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Types of Dinnerware

It helps to have plenty of dinnerware in your kitchen cabinets to cater to every occasion. You’ll need durable sets to cater to everyday use by family members and prettier, more delicate sets for entertaining. Always have a few spare pieces to allow for unexpected guests turning up at your home or, of course, the inevitable accidental breakages. At Pottery Barn, we have numerous dinnerware pieces for you to choose from depending on your preferred material, colors and design.

For everyday use, melamine is the perfect choice. It’s durable and able to withstand continued use, being very hard to break. Even if you drop a melamine plate, it won’t shatter. It’s also incredibly resistant to scratches, so it holds up well against scratch marks caused by utensils. When you’ve finished your meal, just pop it in the dishwasher for hassle-free cleaning.

Bone china is also a popular choice, as it’s resilient and long-lasting. It’s suitable for use in the dishwasher too and you can also use it in the microwave. Bone china’s white hue makes it ideal for use in both casual and more formal settings. When entertaining, simply dress the table up with a colored tablecloth and napkins. A patterned charger underneath each dinner plate provides a decorative border for the white dinnerware.

Stoneware dinnerware has more natural, warmer coloring than the bright colors found in other dinnerware materials. It also has its own texture depending on the mix, making for interesting pieces with a distinct appearance. Stoneware is able to resist thermal shock so you can take a plate straight from your refrigerator and put it in the oven or vice versa. The natural aesthetic appeal and practical benefits make stoneware dinnerware a great choice for dinner parties.

And don’t forget about al fresco dining in warmer months. For this, you’re best off using acrylic dinnerware. Acrylic is shatterproof, so even if your kids are running around, you don’t need to worry about breakages on your patio. The brightly colored dinnerware is a fun and fresh addition to your outdoor dining table on a warm day or evening. Go for an eclectic mix of different colors and styles or choose a set that complements your table setting or decorative pillows on the patio chairs.

Typically, a dinnerware set includes dinner plates, salad plates, side plates and bowls, with enough pieces to fill numerous place settings. Cups and saucers are usually included too, and some sets have additional items, such as a serving platter. Mix and match individual pieces of differing colors or shapes, or get a complete dinnerware set so you have everything you need for a mealtime.

As for the design, choose the shape and colors to suit your preferences and match your table setting. Traditional round dishes go well with any setup while square edges are more modern in style. The latter looks particularly good when entertaining, especially when smaller sized dishes are placed inside larger ones at a different angle.

As mentioned, white dinnerware suits any occasion from casual meals eaten every day to hosting dinner parties, when extra touches are added to smarten up the look of the table. Black dinnerware looks sophisticated. Bright colors are bold and fun, adding a cheerful element to any table setting. For holidays, choose theme colors to match the event, such as red and green for Christmas, orange and black for Halloween, and blue, pink and yellow for Easter.

You don’t need to settle for solid colors though, as patterned dishes are very striking. For the holidays, there are fun dinnerware designs that include, for instance, reindeer on the rims for Christmas and bunnies for Easter. For a spring meal, scalloped edges in gentle colors look fresh while rims patterned in warm hues are comforting at autumn mealtimes. Geometric patterns are edgy and add contrast to neutral color tones for the table setting. For natural patterns, dinnerware with reactive glaze has subtle differences in each piece with variegated coloring for a distinctive look.