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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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Pickard
$280.00
at Amazon

"Winter Festival" from Pickard is a classic Holiday dinnerware pattern from America's finest china maker for over a century. Produ...ced entirely in Antioch, Illinois, this festive warm white fine china pattern adds December holiday sparkle to any table. The design features a swirling two-sided red ribbon running around the border of the Transition soft-rim plates and serving pieces. The ribbon is interspersed with green holly sprigs and 24k gold accents, and the border decoration of each piece is a solid red band edged inside and out with gold. Pickard China is a fourth generation American company, founded in 1893, who has supplied formal china to United States Embassies around the world, has provided custom china to Air Force One and Camp David, as well as twelve state mansions, and to many thousands of brides and grooms over the decades since its founding. Each piece of Pickard China passes through a minimum of twenty-one stages and three 100-Percent inspections, assuring you of absolutely best-quality American craftsmanship. Each piece is dishwasher safe in normal home use, but not for use in the microwave oven, due to the 24k gold decoration. read more

Pickard
$204.93
at Amazon

"Holly" from Pickard is a nostalgic Holiday dinnerware pattern from America's finest china maker for over a century. Produced enti...rely in Antioch, Illinois, this festive warm white fine china pattern adds holiday sparkle to any table. The design features a simple holly leaf-and-berry sprig on the rim of each piece, with a simple 24k gold band around the edge. The uncrowded design allows the beautiful glaze finish of each piece to shine. Pickard China is a fourth generation American company, founded in 1893, who has supplied formal china to United States Embassies around the world, has provided custom china to Air Force One and Camp David, as well as twelve state mansions, and to many thousands of brides and grooms over the decades since its founding. Each piece of Pickard China passes through a minimum of twenty-one stages and three 100-Percent inspections, assuring you of absolutely best-quality American craftsmanship. Each piece is dishwasher safe in normal home use, but not for use in the microwave oven, due to the 24k gold decoration. read more

Pickard
$100.00
at Amazon

"Holly" from Pickard is a nostalgic Holiday dinnerware pattern from America's finest china maker for over a century. Produced enti...rely in Antioch, Illinois, this festive warm white fine china pattern adds holiday sparkle to any table. The design features a simple holly leaf-and-berry sprig on the rim of each piece, with a simple 24k gold band around the edge. The uncrowded design allows the beautiful glaze finish of each piece to shine. Pickard China is a fourth generation American company, founded in 1893, who has supplied formal china to United States Embassies around the world, has provided custom china to Air Force One and Camp David, as well as twelve state mansions, and to many thousands of brides and grooms over the decades since its founding. Each piece of Pickard China passes through a minimum of twenty-one stages and three 100-Percent inspections, assuring you of absolutely best-quality American craftsmanship. Each piece is dishwasher safe in normal home use, but not for use in the microwave oven, due to the 24k gold decoration. read more

Pickard
$192.83
at Amazon

"Bracelet Ivory with Eagle Crest" from Pickard is a uniquely American dinnerware pattern from America's finest china maker for ove...r a century. Produced entirely in Antioch, Illinois, this elegantly formal fine china pattern appeals to highly discerning and patriotic consumer who values timeless upscale design and the highest quality in their china service. The design features a narrow rim style of an ivory colored formal china plate, with each piece rimmed with a distinctive gold band, and a pinstripe line as accent. This dramatic formal pattern is then finished with the addition of the official Eagle Crest of the United States of America in 24k gold, complete with shield, arrows and olive branch in its talons. The backstamp proudly shows the Pickard name, the American flag, and the words "Proudly Made in America". Every piece is amazingly dishwasher safe in normal home use, but not for use in the microwave oven, due to the 24k gold decoration. 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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World Market

Whether for entertaining or everyday use on dining room sideboard, sets of white porcelain plates with black metal racks are terri...fic values. Available in two sizes, sold separately. read more

World Market

The classic style, bright white glossy finish and elegant simplicity of our Coupe Dinner Plates makes them instant go-to pieces fo...r everyday meals and entertaining. Whether you pair them with colorful patterns or solid neutrals, you'll always set an inviting table with these new dining essentials. read more

World Market

The clean lines of our crisp White Coupe Square Salad Plates with flared rims pair perfectly with colorful table linens and other ...solid-color or patterned dinnerware. They're crafted in Thailand of porcelain and make instant go-to pieces for everyday meals and entertaining. read more

