Three Things to Consider Before Buying Dinnerware

A full set of plates, bowls, and silverware is a big investment, so make sure it fits your style and is built to last.

Closeup of a place setting
Carefully select your next set of plates and bowls because they will be the showcase for whatever meal you’ve prepared.Gibson

The old adage “We eat with our eyes first” applies to two things. First and foremost, it refers to meal presentation: how each element is arranged, proportioned, and garnished. But the type of plate or bowl on which we are served is also important to the overall dining aesthetic. A proper set of dinnerware will make the most of your favorite meals by turning everyday servings into culinary art. Here are a few things to consider when shopping for just the right collection.

Plate Profile

Gibson Elite Soho Lounge 16-Piece Square Reactive Glaze Dinnerware Set
Select your tableware so that it complements your decorating style throughout the dining room and home.Gibson

The silhouette of a dinner plate says a lot about its host. Square serving pieces impart a sophisticated and contemporary look to any place setting, while round is more traditional and elegant. Think about the design motif of your home and stay consistent to convey your particular taste and style.

Number of Pieces

AmazonBasics 18-Piece Kitchen Dinnerware Set
It’s better to have enough settings when serving company rather than not enough.AmazonBasics

With the exception of meals served on the family’s china, most dining and even entertaining is done on everyday dinnerware. So, it’s important to have a set large enough for both you and occasional guests. A 16-piece set will typically serve up to four people, an 18-piece set up to six, and so forth.


Corelle Chip Resistant Appetizer Plates, 6-Piece, Portofino
Whatever dishes and bowls you settle on, make sure it’s all strong enough to stand the test of time.Corelle

It’s great to have a collection of delicate heirloom porcelain in the cabinet for special occasions, but daily dishes should err on the side of being indestructible. Chip-resistant glass products are a good choice, and for large gatherings you might want to consider a bulk set of reusable plastic plates. They are a major step above soggy paper plates, and stout enough to withstand any abuse.