When shopping for dinnerware sets, you can choose from many materials, whether for formal or casual sets. Each material has its features, qualities, price points and drawbacks. The best dinnerware material depends on where you intend to use the dinnerware set, for what purpose and how much durability you need.
Dinnerware shopping can be tedious since there is a wide selection in the market. To make the best decision on the best material for dinnerware sets, you will need to learn the pros and cons of each material.
Types of Dinnerware Materials
Dinnerware sets can include anything from dinner plates, dishes or crockery, and they are the focal points of any dining table.
1. Bone China Dinnerware
Bone china is a material that combines porcelain pieces and bone ash derived from animals. It is fired at a slightly lower temperature than the regular porcelain to produce a lightweight yet delicate finish.
Despite its fragile look, it’s the strongest and most durable ceramic dinnerware set. It is lightweight, translucent, delicate in feel with a milky appearance,
- Most Bone china are oven, dishwasher and microwave safe
- Pricy material compared to the regular porcelain bone china
Is Bone China For You?
Bone China might be the best dinnerware material for you if:
- You want a versatile dinnerware set that you can use every day and arrange perfectly for your special occasions. Bone China offers flexibility and offers a delicate appearance with sturdy reliability.
- You want to bring a royal feel to your dining environment.
- You want a toned-down look that will effortlessly emanate glamour.
2. Porcelain Dinnerware
Porcelain or China terms refer to the dinnerware material made of fine particles of clay. These materials may include quartz and kaolin, and like stoneware and China, they are fired at high temperatures.
This makes them extremely durable and non-porous, and the dishes are constructed with delicate fine details that add to the overall elegance. Porcelain qualifies as the most ubiquitous ceramic dinnerware since it is less expensive than Bone China or stoneware and offers the perfect balance between durability, weight and price.
- Most fine china is oven, dishwasher and microwave safe
- It has an upscale appearance
- Suitable for a formal dinnerware set
- It has dishwashing detergent restrictions
- Any dishes with metal accents are best when hand-washed
Is Porcelain For You?
Porcelain might be the best dinnerware material for you if:
- You want to add a luxurious feel to your dining or kitchen area.
- You want to show an air of refinement because this material is often embellished with fine paint, metal accents and colors of precious stones.
- You want to impress your guests and turn your dinner into a formal affair.
3. Stoneware Dinnerware
Stoneware material is made of fired ceramic, and it is fired at higher temperatures than some of the other materials adding durability and strength. The durable stoneware is thicker and significantly sturdier than other varieties and often has a ceramic glaze finish that can be satin, shiny or matte.
Stoneware is often used for casual and everyday place settings, and most good-quality stoneware will offer maximum versatility.
- Suitable for daily use
- It can help achieve a casual look
- Freezer, oven, and microwave safe
- Versatile and easy to maintain
- It is sensitive to sudden temperature changes
- It can be porous and trap flavors or stains if it’s not fully glazed
Is Stoneware For You?
Stoneware might be the best dinnerware material for you if:
- You love spending time snuggling on your couch with a hot cup of tea or coffee as the durable dinnerware will soothingly warm your hands.
- You fancy a delicate appearance that will be there thanks to the glossy finish, especially if you choose a curved body style.
- Unsure of which style to choose. A white ceramic dinnerware set can be a great starting point, and it is a staple for any chic kitchen.
- You want to choose bold shapes and colors that will make a loud statement and lighten your dining room to set a bright mood.
- You want to pick muted colors to step up from the classic white options while offering an inviting and unique look to your dining area.
4. Earthenware Dinnerware
Earthenware material is ceramic that is fired and glazed, and while it may sound like stoneware, it is not as durable. It has a rustic appearance and is thick, weighing more than the other material types.
- Attractive design
- Often incorporates hand-painted designs
- Dishwasher and microwave safe unless stated otherwise by the manufacturer
- It is not a chip-resistant dinnerware set material
- Porous material meaning it may trap flavors and stains
Is Earthenware For You?
Earthenware might be the best dinnerware material for you if:
- You want a dining al fresco organic feel to your home as it is often available in neutral muted tones such as sand, forest green and ocean blue.
- You are a fan of earthy natural tones that bring a sense of peace and tranquility to your home environment.
- You want to choose a hand-painted option that can add a unique accent and keep your vibe simple with solid colors.
5. Melamine Dinnerware
Melamine dinnerware is made of plastic, and it boasts of an indestructible yet inflexible BPA-free glossy finish.
- Suitable for outdoor dining
- Child-friendly durable dinnerware material
- Dishwasher safe on the top rack
- Affordable yet versatile
- Not microwave or oven safe
Is Melamine For You?
Melamine might be the best dinnerware material for you if:
- You want a break-resistant material
- You are looking for budget-friendly, durable dinnerware sets that will stand the test of children, time and as many guests as you can handle
- You need a versatile dinnerware set that you can use for indoor and outdoor dining.
- You want an everyday dinnerware set that is available in various styles, mimicking fine china, others in natural tones of earthenware and others in bold colors.
6. Vitrified Glass/ Laminated Glass
This material type is fired at different high temperatures and is non-porous, which will last a lifetime. It is the material that can survive a heavy fall onto a hard surface and may not break.
- Break-resistant and chip-resistant dinnerware
- Dishwasher and microwave safe
- Extremely durable
- Ideal for family environments, especially where there are young children
- The material is more practical than elegant making it perfect for everyday use.
