, elegant dinnerware collection is all about the glaze. Unique finishes coat the clean, modern shapes with satin exteriors and vivid reactive glaze interiors. Offering the strength and durability of high-fired stoneware, each piece exhibits its own distinctive glazing effects. -Stoneware -Dishwasher- and microwave-safe -Made in France read more

Crate and Barrel
$57.75 $54.95

Staccato Dinnerware Sets: Staccato 5-Piece Place Setting - Inspired by the decorative influences of early 1900s Vienna, this simpl...y elegant white porcelain dinnerware features a raised dot pattern around the rim. Excellent quality workmanship makes this porcelain dinnerware a great value. -Designed by Kathleen Wills -Porcelain -Generously sized pieces -Dishwasher-, microwave- and warm oven-safe -Made in Japan read more

Crate and Barrel
$66.80 $62.95

Kita Dinnerware Sets: Kita 4-Piece Place Setting - Pure and simple. Clean Asian shapes have a thin, elegant feel and sophisticated... color palette of subtle celadon and matte black. Porcelain is fired at a very high temperature, with the cooling process creating the beautiful crackling of the glossy glaze. This traditional artistic effect is food safe, though it may discolor when exposed to foods that can potentially stain until it is cleaned in an automatic dishwasher. -Porcelain -Coupe shapes -Celadon crackle glaze interiors -Matte black rims read more

Product Features

Product Features

All dinnerware is made for the same purpose: serving food conveniently, hygienically, and attractively. Your options determine how the dinnerware looks and feels. Pure white and delicately thin? Think of an elegant meal by candlelight. Rustic and weighty? Gather the family around for casual, hearty fare. Funky shapes and playful designs? Just right for a fashion-forward lunch with friends. To suit all of these situations and more, most households own more than one set of dinnerware.

Material

Whether traditional clay-base bone china, porcelain, stoneware, ironstone, or earthenware, or eclectic glass, pewter, or plastic, each material has a great deal to do with how it performs and the impression it conveys. Let your personal preferences and common sense narrow the choices based on who and what you're serving.

Color and Pattern

These variables can seem overwhelming, so it may help to focus on what appeals to you and what will complement your home's decor (now and in the future). In general, it's smart to choose formal dinnerware in a simple design and a neutral such as white or ivory. That's why many fine restaurants use plain white plates: They showcase the food at its visual best. Don't worry -- you can still express your style with the plate's shape, texture, glaze, or rim detail. With casual dinnerware, the range of colors and designs is almost unlimited, so you can be more adventurous. If your budget is limited, however, look for colors and patterns that are more timeless than trendy. Consider moderately priced sets that work as quick-change artists, adapting to create varied tablescapes according to a menu or theme.

Purchase Considerations

Purchase Considerations

The variety of dinnerware selections sold in stores and online can seem daunting. When shopping, think about how you will use your dinnerware for family meals as well as special occasions. Don't forget the practical side: Dinnerware can be an expensive purchase and should meet your long-term needs.

Sets or Open Stock

Depending on the product, you can buy individual place settings; sets of four, eight, or 12 place settings; or individual pieces as open stock. Sets are often more affordable overall, but buying open stock lets you add exactly the pieces you need over time and as your budget allows. For flexibility, choose a pattern that is available both ways.

Versatility

If you decide to purchase only one dinnerware set for both formal and casual use, look for a type and pattern that will suit many occasions. Classic round white plates adapt to traditional and contemporary decorating styles, and you can dress them up or down by varying the flatware, stemware, table linens, and serving pieces.

Quantity

Although you may serve five or six people on most days, remember that you will need additional place settings for the extra guests at holidays, birthdays, and other parties. If you entertain with buffet-style rather than sit-down meals, buy a few extra place settings to cover return trips to the buffet table.

Durabilty and Care

Take note of each manufacturer's care instructions to evaluate whether the dinnerware you're considering fits your lifestyle. Not all dinnerware -- especially fine china -- is dishwasher-safe. Because dishes can chip from contact with each other, and harsh detergents can fade colors or patterns, the maker may recommend hand-washing. Also check whether the dinnerware is oven- and microwave-safe; metallic trim is a real no-no in the microwave. If you're concerned about breakage during daily use, choose high-fired pieces for their durability. See our buying guide on fine china for more details. If you have children, you may opt for coordinating pieces of virtually unbreakable melamine or laminated-glass dinnerware.

Storage

To keep fine dinnerware from chipping or scratching, store it with felt or padded-paper protectors between each piece, or in specialized dish-storage cases. A china cabinet handy to your dining table helps you show off your treasures. Stack casual dinnerware carefully in a kitchen cupboard.

Cost

Be realistic about your budget, but buy the best quality you can afford. If you choose wisely, your dinnerware investment will serve you well for years. Formal dinnerware made from bone china or porcelain carries the highest prices. You can buy fine china one place setting at a time, while casual dinnerware often comes in less-expensive sets, although prices vary widely by brand. Formal or casual, if your favorite pattern has been drastically reduced by retailers, check to see whether it is being discontinued. You may be able to find replacement pieces later, but they will carry a higher price.