Frontgate

Handcrafted in northern Portugal by skilled artisans in an environmentally friendly facility. Variations in color are to be expect...ed, due to handmade nature. Also coordinates with our Sardinha collection. Microwave safe. Casual dinners conjure seaside daydreams with our Casafina La Playa collection of fine Portuguese stoneware. In our La Playa Dinner Plate, the forms of a starfish and two seashells are delicately told in relief over a smooth, hand-painted surface. Each handmade piece is beautifully crafted to go from the oven to the table, freezer or microwave.. . . . 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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Crate & Barrel
$44.95 $47.60
at Crate & Barrel

Clean squares of white porcelain feature broad flared rims for all-purpose serving. Chip-resistant plates go from microwave or ove...n to table and dishwasher. -Porcelain -Dishwasher-, microwave- and oven-safe -Made in China read more

Crate & Barrel
$36.95 $39.60
at Crate & Barrel

Clean squares of white porcelain feature broad flared rims for all-purpose serving. Chip-resistant plates go from microwave or ove...n to table and dishwasher. -Porcelain -Dishwasher-, microwave- and oven-safe -Made in China read more

Crate & Barrel
$36.95 $39.60
at Crate & Barrel

Fresh pressed glass layers clean and crisp, clearly suited for homemade meals and fine cuisine. Each piece is molded with the subt...le texture of finely woven cloth. -Glass -Dishwasher-safe -Not intended for use in microwave or oven -Made in Turkey read more

Crate & Barrel
$46.95 $51.80
at Crate & Barrel

Conceived with the thought of friends and family coming together and enjoying good food, wine and conversation, our exclusive Welc...ome collection, designed by Aaron Probyn, is informed by an encompassing, multicultural mindset. The dinnerware showcases artisanal stoneware shapes glazed in white. These pieces join our extended Welcome family of stoneware, wood, glass and metal serving pieces, glassware and flatware in a tableau of beautifully contrasting color accented with warm metallics, colored glass and oxidized metals. -Designed by Aaron Probyn -Stoneware -Dishwasher-, microwave- and oven-safe to 300 degrees -Made in Thailand 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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Crate & Barrel
$36.95 $39.60
at Crate & Barrel

Fresh pressed glass layers clean and crisp, clearly suited for homemade meals and fine cuisine. Each piece is molded with the subt...le texture of finely woven cloth. -Glass -Dishwasher-safe -Not intended for use in microwave or oven -Made in Turkey read more

Crate & Barrel
$37.95 $39.75
at Crate & Barrel

Your table will be dressed for success in this tailored cousin to our popular all-white Roulette dinnerware designed by Martin Hun...t of Queensberry Hunt. Here, Roulette's contemporary shapes in porcelain are accented with crisp navy bands and rims. Mix and match with our original white Roulette dinnerware. -Designed by Martin Hunt of Queensberry Hunt -Porcelain -Dishwasher-, microwave- and warm oven-safe -Made in Portugal read more

Crate & Barrel
$35.95 $39.80
at Crate & Barrel

Conceived with the thought of friends and family coming together and enjoying good food, wine and conversation, our exclusive Welc...ome collection, designed by Aaron Probyn, is informed by an encompassing, multicultural mindset. The dinnerware showcases artisanal stoneware shapes glazed in white. These pieces join our extended Welcome family of stoneware, wood, glass and metal serving pieces, glassware and flatware in a tableau of beautifully contrasting color accented with warm metallics, colored glass and oxidized metals. -Designed by Aaron Probyn -Stoneware -Dishwasher-, microwave- and oven-safe to 300 degrees -Made in Thailand read more

Crate & Barrel
$35.95 $39.80
at Crate & Barrel

Solid stoneware glazed milky white, banded and textured with a wax-resist technique that exposes unglazed colors of natural clay, ...stone grey, brown and terracotta. Designer Jono Pandolfi, whose table settings grace the tables of leading New York restaurants, returns to his roots as a potter to create the artisan-inspired iconic shapes of a mix-and match-dinnerware array that upgrades the look of casual. -Designed by Jono Pandolfi -Stoneware -Dishwasher-, microwave- and oven-safe to 350 degrees -Made in China 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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Frontgate

Made of lead-free bone china. Contains precious metal. Dishwasher safe. An intricate geometric layering, Hawthorne Ice Dinnerware ...depicts bands of pattern in brilliant platinum which mimic fine jewelry while hinting at a mysterious and exotic provenance. Hand decorated with 23-karat gold, this luxurious collection is perfect for formal entertaining. . . . Made in the USA. read more

