How to Select the Perfect Dinnerware

With so many options available, choosing dinnerware for your kitchen or dining room can be a tough decision! It's an item essential to every home, setting the tone for a meal and making a statement about your personal style – but do you really know what to consider when making a purchase? We’ve put together a guide to help!

1. Level of Formality
The first thing to consider is the level of formality you’re seeking (this will also help you set your budget). Think about your current lifestyle and determine when and where you plan to use this set. So that you’re always prepared, you may want a set for both formal and informal settings. 

Most families save their fine china for special occasions and holidays, but this elegant dinnerware is perfect for dinner parties. While formal dinnerware can be more expensive, it’s a lasting investment that your family will treasure for years to come. Many sets need to hand washed, so be sure to check the care instructions.

Sturdy pieces meant for everyday use. Affordable and great for families with children, casual dinnerware is typically dishwasher and microwave safe. Dress your casual dishes up or down for maximum versatility. 

2. Material
With dinnerware produced in a variety of styles, considering material can help you narrow your search. 

Delicate but durable, porcelain dinnerware is a fabulous choice. Originally invented by the Chinese (hence the name “china”), porcelain is made of non-porous fired clay that is chip-resistant. 

For porcelain dinnerware, check out our UNO Collection

Ceramic or Earthenware
Ceramic pottery tends to be heavier and is made of terra cotta clay fired at low temperatures. Because of its pourous nature, earthenware is easily glazed, making for richer, more vibrant colors. 

For ceramic dinnerware, check out the Fun Factory Collection.

Handcrafted stoneware has a clean and modern appearance. Made of refined clay, it is hard-wearing and strong, and also heavier than porcelain. Stoneware often comes in earthy tones and textures.

For stoneware dinnerware, check out the Pure Nature Collection.

Bone China
Created in England in the 1700s, top-of-the-line Bone China is made from porcelain mixed with bone ash. It is lightweight and less brittle than porcelain. Real bone china is milky-white and if held to the light should appear translucent. It has a glowing, lustrous look. 

For bone china dinnerware, check out the Colors Collection. 

3.  Color
When it comes to color, coordinate with dinnerware you already own or try something new for endless mix-and-match possibilities.

The benefit of white is that it matches everything! Classic and versatile, white dinnerware is considered the best color for presenting food. 

 Solid Color
Bright colors spice up neutral décor and let your creativity shine. Look for high-quality glazework (evenly applied with no bubbles), depth of color, and consistency of color when shopping colorful dinnerware.  

Prints reveal your true entertaining spirit! Patterns can range anywhere from abstract or geometric prints to floral and natural prints such as birds and fruit. It’s a good idea to pair patterned dinnerware with plain dinnerware so it doesn’t overwhelm.

4. Shape
Shape is important and can take your dinner table from classic to contemporary. 

The most simple, traditional shape. Pleasing to the eye. 

Square and Rectangular
Highlights the shape of your food and adds a modern touch. Rectangular shapes are great for serving foods like asparagus.

Don’t limit yourself to the same old shapes. Go wild with a triangle or heart-shaped plate! 

5. Number of Servings 
When weighing the number of place settings you’ll need, a good rule to follow is to buy as many dinnerware sets as people you can imagine hosting. For couples engaged to be married (or anyone building their dinnerware collection from scratch), the recommendation is 8 to 12 place settings on the bridal registry. There are two main ways in which dinnerware is sold.

There are 4-Piece (serves one) and 16-Piece Place Settings (serves four). Because 16-Piece sets are common, it’s ideal to stay within multiples of 4 when settling upon a number. A 4-piece set contains everything you need for a single seat at the table.

Open Stock 
Dinnerware by the individual piece. A wonderful option for people who want to add to what they already have or purchase a few extra pieces in case of breakage. Replaceability is key when it comes to dinnerware.