Dining on sale

Crate and Barrel
$119.75 $113.95

White Pearl Dinnerware Sets: White Pearl 5-Piece Place Setting - Inspired by the simple elegance of a pearl. Beautiful embossed do...ts on white bone china create a durable dinnerware with a timeless appeal. -Bone china -Superior quality and design -Dishwasher-, microwave-, and warm oven-safe -By Nikko Ceramics -Made in Japan read more

Crate and Barrel
$113.80 $107.95

Jars Celeste Dinnerware Sets: Jars Tourron Black 4-Piece Place Setting - Handcrafted by a famed French ceramics factory founded in... 1857, our casual, elegant dinnerware collection is all about the glaze. Unique finishes coat the clean, modern shapes with satin exteriors and vivid reactive glaze interiors. Offering the strength and durability of high-fired stoneware, each piece exhibits its own distinctive glazing effects. -Stoneware -Dishwasher- and microwave-safe -Made in France read more

Crate and Barrel
$57.75 $54.95

Staccato Dinnerware Sets: Staccato 5-Piece Place Setting - Inspired by the decorative influences of early 1900s Vienna, this simpl...y elegant white porcelain dinnerware features a raised dot pattern around the rim. Excellent quality workmanship makes this porcelain dinnerware a great value. -Designed by Kathleen Wills -Porcelain -Generously sized pieces -Dishwasher-, microwave- and warm oven-safe -Made in Japan read more

Crate and Barrel
$66.80 $62.95

Kita Dinnerware Sets: Kita 4-Piece Place Setting - Pure and simple. Clean Asian shapes have a thin, elegant feel and sophisticated... color palette of subtle celadon and matte black. Porcelain is fired at a very high temperature, with the cooling process creating the beautiful crackling of the glossy glaze. This traditional artistic effect is food safe, though it may discolor when exposed to foods that can potentially stain until it is cleaned in an automatic dishwasher. -Porcelain -Coupe shapes -Celadon crackle glaze interiors -Matte black rims read more

Crate and Barrel
$70.80 $66.95

Ito Dinnerware Sets: Ito 4-Piece Place Setting - Delicate hatch marks accentuate the Ito collection's clean, crisp shapes, in refi...ned patterns that resemble finely woven cloth. Finely contoured pieces of white bone china lend sophistication, and durability, to everyday dining. -Bone china -Dishwasher-, microwave- and oven-safe to 350 degrees -Made in Indonesia read more

Crate and Barrel
$101.80 $96.95

White Pearl Dinnerware Sets: White Pearl 4-Piece Place Setting - Inspired by the simple elegance of a pearl. Beautiful embossed do...ts on white bone china create a durable dinnerware with a timeless appeal. -Bone china -Superior quality and design -Dishwasher-, microwave-, and warm oven-safe -By Nikko Ceramics -Made in Japan read more

Crate and Barrel
$455.20 $409.95

Jars Tourron Green Dinnerware Sets: Jars Tourron Green 16-Piece Dinnerware Set - Handcrafted by a famed French ceramics factory fo...unded in 1857, our casual, elegant dinnerware collection is all about the glaze. Unique finishes coat the clean, modern shapes with satin exteriors and vivid reactive glaze interiors. Offering the strength and durability of high-fired stoneware, each piece exhibits its own distinctive glazing effects. This pattern will be discontinued in January 2017. -High-fired stoneware -Reactive glaze interior finish with white satin exteriors -Dishwasher- read more

Crate and Barrel
$411.00 $379.95

Olivia Dinnerware Sets: Olivia 20-Piece Dinnerware Set - Timeless design by Olivia Barry marries gently "pleated" detail with qual...ity construction in fine bone china. This exclusive dinnerware collection features tapered bowls and mugs and deep-rimmed plates that are perfect for special occasions or everyday dining. -Designed by Olivia Barry -Bone china 40% bone ash -Dishwasher-, microwave- and warming oven-safe -Made in China read more

Crate and Barrel
$455.20 $409.95

Jars Tourron Blue Dinnerware Sets: Jars Tourron Blue 16-Piece Dinnerware Set - Handcrafted by a famed French ceramics factory foun...ded in 1857, our casual, elegant dinnerware collection is all about the glaze. Unique finishes coat the clean, modern shapes with satin exteriors and vivid reactive glaze interiors. Offering the strength and durability of high-fired stoneware, each piece exhibits its own distinctive glazing effects. -High-fired stoneware -Reactive glaze finish -Dishwasher- and microwave-safe -Not oven-safe -Made in France read more

Crate and Barrel
$113.80 $107.95

Jars Tourron Blue Dinnerware Sets: Jars Tourron Blue 4-Piece Place Setting - Handcrafted by a famed French ceramics factory founde...d in 1857, our casual, elegant dinnerware collection is all about the glaze. Unique finishes coat the clean, modern shapes with satin exteriors and vivid reactive glaze interiors. Offering the strength and durability of high-fired stoneware, each piece exhibits its own distinctive glazing effects. -High-fired stoneware -Reactive glaze finish -Dishwasher- and microwave-safe -Not oven-safe -Made in France read more

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