Do you love entertaining but never know what dinnerware you should use? The etiquette of the dinner table can be a nightmare, but if you choose wisely when buying your dinnerware then you can enjoy entertaining with style and not feel embarrassed that your dinnerware is dated, or that you’re missing key parts.
How many place settings do I need?
This will depend on the size of your household. If you’re a couple who entertains regularly then you’ll need 4 or more place settings, whereas a large family may need a minimum of 12 if you love to entertain. For most households, 6 to 8 place settings is ideal for everyday use, with 12 place settings of dinnerware for entertaining.
Dinnerware sets usually come in 4 pieces for casual use and 5 pieces for entertaining. Each set contains a dinner plate, side plate, bowl and cup with additional saucer for formal use. You can either purchase complete sets or choose open stock dinnerware that allows you to mix and match to meet your needs and create a uniquely customised set.
When you’re buying your dinnerware, think about Cost, Availability and Purpose (CAP). Are you buying for everyday use or for special occasions? Is the dinnerware you like widely available if you need a replacement piece? Is it reasonably priced enough to buy all the settings you need now, or will you need to purchase half now and half later? A boxed dinnerware starter set can be a good investment but only if you have relatively simple needs.
How do I choose the right materials?
You should think about durability, intended use and practicality. For example, there’s no point buying those beautiful huge dinner plates if they won’t fit in your cupboards. Bone china and porcelain are relatively expensive but may not be suitable for microwave and dishwasher use. However, they are thin, lightweight and elegant. Stoneware and earthenware are durable and suitable for microwave and dishwasher use, but they can chip and break easily.
Corelle dinnerware gives you the best of both worlds being thin and delicate, yet also highly durable and safe for microwaves, ovens, freezers and dishwashers.
How do I choose the right pattern?
Is your dining area brightly coloured or full of pattern? If so, a neutral service will complement it perfectly. If your décor is neutral, then you can add aesthetic design elements with beautiful dinnerware. Always include some neutrals to complement your service, as too much colour or pattern can become visually overwhelming. Research different ranges online; perhaps opt for a mix of classic and contemporary patterns in square and circular shapes that let you mix and match to create your ideal set.
The general rules for dinnerware are that plain white plates are great for letting your food do the talking, while patterned dinnerware can add a wow factor to less formal entertaining opportunities. Geometric patterns, abstract shapes or floral patterns are a great choice in this respect.
For a dinner party to impress, try dinnerware with a combination of rich colour and metallic banding that looks opulent and luxurious.
How do I lay the perfect table?
Once you’ve decided on your dinnerware, it’s time to set the perfect table. Always use a ratio of two patterns to one plain, and don’t be afraid of mixing new and vintage designs for a striking effect.
Start from the foundations with either a charger or a table mat. Now place your dinner plate on top and lay your silverware. Use a cloth napkin to the left of your dinner plate for very formal occasions, laid out on your side plate if you like – otherwise use paper napkins fluffed into your wine glasses to add colour and style.
Setting a beautiful table is easy to do if you follow the rules, and there’s plenty of inspiration to be found online. Just make sure you choose the right dinnerware that suits the occasion and you’ll be the hostess with the mostest!