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How to Choose the Right Dinnerware

Source: wikiHow

Selecting a new dinnerware set gives you the opportunity to purchase something both useful and beautiful. Whether you’re registering for a dinnerware set before a wedding, replacing your current dinnerware, or restocking after a move, investing time into finding the right set will allow you to enjoy your new dishes every day for years to come.

  1. Evaluate your current dinnerware. Does it matter whether your new dinnerware matches your old stuff? If so, you’ll need to coordinate by material, color, or pattern. Unless you hate your current pieces, consider how you’re going to keep on using them.
  2. Define what range of uses your new pieces will have. For example, do you plan to use these dishes outdoors on a regular basis? If so, you may want to look into less common but unbreakable materials, such as metal or laminate. If you’ll only use a formal set during the holidays, you might want to coordinate with festive colors.
  3. Decide whether you want sets or not. Dinnerware often comes in 5-piece (formal) and 4-piece (casual) sets. Consider whether you want all your dishes to match this way, as most retailers now offer dinnerware “open stock,” meaning that you can purchase individual pieces rather than sets. If you wish, you can mix and match different colors, patterns, textures and shapes.
  4. Decide whether you’re looking for casual or formal dinnerware. It’s probably not necessary to have a complete set of each, although it may be traditional. In theory, casual dinnerware is sturdy and designed for everyday use, while formal dinnerware is more delicate, but there’s a lot of overlap here. If you find a good pattern, you might well be able to purchase a single durable, elegant set.
  5. Choose your material based on durability, price, and intended use. Formal dinnerware is commonly made with bone china and porcelain; casual pieces may also be stoneware or earthenware.
    • Porcelain is the hardest ceramic.
    • Bone china is nearly as strong because it is fortified by ox-bone ash.
    • Both types are relatively expensive, and are often not ideal for dishwasher or microwave use because they are harder to replace.
    • Many manufacturers now offer dishwasher-, microwave-, and oven-safe bone china and porcelain.
    • Casual dinnerware should be sturdy, dishwasher-safe, and microwaveable; ideally, it should also be oven-safe to 400-500F.
    • Such pieces are traditionally most often made of stoneware or earthenware (cream ware, majolica, faience, delft), which are less sturdy and less expensive than bone china or porcelain.
    • However, porcelain and inexpensive bone china casual dinnerware is becoming quite common.

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