Is Vitrified Glass For You?
Laminated Glass might be the best dinnerware material for you if:
- You want practicability durability and want a casual everyday dinnerware set
- You belong to a household with kids, as this material will give you the peace of mind that you would get from a nearly indestructible plate.
What is the Best Dinnerware Material for Everyday Use?
If you are shopping for an everyday use dinnerware set, you can never go wrong with melamine material. It is super versatile in both appearance and uses, and you are guaranteed to find perfect pieces to complement your existing decor.
- Suppose you like the porcelain and china dinnerware appearance but are hesitant because of the price tag. In that case, a melamine dinnerware set could mimic china pieces and satisfy your interior design vision without costing you a lot.
- Alternatively, if you like a rustic look of earthenware but are concerned about the chipping, you can recreate the desired look using melamine to produce a more durable dinnerware set.
- Bone China or stoneware for everyday use because they are versatile, practical and durable.
- For industrial environments, you can choose cool tones such as silver, brass or slate blue.
- For both indoor and outdoor dining, melamine could work.
- To complement a modern environment, you can opt for clean yet crisp styles within a simple color palette.
- To achieve a boho-inspired environment, you can opt for geometric prints and bright colors.
What is the Best Dinnerware Material for Formal Use?
When shopping for the best and most durable dinnerware material for a formal dinner party, porcelain and bone china are the most common dinnerware materials. Although they have a hefty price tag, they add a luxurious feel that makes them a worthy investment for elevating your interior decor.
However, if you are buying dinnerware on a budget, melamine and ceramic dinnerware sets can work great for formal dinner parties. Opt for a style with an upgraded feel, and be sure to opt for additional formal dinnerware pieces for a more formal dining occasion.
These pieces include a bread plate, a salad plate, butter plates, soup bowls, cups and saucers. Suppose you will be presenting a large quantity of food, shop for the extra items such as fruit and dessert plates, pitcher, teapot and a gravy boat. Your dining table will be up to par, even with budget-friendly material thanks to the extra pieces.
How to Find the Best Dinnerware Set for You?
To ensure you are choosing the best dinnerware material for your needs, there are things you should look out for:
1. If you like to entertain guests, opt for a casual dinnerware set and a formal dinnerware set.
2. For casual dinnerware, choose microwave, oven and dishwasher safe options.
3. Depending on the number of people you are feeding, choose between the traditional sets of 12 or 8 for a smaller gathering.
4. Choose shapes and colors that represent your interior style, and below is a quick cheat sheet:
- Mid-Century Modern– Choose minimal designs with refined lines.
- Scandinavian– Opt for functionality and simplicity where grey and white tones are perfect.
- Industrial– Go for metallic accents and distressed finishes.
- Farmhouse– Opt for the wood-like appearance, which you can find in melamine, and you can choose the beige base and white colors. You can choose a bright yellow or turquoise color to accent this interior style.
- Nautical– Choose sand, white or blue accents.
- Bohemian– Opt for a carefree, rich yet vibrant dinnerware set.
- Shabby Chic– Choose soft and milky colors like pastels and whites.
Once you have decided what you want in your dinnerware set, it’s time to check the different options available. They include:
a). Traditional Dinnerware Sets
These sets may include multiple place settings to take care of the whole dining table. Most of these sets are 20-piece sets that serve four people. They include a dinner plate, salad plate, a teacup and a saucer for each place setting.
b). Formal Dinnerware Sets
Formal dinner sets are often sold in place settings, including all the pieces one individual would need at a dining table. Therefore, it is perfect for individuals or couples building their dinner set collections.
Most place settings will include five pieces: a dinner plate, bread plate, salad plate or dessert plate, teacup and a saucer. In addition, some dinner sets may include a soup bowl.
c). Open Stock Dinnerware Set
An open stock dinner set is sold piece by piece, and it is suitable for anyone who needs only a few pieces or someone who wants to mix and match in their collection. Although purchasing pieces separately can be more expensive than purchasing a complete set, replacing or adding individual pieces to an open stock set can be cheaper.
Alternatively, you can purchase a white dinner set that will work for formal and casual use. Then you can dress the setup or down using accessories such as chargers, linens and placemats.
You can also use accessories such as napkins to add some personality and color to a neutral table. Also, the accessories can tone down the boldly colored or patterned dinnerware set.
How to Care for Each Dinnerware Type
- Porcelain and China dinnerware material with metal accents will not hold well in a dishwasher. Therefore, if your household dishes are constantly in the dishwasher, it is best to avoid these dinnerware sets that need more tender care.
- Avoid soap and detergents with porous materials such as unglazed ceramics. If used, they can seep into the clay pores and settle and release into your food while preparing food. Instead, to clean your earthenware and stoneware for everyday use, use hot water, a small amount of baking soda, a stiff brush and lots of elbow grease.
- Bone China should not be scrubbed with abrasive materials, and a user should use a soft cloth with a mild detergent. Also, be careful of the sudden temperature changes when washing because these changes can cause your Bone China material to crack when not careful.
- The safest dinnerware material for dishwashers is melamine dinnerware and vitrified glass, making them the most convenient. These materials are non-porous, so you wouldn’t worry about staining or trapping food flavors or detergents. In addition, they are extremely versatile and will be suitable for any occasion.