The Ultimate Dinnerware Buying Guide

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Investing in dinnerware is important whether you entertain or simply enjoy a home cooked meal. Surely information about this household staple is not common knowledge, so much speculation exists pertaining to what is quality dinnerware, or what simply works well for a particular situation. Shopping for all products surrounds understanding the basics; investing in a quality shopping guide is of the utmost importance in order to become a professional.

Understand the Materials
Bone China
These sets are lightweight, sleek, and polished. Known as the most durable and chip-resistant sets, Bone China is typically used for special occasions. The indestructibility of this material makes it safe for the dishwasher, oven, and microwave.

Stoneware
These strong sets are finished with specialized glazes that make them appear smooth, and makes them a common choice for families. Though most stoneware is safe for the dishwasher, certain patterns should be hand washed and never placed in the microwave. Sudden changes in temperature can cause this material to crack.

Porcelain
Similar to Bone China in appearance, touch, and durability, this material tends to be more affordable. Safe for a multitude of kitchen equipment, porcelain is often a practical choice.

Earthenware
Complete with an artisanal feel, a crazing technique allows this material to radiate in originality and gives the set character. Low microwave settings are ideal, but avoiding sudden changes in temperature is key in ensuring the longevity of this set.

How Is Dinnerware Sold?
It is sold in one of three ways that are typically dependent on the material itself.

Place Setting
This is common with Bone China and porcelain; the pieces are sold as a set for a single person. “Five pieces complete the set, and include a salad plate, dinner plate, bread plate, a teacup, and a saucer,” said Plum Street Pottery. It is recommended to purchase at least twelve sets and doing so is more cost-effective.

Boxed Sets
Commonly sold in fifteen to twenty pieces, boxed sets are made up of more than one place setting. Coffee mugs often take the place of saucers in twenty piece sets, while the fifteen piece sets tend to have the traditional items.

Open Stock
This is dinnerware sold by the individual piece and allows for the most creative influences. Allowing for the ability to mix and match solid colors with patterned pieces, the open stock policy is a fun way to perfect a dinner party or event.

Understand the Sets and Who They Work Well For
When you understand the manner that certain materials are sold and packaged, you are able to determine exactly what you are looking for.

The Growing Family
Again, Bone China sets are sold by the individual place setting; this is also common with porcelain. These options are ideal for couples who wish to begin building their dinnerware collection from the ground up. As your family continues to grow, these are often the items that can grow with it.

Options For Gifts
The open stock mannerism is a great idea for young couples preparing for marriage, as registering for these items allows for guests to choose what reminded them of the couple. This is a fun way to begin a dinnerware collection or to add variety to your pre-existing set.

For Those in Need of Value
Boxed sets are ideal for those who need place settings quickly. Routine dinner parties, anniversaries, birthdays, and weddings are all occasions when boxed sets would be needed to add value to the event. Growing families who quickly go through dinnerware should invest in boxed sets as well.