3 Expert Tips To Choose A Dinnerware Set

Whether you frequently entertain or you just want a classy table setting at home, dinnerware sets are a great investment for adding style, function and class to mealtime. But dinnerware sets range from classy to casual. So below we'll cover the pros and cons of different types, which styles work the best in certain situations and what size of set you should get.

What are the Pros and Cons of Different Dinnerware Materials?

You have a few main types of materials to choose from in dinnerware sets:

Bone china

This combines both worlds of looking delicate and being quite strong. It usually comes in styles of white. Some drawbacks are that it could look too dainty and high-end for casual styles and sometimes must be hand washed. It's also quite expensive.

White Round Bone China Place Setting Set
White Round Bone China Dinnerware Set
White Stripe Bone China Place Setting
Floral Bone China Place Setting Set
Gold Bone China Dinnerware Set
White Square Bone China Dinnerware Set

Porcelain

This is a heavier type of dinnerware that is more affordable than bone china. It's very durable. It's also usually rated for microwaves and dishwashers. However, it also has an upper-class style that might not work in casual dining environments. Even the most durable porcelain can also crack or shatter if put down too hard on stone surfaces or dropped.

Marble Motif Round Porcelain Dinnerware Set
Blue Round Porcelain Dinnerware Set
Black Square Porcelain Dinnerware Set
Robin Red Round Porcelain Dinnerware Set
White Abstract Porcelain Dinnerware Set
Gold Round Porcelain Dinnerware Set

Melamine

This resin-type dinnerware is made to be extremely durable. It's resistant to shattering and chipping. It's also known for the wide variety of styles it comes in. It's made to mimic ceramic, but it also might look best in more casual environments, especially if the pattern is very colorful.

Multicolored Round Melamine Dinnerware Set
White Blue Round Melamine Dinnerware Set
Red Round Melamine Dinnerware Set
Slate Gray Melamine Bistro Dinnerware Set
Green Round Melamine Dinnerware Set
White Round Melamine Dinnerware Set

Stoneware

This has more of a casual look to it and is more chip-resistant. It comes in a wide variety of styles, as well. However, you do have to be careful while washing and heating food on it. It often needs to be hand washed. It can also heat up in the microwave.

Turquoise Round Stoneware Dinnerware Set
White Round Stoneware Dinnerware Set
Blue Round Stoneware Dinnerware Set
Gray Round Stoneware Dinnerware Set
Black Round Stoneware Dinnerware Set
Charcoal Round Stoneware Dinnerware Set

Earthenware

This is the most affordable on the list. It's often glazed for added waterproofing, which makes for some fun and unique styles. It's less strong than the other options and is best for casual dining environments.

Gray Round Earthenware Dinnerware Set
White Square Earthenware Dinnerware Set
Blue Round Earthenware Dinnerware Set
Blue White Round Earthenware Dinnerware Set
Brown Round Earthenware Dinnerware Set
Cream Round Earthenware Dinnerware Set

Which Styles Work Best for Certain Homes and Entertainment Options?

Dinnerware is often an artistic purchase that comes in a wide variety of styles. Below are some of the top types and in which situations they work best. 

White

The most common style you'll see dinnerware come in is a basic white. These are often sold as part of home essential collections. Choose a white style if you're going for an upscale, classy look or party. These are often fine china or mimic the look. They also work well in sleek, modern table settings because of how bright and basic they are. White dinnerware with no ornamentation and basic shapes can also work in casual dining.

White Square Stoneware Dinnerware Set
White Round Porcelain China Dinnerware Set
White Round No Rim Detail Porcelain Dinnerware Set
White Round Earthenware Dinnerware Set
White Round Porcelain Place Setting
White Round Dolomite Dinnerware Set

Black and white

If you have a more modern home that makes use of high contrast, a stark black and white dinnerware set can fit in with the overall style.

Neutrals

This covers dinnerware sets that come in understated tans, grays and the like. These work in casual dining situations because of how understated they look.

Pastel solid

Choose a solid pastel shade if your table setting makes use of light and bright coloring. Examples could be artistic styles that use high color, seasonal spring table settings or styles with a pastel accent color.

Colorful geometric pattern

This covers anything that has a colorful pattern on it. Some get quite intricate to the point of looking like a mandala or have a cultural look to them. Choose these for artsy styles or a home style that makes use of cultural items for a traveled look.

Theme picture

Some will have pictures on them, like woodland animals. Themes should fit your home's style, for example, woodland creatures would look nice in a rustic/cabin style. You might also select a holiday theme for parties.

Old-world cultural styles

Some dinnerware is made to mimic styles that were popular in years gone by in certain countries to give the look like the dinnerware is a family heirloom. For instance, it might have designs that make it look like old-world Italian china. Choose these sets for cultural styles or classic styles.

Bright solid color

Dinnerware of this style will either come in one bright color or with each piece in a different color for a primary color rainbow look. These look good in artsy homes or styles that work with accent color.

Dark solid color

These are a more understated and classy way to get some color into your home. These versatile dinnerware sets look good in timeless styles, regal styles or classic looks.

Glaze patterns

This type of dinnerware set has colors that bleed together in a ceramic glazing effect. These are great for casual table settings.

Yellow Round Earthenware Dinnerware Set
White Black Round Stoneware Dinnerware Set
Wintry Motif Round Earthenware Dinnerware Set
Multicolored Round Stoneware Dinnerware Set
Black Square Porcelain China Dinnerware Set
Pink Round Earthenware Dinnerware Set

What Size of Dinnerware Set Should I Get?

Another important consideration is the size of the dinnerware set. Sets are often designated by how many pieces come in the set. The smallest size that's the most common is a four-piece set that usually contains a bowl, a mug and two plates of different sizes. Larger sets often have more bowls, plates and cups. You'll also see 12-piece, 16-piece and even 40-piece sets. Other sets may be more customized and contain five pieces, such as a teacup, a saucer and three different sizes of plates.

In general, choose the number of dinnerware pieces you think you'll need for how many people are using it. Many sets spell out how many people you can serve with the set. For instance, a 12-piece or 16-piece set is usually a service for four.

Lily is a modern designer with great appreciation for sleek architecture, a love for art in its many forms, and a passion for sharing her experience with people. If you’re looking for advice on how to modernize your old-fashioned place or make your new restaurant a visual blast, she’s definitely the one to ask.