Frontgate

Crafted of 100% porcelain. Sold as a Set of 4. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Imported. Like dining in the epicurean center of Mar...seille. A kaleidoscope of geometrics creates fluid lines in the Quartier Dinnerware Collection. . . . . read more

Frontgate

Made of fine porcelain. Finished with three metals: copper for femininity, silver for protection and gold for prosperity. Crafted ...in an 18th century factory in Limoges, France. Dishwasher safe; hand washing recommended. Dinnerware as inspiration. Splashes of copper, silver and gold represent renewal of mind, body and spirit. . . . . Made in France. read more

Pom Pom at Home

Pom Pom at Home's bedding and accessories lend lived-in elegance to everyday experiences. The Heritage plates deliver sophisticate...d style to a transitional dining room or kitchen table. Featuring subtle ridges and a sophisticated lined trim border, this white ceramic dish set serves meals with effortless refinement. Dishwasher safe. Available in salade plates, dinner plates and charger plates. Salad plate: 9 Diameter Dinner plate: 11 Diameter Charger: 13 Diameter 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 & Barrel
$37.95 $39.75
at Crate & Barrel

Your table will be dressed for success in this tailored cousin to our popular all-white Roulette dinnerware designed by Martin Hun...t of Queensberry Hunt. Here, Roulette's contemporary shapes in porcelain are accented with crisp navy bands and rims. Mix and match with our original white Roulette dinnerware. -Designed by Martin Hunt of Queensberry Hunt -Porcelain -Dishwasher-, microwave- and warm oven-safe -Made in Portugal read more

Crate & Barrel
$61.95 $64.80
at Crate & Barrel

The traditional quality and translucence of fine white bone china are reinterpreted for the modern table by designer Martin Hunt a...s a pristine collection of contemporary square shapes that dress up or down. Versatile and design-savvy collection has all the basics plus a full range of serving pieces for special occasions. Bennett dinnerware is also available in Round. -Designed by Martin Hunt -Bone china -Dishwasher-, microwave- and oven-safe to 350 degrees -Made in Bangladesh read more

Crate & Barrel
$96.95 $101.80
at Crate & Barrel

Inspired by the simple elegance of a pearl. Beautiful embossed dots on white bone china create a durable dinnerware with a timeles...s appeal. -Bone china -Superior quality and design -Dishwasher-, microwave-, warm oven- and freezer-safe -By Nikko Ceramics -Made in Japan read more

Crate & Barrel
$76.95 $81.75
at Crate & Barrel

The traditional quality and translucence of fine white bone china are reinterpreted for the modern table by designer Martin Hunt a...s a pristine collection of contemporary square shapes that dress up or down. Versatile and design-savvy collection has all the basics plus a full range of serving pieces for special occasions. Bennett dinnerware is also available in Round. -Designed by Martin Hunt -Bone china -Dishwasher-, microwave- and oven-safe to 350 degrees -Made in Bangladesh 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

Wine Enthusiast
$59.99 $99.90
at Wine Enthusiast

Decanters - Entertain in style with the Fusion Derby Whiskey Decanter and Glasses Set. Our exclusive collection of sleek elegant b...reak-resistant bar-ware the beauty created by fusing lightweight magnesium with brilliant lead-free glass. Dishwasher safe never clouds or dulls. Comes with the Fusion 10-year replacement warranty. Fusion Whiskey Glasses (Set of 4) Dimensions: 3-3/4' H. Capacity 8-1/4oz Derby Whiskey Decanter 13 1/8'H ( 10 3/4'without stopper) 4 5/8'Diameter Base Capacity: 40 fl oz. Stopper Dimensions: 3 1/2'H X 1/2' Dia. . Great gift for wine lovers. read more

Fusion Derby Whiskey Decanter & Glasses Set
Old Dutch International
$86.39 $107.99
at Sears

OI1339: Features: -Beating bowl.-Set of bowls makes great gift for any chef.-Protective coating applied at the factory to prevent ...tarnishing.-Wash with warm soapy water and hand dry clean.-Comes in three capacities: 2, 4.5 and 5 quart.-2-qt.: 4.25 H x 8.25 W x 8.25 D.-4.25-qt.: 5.25 H x 10.5 W x 10.5 D.-5-qt.: 5 H x 12 W x 12 D. Construction: -Construction: Solid copper. Dimensions: -Product weight: 4 lbs. Collection: -Copper collection. read more

