How to Choose Your Dinnerware: Materials, Type, and Tips
Choosing the right dinnerware is an opportunity for you to show off your tablescaping skills while also elevating the dining experience of your family, friends, and guests.
Finding the right dinnerware set requires you to know the basics—this includes the type of material and different pieces you’ll need depending on the meals you frequently have and serve. With help from Crate and Barrel, there is a wide variety to choose from based on your style and requirements.
Types of Dinnerware by Material
You’ll have to consider what kind of material you need for your dinnerware. Most plates and bowls are made of ceramic materials such as porcelain, stoneware, and earthenware. There are also melamine options for outdoor entertaining or families with kids. Each option for dinnerware material has its advantages that you should keep in mind.
The epitome of refined ceramic dinnerware, porcelain exudes an air of timeless sophistication. Crafted from fine clay fired at extremely high temperatures, it boasts a delicate, luminous, translucent quality and smooth, non-porous surface. Its exceptional resistance to chipping and staining elevates it as a premium choice for elegant dining occasions.
From grand celebrations to intimate gatherings, porcelain's graceful allure and exceptional craftsmanship lend an air of luxury to any table, setting the stage for memorable culinary experiences. Porcelain dinnerware pieces are typically dishwasher, microwave, and oven-safe, offering convenience and practicality.
Plates and bowls made of stoneware showcase a harmonious blend of elegance and resilience. As another ceramic dinnerware option, stoneware dinner sets are crafted from dense clay fired at high temperatures and boast remarkable durability ideal for daily use.
Stoneware plates feature a distinct glaze finish and smooth surface that provides a canvas for intricate designs and rich colors, adding a touch of sophistication and fun to any table setting. Beyond its aesthetic appeal, this material’s ability to retain heat ensures that meals stay warmer for longer, enhancing the dining experience. It is also a practical choice for discerning hosts and home enthusiasts alike to use for casual gatherings or even formal occasions.
A type of ceramic dinnerware, earthenware embodies a rustic and inviting charm. Crafted from clay fired at lower temperatures, earthenware plates feature a warm and porous texture that creates a connection to traditional craftsmanship. This material has earthy tones and an imperfect, artisanal aesthetic, making it a popular choice for all kinds of cozy gatherings at the table.
Earthenware's unique character makes it a cherished addition to tablescapes seeking a relaxed and welcoming ambiance. Earthenware collections are dishwasher-safe but not all are safe for microwave use so it’s best to always check the features..
Among the types of dinnerware materials, melamine offers a modern and practical solution for both indoor and outdoor dining. This material is known to be shatterproof and highly resistant to breaking or chipping, perfect to use for everyday dining, picnics, barbecues, and family gatherings—especially when kids are present.
With different colors and designs available, melamine effortlessly caters to various aesthetics. Most melamine plate sets are dishwasher-safe, providing convenience for cleaning and maintenance.
Dinnerware Your Table Needs
Dinnerware comes in various shapes, and sizes, and is used in a variety of ways on the dinner table. If you’re all about style and presentation, here are the different kinds of dinnerware and their uses:
Standard Dinner Plate
Dinner plates are fundamental pieces to your table setting. These standard plates are designed especially for serving main courses. An average dinner plate typically measures around 10 to 12 inches in diameter and can be round or square-shaped. In a formal tablescape, it's commonly positioned just above the charger plate and is used throughout the entire meal.
Specifically used to serve salads, a salad plate is typically round and is available in two sizes—the 22cm and 20cm in diameter salad plates. Since it is larger than the bread and butter plate, it allows clarity when serving various dishes, including traditional meals and salads.
One of the most diverse dinnerware is the dessert plate. Commonly used to serve snacks and desserts at parties and other social gatherings, this plate is slightly bigger than appetizer plates with an approximate diameter of 18cm. Craftsmen also often refer to them as luncheon plates.
An appetizer plate is commonly used for serving starter meals like hors d’oeuvres, tapas, cheeses, or fruits. It typically measures 17cm in diameter and comes in a variety of shapes. They closely resemble bread and butter plates but are smaller than dinner plates.
A standard bowl is a round, open container with a flat bottom and sides that slope inward toward the top. It is typically made of ceramic, glass, or metal, and is used for a variety of purposes, such as serving soups, holding liquids, and mixing ingredients.
A low bowl is a shallow bowl with a wide mouth. It is typically used for serving food, such as soup, salad, or pasta. Some low bowls can also be used for decorative purposes, such as holding fruits.
A cereal bowl is typically round and has a shallow depth, making it easy to scoop cereal and milk. Cereal bowls can also be used to eat other foods, such as soup, ice cream, or oatmeal.
Buying Tips on Choosing the Ideal Dinnerware Set
Purpose and Occasion
Think about how and what occasion you’ll be using your dinnerware for, such as everyday dinners, special occasions, or just a casual get-together. Several events may call for more fancy dinnerware of varying shapes, sizes, and designs.
Durability and Practicality
Opt for plates and bowls that are durable and suitable for daily use. Look for materials like porcelain or melamine that can withstand frequent use, are dishwasher-safe for convenience, and chip-resistant for long-lasting durability.
Quantity and Sets
Determine how many dinnerware pieces you need based on your household size and how often you host lunch and dinner parties at home. Also, always remember to buy a little more than the quantity you will be using, as a buffer for when accidents happen.
Design and Aesthetics
Select dinnerware that speaks to your sense of style and enhances the look of your table. Create a harmonious and visually appealing tablescape by thinking about the dinnerware's color, design pattern, and shape.
How to Care for Your Dinnerware
To preserve the quality of your dinnerware, it is recommended to hand wash it. Use mild dishwashing soap, warm water, and a soft sponge or cloth to clean each piece gently. Avoid using abrasive scrubbers and harsh chemicals that can damage the surface.
After washing, thoroughly dry your plates and bowls before storing them to prevent water spots and potential damage. Use a clean, lint-free cloth or allow the dinnerware to air dry in a well-ventilated area. Avoid stacking damp dishes as it can lead to chipping or sticking.
Avoid extreme temperatures
Protect your dinnerware from sudden temperature changes. Avoid exposing it to extreme heat, such as stovetops or ovens, as it can cause cracking or warping. Similarly, avoid placing cold dinnerware in hot water to prevent thermal shock.
Store them properly
Store your dinnerware safely and organized to minimize the risk of breakage. Use dividers or felt pads between stacked plates to prevent scratching. Consider storing delicate pieces separately and avoid overcrowding to prevent accidental damage.
Whether you're looking for formal dinnerware for fancy parties or pieces you can use every day, let this guide help you choose the right set for your home. Putting together a beautiful, stylish, and functional table setting for any meal is easy with Crate and Barrel Philippines’ wide selection.