Setting the table is an art, the table being the canvas, and the dishes, cutlery, glasses, and cups being the painting. To set the table properly you need to get first all the necessary equipment, especially, the dinnerware.
However, it is not a simple task to buy the right dinnerware set, at least, not if you do not where to start. As always as when we buy something for our house, we need to understand some considerations first. In that way, in the end, we will know exactly what we are looking for.
Continue reading and find out all the things that you need to know to get the best dinnerware sets to use and décor your dining table:
Best Dinnerware Sets
Types of Dinnerware
If you want to buy a new dinnerware, either because you want to replace the old one, or you are moving to a new home and need new dishes and cups, it is important to know how it is sold. Then you can choose according to your wants and needs.
The dinnerware is sold mainly in three ways: by place setting, open stock, or sets.
By place, setting means that you buy the number of items just for one person. That will probably include a dinner plate, salad plate, teacup (or mug), and a saucer; maybe it can also include a soup bowl.
This option is good if you live alone and do not need a complete set, or if you want to expand your current dinnerware.
When we say open stock, we mean that the pieces are sold individually. This is very useful if you like to build your dinnerware from scratch, choosing the colors and designs of each item so you can combine the pieces.
Just bear in mind that it will be probably more expensive than buying a complete set. When the pieces are sold individually, you can easily replace those that broke at some point, without having to buy a full set.
Finally, the dinnerware sets. They are multiple place settings, which is ideal for a family or for events that include several guests. To have from eight to twelve pieces of each element that people need on the table, will be more than enough. The most common sets include twenty pieces, for four people.
Other sets are bigger, and also include bread and butter plates, cereal bowls, mugs, and teacups, and even let you choose according to your needs.
In the end, what matters is to get the amount and type of pieces that you will need. However, you also have the option of storing the pieces that you are not currently using.
What do I need to know to buy the best dinnerware set?
The correct choice of material for our dinnerware will be influenced by our style and way of living. Some materials provide bright colors that look elegant on any dining table, others a more rustic and handmade look, excellent for casual meals, and outdoor events.
You can choose from six main materials. Let’s detail them:
This is a noble and highly resistant material. It usually looks like an off-white color, which provides a luxurious, delicate, and expensive look to the dining table. It is porcelain mixed with bone ash, which provides a translucent appearance to the dinnerware.
The process of cooking the clay dates back thousands of years. It is a more affordable material that provides a handmade look. It is not very resistant, so we do not recommend it for daily use. However, it can work very well to taste a special meal outdoors.
Porcelain is a very resistant and long-lasting material, with insulating properties due to its manufacturing process. The minerals with which it is made are heated to very high temperatures. Traditionally we find it in white, due to the vitrification process.
However, porcelain can be painted to create beautiful and unique designs. Besides, porcelain dinnerware can have metallic details. In this case, you must avoid using it in the microwave.
This material provides a rustic aesthetic to the table. It is thicker and heavier than other materials, but this does not make it more resistant and it does not withstand high temperatures.
In turn, the dinnerware usually has hand-painted designs, which makes it very attractive, but in that case, it will not be suitable for the dishwasher.
It will not be more beautiful than porcelain, but this material is probably the most durable of all. It is a plastic resin, which is shatterproof. If you want something that will never break, choose melamine.
For that reason, it is good for kids (we know they like to make a mess when eating!), but it is not microwave-safe. You can find thousands of different designs of melamine dinnerware, which will successfully suit your needs and style.
What is the most durable material?
When we make a new purchase, especially of something that we will use regularly, we want to make sure that it will durable. Factors such as the temperature and speed of the firing process can influence the quality and durability of the ceramics.
However, from the ceramic materials mentioned above, the most durable and resistant are bone china and porcelain. Dinnerware sets of those materials are perfect to use every day.
On the other hand, earthenware and stoneware are more likely to break, so if you like these materials and the designs, we recommend you to use the dinnerware only for special occasions and not every day.
Another important aspect to consider to choose the best dinnerware set is the size of the pieces. When buying in the store, it is easier to get a better perception of how it would look in the kitchen, since we can visualize the size and also hold the pieces to measure the weight.
However, online purchases are becoming more frequent, and the advantageous thing is that it allows you to browse a wide range of products easily, before ordering. Besides, you will be able to find all the features of each item online (size, weight, color).
Whichever type of purchase you prefer, to make it a successful purchase there are some things to keep in mind.
First, be sure to pre-measure the cabinets in your kitchen where you will be storing your dishes, so that they fit perfectly. If you have a microwave, it is also worth measuring before you buy.
Second, the size of the plates you choose should match the flatware, so if you already have a set of cutlery, keep in mind that they combine in size and style.
Improving your eating habits is another aspect that can help you decide the perfect size of plates. Eating from smaller plates is said to help reduce the amounts of food we eat each day, so very large plates may not be what you need to keep fit.
Let’s not forget that the size and shape of the cups also matters. These pieces should be comfortable to hold, and depending on whether you prefer teacups or mugs, there are sets on the market that allow you to choose according to your needs.
Design & Style
As we mentioned before, the design and style will depend directly on the material that you choose. However, overall there are four style categories, which we are sure that at least one will match with your home decoration and style. Let's detail them:
Hand-Painted Dinnerware Sets
These are usually beautiful designs, which have a lot of value because they were handmade, however, you probably will need to be careful when washing the pieces, to avoid tearing the paint.
Patterned Dinnerware Sets
The sky is the limit when talking about patterns, and unlike the hand painted sets, the painting is more durable. With these two options, you need to be careful. Remember that the food looks better on a clean plate, so avoid very saturated designs.
Banded Dinnerware Sets
These can be colored dishes with just a thin band on the border. It is usually gold or platinum, which makes the plates look more formal and elegant.
Finally, the solid dinnerware sets. In this section, you can find an infinity of colors and shades, however, we recommend you choose white or ivory. These colors will be the perfect canvas to make your food stand out.
Take into account that colors show personality and white color shows elegance. You can choose a white dinnerware set, and then use placemats, napkins, and utensils that stand out on the dining table.
Try to choose a design that lasts over time and does not go out of style rapidly. In the end, what matters is your style, so the best dinnerware set for you is the one that combines with your kitchen, and that you can use every time you need it.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best material for a dinnerware set?
China bone and porcelain are the best materials.
What does a basic dinnerware set contain?
It contains a dinner plate, salad plate, teacup (or mug), and a saucer.
Whether you live alone or have a big family, a dinnerware set is something that you need to have in your kitchen. You will be using plates and cups in every meal, so make sure that you take into account all the considerations that we mention to find the best dinnerware set.
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