Solid Copper 3-piece Beating Bowl Set
Bubba Brands
$3.98 $4.99
at shop bubba

The bubba 34oz mug replacement lid fits and replaces your 34 ounce bubba classic mug lid. This easy drinking lid contains a lockin...g flapper to ensure liquids from spilling and keeping drinks hotter/cooler longer. The 34 ounce classic mug replacement lid is a push down/pull up lid with a plastic seal to ensure it holds in place, making it easy to put on, take off and easy to clean. (Note: Does NOT fit the bubba 34oz Travel Mug) read more

bubba 34 oz mug replacement lid
Bubba Brands
$6.98 $11.99
at shop bubba

The 20 oz bubba mug is designed for personal use, and is perfect for use at home, at work or having fun. Holding two and a half 8 ...oz cups, its the perfect size to get you going in the morning, or for a quick trip to the beach, pool or park. The traditional barrel shape provides a wide base so it won't topple easily on your desk, counter or at the pool/beach. read more

bubba 20 oz mug classic yellow
Oriental Furniture
$89.00 $127.99
at Cymax

NOTE: This bowl was photographed with the stand for display purposes only; all stands sold separately. To purchase a fitted base a...s shown, please select the 6.5 size of our Rosewood Pedestal Stand , our Rosewood Carved Stand , or our Rosewood Vase Stand . Large size table top fruit bowl with a lovely Ming dynasty style courtesan design. Crafted from top quality, high temperature Chinese vitreous porcelain ceramic. Whimsical decorative accessory and a uniquely attractive home décor gift idea. Large size decorative fruit bowl read more

14 Inch Ladies Blue and White Porcelain Bowl, Width - 14 Inches
Oriental Furniture
$89.00 $127.99
at Cymax

NOTE: This bowl was photographed with the stand for display purposes only; all stands sold separately. To purchase a fitted base a...s shown, please select the 6.5 size of our Rosewood Pedestal Stand , our Rosewood Carved Stand , or our Rosewood Vase Stand . A large bowl crafted from top quality, durable, Chinese porcelain. The authentic style Ming era flower and vine design is finished with an antiqued ice crackle glaze. Display on a formal dining table, buffet, or server, filled with faux fruit or potpourri, or empty to allow the design to show. Decorated with a classic Chinese export porcelain pattern. Distinctive displayed alone or in pairs. Matching vases, jars, and decorative plates also available, all imported. Part of one of the web's largest selections of Asian porcelains. read more

14 Inch Porcelain Bowl Blue and White Floral, Width - 14 Inches
Reed & Barton
$60.00 $90.00
at Ross-Simons

These cut crystal DOF glass sets from Reed & Barton Crystal portray traditional style that look good in your bar and feel great in... your hand. These traditional cut crystal glasses are from Reed & Barton Soho Suite showcasing the quality Reed & Barton is known for. Reed & Barton DOF glass is 12oz Combine with our Reed & Barton Soho whiskey decanter for a matched set. These glasses are not engravable.This item comes in a gift box Attention California Residents read more

and Barton Soho DOF Glasses - Set of 4 Multicolor - 2989-4282 EF310-1
Wedgwood
$99.95 $250.00
at Ross-Simons

Devon Cottage is reinterpreted for today from a classic design in the Johnson Bros archives. Celebrates chic country living with a... stylish pattern that works comfortably everyday or for special occasions. 20-pc. Service for 4 features four each of: 10 1/2 dinner plates, 7 3/4 salad plates, 5 1/2 cereal bowls, 8 oz tea cups, 6 5/8saucers. Plus as a bonus to you, this set includes four 8 3/4 accent plates, one each of red, yellow, green, and blue. Dishwasher, microwave and freezer safe. read more

20-pc. + 4 Bonus Plates Wedgwood "Devon Cottage" Dinnerware by Johnson Bros.
Home Decorators Collection

Enjoy a warm soup or chili on a cold winter's night with our Revival Au Lait Bowls. These ceramic bowls will feed the whole family... and are whimsically elegant enough for a cottage-style dinner party. Each cafe au lait bowl features a line of alphabet letters along its rim, but the font style varies from bowl to bowl. Set of four different designs. Hand-applied design under glaze. Microwave and dishwasher safe. Actual size is ASSORTED SET OF read more

Revival Au Lait Bowls - Set Of 4 - Assorted Set Of, Faded Black

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