From plates to platters, there’s never a shortage of fetching pieces to marvel over. And while this can be inspiring, it can also be overwhelming – especially if you want to make every at-home get together magical and memorable.
Whether you’re hosting a casual affair, a festive celebration, or Sunday brunch for your immediate family, the right pieces can dazzle your guests and lift everyone’s spirits.
But before investing in a new dinnerware set, we always recommend arming yourself with a few key insights so you know exactly what to look out for.
Taking note of the material, design, and whether the item is available for individual purchase or as part of a set, will prevent you from selecting pieces that can only be washed by hand. Or clash with your kitchen décor!
Here, Sabavi Home has pulled together the top considerations when choosing dinnerware – because we believe the table accents should be just as delectable as the meal itself.
Consider how the dinnerware set will be used
First things first – take some time to think about how you intend to use your new dinnerware. Are you searching for something you can rely on for all your dining needs?
Dinnerware used daily is prone to cracks, chips and other blemishes, so you’ll also want to ensure that it is made from a sturdy material that can withstand the wear and tear of constant attention. You’ll also want to select a set with a timeless, neutral pattern that you won’t tire of too quickly (we breakdown what to look out for when it comes to material and design below).
If you’re seeking out an occasional set for special gatherings or celebratory events, you can consider more delicate or electric pieces that accentuate your personal aesthetic and flair.
Next, ask yourself if you like the idea of mixing and matching pieces, or if you tend to gravitate towards a more coordinated look. If the latter is calling you, a dinnerware set is the best choice. For the former, open stock will serve you well (we cover the nuances of open stock vs. sets later in this post).
Lastly, think about the food you enjoy cooking. Do you prefer grazing style platters, or individual plates? Either way, once you answer these questions, you’ll be well positioned to select the perfect dinnerware set for your specific needs.
Let’s delve a little deeper.
Before you start picking out colors and patterns, pay attention to the type of material you’d like your new dinnerware set to be crafted from.
Bone china, melamine, stoneware, and earthenware are the most common and each have their own benefits.
Bone china is lightweight and durable, making it suitable for both everyday use and special occasions. What’s more, it’s typically microwave and dishwasher-safe – which means there’ll be less dishes to wash at the end of the night!
We carry an assortment of pieces made from bone china, but a favorite is the Merrick 16-Piece Bone China Set. Simple and sophisticated, this classic set works for a casual lunch with your in-laws, or a formal evening with business associates. And because it’s made of bone china, it’s super durable.
Dinnerware made from melamine is also a top choice as it’s shatterproof and chip-resistant. Perfect for indoor or outdoor dining, melamine pieces can better handle the rigors of regular use, while looking and feeling like fine porcelain.
The Sabavi Home team adores Tarhong’s Sandbar Brights Melamine Salad Plates, which aren’t only functional and affordable, they’ll also stand out on your dining table for all the right reasons.
For something a little more textured, opt for stoneware. Stoneware sets have a beautiful, rustic finish while being contemporary and family-friendly. Stoneware is a type of non-porous ceramic that has been fired between 2150 and 2330 degrees Fahrenheit. Thicker than bone china, stoneware is generally durable and chip-resistant, and also oven, microwave, dishwasher, and freezer-safe. While stoneware is not as strong as bone china, it is less prone to chipping than earthenware.
If you’re interested in dinnerware made from stoneware, you can’t go past the Costa Nova Lagoa Eco Gres 4-Piece Place Setting. Created in Portugal, this textured set will add a warm, artisanal touch to your table trimmings. For something a little more dramatic, we also love the Carmel Ceramica Cypress Grove Dinnerware 12-Piece Set.
Finally, earthenware is another material commonly used for dinnerware sets. Derived from clay, earthenware is fired at a lower temperature and glazed or painted before use. While slightly more porous (read: less durable) than stoneware, its effortless appeal makes it a welcome addition to your collection. It’s often possible to offer more vibrant colors and patterns on earthenware than stoneware or bone china.
All about style
From casual, to elegant, romantic or classic – there are many dinnerware sets on the market today that ensure dining at home and dining in style are one and the same.
To pinpoint the right design for you, give some thought to the types of gatherings you host.
Are they traditional? Relaxed? Creative? If you enjoy entertaining in a multitude of ways (and for an assortment of guests), you may want to invest in more than one set. Think about your closet and the variety of clothing styles that you wear.
Be sure to also take notice of the shapes of the pieces that you select. For additional interest on your table, mix different shapes that complement each other the same way you should mix coordinating solid colors and patterns.
For formal occasions, opt for ornamented pieces, such as the Michael Wainwright Truro collection which is available in gold or platinum. Beautiful and ornate, it’s worth noting that because of its metallic banding, these pieces cannot be used in a microwave and should be washed by hand.
If you prefer dinnerware with a little more personality, reach for the Porland Blue Passion 12-Piece Dinner Set. While providing a fun twist on classic white, this contemporary yet romantic set will still coordinate seamlessly with your existing tableware.
Of course, crisp, white dinnerware like the Staub Ceramic Dinnerware Dinner Plate, Set of 4 is timeless and versatile. You can also dress it up or down with accessories such as placemats, chargers, and table runners. These White Alabaster Chargers With Gold Rim, Set Of 4 are a favorite amongst the Sabavi Home team.
If white feels too expected, mix things up with a set in artichoke, pale pink or even ocean blue. Or use white as the base plate and accent it with other solid or patterned plates. If you favor patterned dinnerware, a style featuring one or two hues will be easier to pair with your existing pieces.
Open stock or dinnerware sets?
While a matching set might seem like the obvious choice, there are no rules when it comes to dinnerware. If you prefer to mix and match styles – or you only need to add a few pieces to your collection – browsing “open stock” might be a smarter move. Again, think about your closet and how you mix, match and accessorize. Take the same approach to setting and dressing your table.
Open stock is dinnerware sold by the piece. Although it can be a little more costly, it also doesn’t confine you to a single look. This affords you more flexibility when it comes to entertaining – particularly if you’re hosting a low key lunch with close friends and family and want to have fun with your table setting.
Just be mindful of what you’re specifically searching for – you don’t want to bring home several soup bowls and no drinking glasses! If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to open stock, we suggest beginning with a dinner plate. The main course is the star attraction of most dinner parties, and you should hero it accordingly.
A dinnerware set on the other hand includes multiple pieces - usually dinner plates, salad plates, soup bowls and teacups and saucers or mugs. Sets usually offer a value compared to purchasing all of the pieces as open stock.
The Carmel Ceramica Stillwater Verde Dinnerware 12 Piece Set and the Casafina Pacifica 16-Piece Set are two elegant choices that work for both informal and formal gatherings.
You can also supplement your dinnerware sets with coordinated serving pieces like platters, trays, and pitchers. There are many pieces to choose from, but we can’t go past the Cypress Grove Oval Platter by Carmel Ceramica which begs to be smothered with cured deli meats and olives, or the Carmel Ceramica Point Lobos Large Pitcher which holds up to 8 cups of your favorite beverage and will look simply stunning on your dining table. Here’s an idea: when not serving beverages, use it as a vase.
Set your table your way
If you’ve ever gone on a search for new dinnerware and been completely overwhelmed by all the options out there, we hope this guide has helped. After all, dinnerware is so much more than just plates or bowls – it’s the focal point of your dining table!
Material and design are key considerations, but it’s also important to select a set, or an assortment of pieces, that reflect you, your home and how you like to entertain.
If you’re ready to add to your collection, you can browse complete dinnerware sets and one of a kind pieces on the Sabavi Home website now.