Ceramic dinnerware sets are the foundation of any table setting. The classic material brings warmth and versatility to everyday meals and special occasions alike. With so many options on the market, finding the ideal ceramic dinnerware set for your needs can feel overwhelming. Should you opt for casual stoneware or delicate porcelain? What about number of place settings and style choices? This guide will walk through the key considerations when shopping for ceramic dinnerware and provide recommendations on specific sets to suit different priorities. Armed with the right information, you can confidently choose a high-quality ceramic dinnerware set to become the new centerpiece of your dining table.
When embarking on the search for new ceramic dinnerware, the first step is outlining your intended use. Do you need an everyday set for regular family dinners that can withstand constant use? Or are you looking for a more refined option for special occasions and entertaining? Ceramic dinnerware spans a spectrum from durable stoneware crafted for daily use to fine porcelain designed for more formal dining. Consider how often and for what purposes your new dinnerware will be utilized. More delicate materials like porcelain or bone china should be reserved for special occasions rather than subjected to heavy day-to-day use.
You’ll also want to determine how many place settings your lifestyle requires. Standard place settings include four pieces: a 10-12 inch dinner plate, 7-9 inch salad plate, 6 inch bread and butter plate, and an accompanying mug or cup. If you regularly host large family dinners or dinner parties, you may want at least 12 place settings so you have pieces for all guests. For smaller households of one to two people, you likely only need four to six place settings. Additionally, take inventory of what serving pieces like platters, tureens, and bowls you may need to complement the place settings.
When it comes to style, the options are endless. Do you prefer classic white dinnerware or are you drawn to modern colors and patterns? Consider the overall aesthetic of your dining area. Look for ceramic dinnerware that coordinates with your existing dinnerware and complements your kitchen or dining room’s decor. You want your new ceramic dishes to seamlessly fit into the overall design scheme of your space. While you want the dinnerware to make a style statement, busy patterns or overly bold colors can sometimes clash or feel distracting when displayed on a table setting. See if you can find ceramic dinnerware with subtle or neutral detailing that fits with your decor.
You’ll also need to select a material for your new dinnerware set. The most common options include:
Porcelain – Made from a fine white clay and fired at high temperatures, porcelain is lightweight, smooth, and delicate. It’s ideal for formal dining and special occasions but prone to chipping if subjected to extreme temperatures.
Bone China – A mix of porcelain and bone ash, bone china is known for its high quality, durability, and milky white translucence. It has a more delicate appearance than standard porcelain.
Stoneware – Made from thicker, denser clay and fired at lower temperatures, stoneware is extremely durable and maintains its shape. It resists chipping so it’s great for everyday use. The material can have a rough natural texture or smooth glazed finish.
Earthenware – Fired at lower temperatures, earthenware is softer, heavier, and more porous than other ceramics. It comes in a variety of glazes and colors but is generally casual in appearance.
Consider your own lifestyle, needs, and aesthetic preferences when deciding which material will work best. For instance, busy families may gravitate toward durable stoneware while couples looking to upgrade their formalware may splurge on delicate bone china.
Today’s ceramic dinnerware sets come in a wide range of prices suitable for all budgets. When determining your budget, weigh the quality of the construction, original design, and reputation of the brand. Well-crafted sets from premium brands like Villeroy & Boch, Lenox, and Royal Doulton will cost more but can become family heirlooms passed down over generations. For more budget-friendly options, retailers like Crate & Barrel, Williams Sonoma, and Macy’s offer exclusive ceramic dinnerware lines with pleasing designs at lower price points.
With an idea of your ideal budget, usage, number of settings, style, and material, you’re ready to start exploring ceramic dinnerware sets and evaluating your options. Here are the top factors to look for when assessing the quality and appeal of any ceramic dinnerware set:
- Durability – Check pieces for thickness, weight, and indications they will resist chipping or cracking with frequent use. Heavier, thicker ceramic pieces tend to be more durable.
- Balance and Feel – Quality ceramic dinnerware will have some heft and substantial feel in your hand. Ensure plates and bowls have a good balance so they sit evenly on the table.
- Craftsmanship – Examine the quality of the finishing details like glaze application, painted rims, and edging. Look for clean consistent lines, smooth surfaces, and tight detailing.
- Design – Choose dinnerware with an aesthetically pleasing design that maintains consistent elements and detailing throughout the set.
- Value – Compare price points with the overall quality of materials, construction, and design for the best value.
- Care – Review care instructions and opt for dinnerware that can be washed in the dishwasher on a low heat setting to make cleaning easy.
- Positive Reviews – Well-rated ceramic dinnerware sets generally offer good value for money and meet people’s needs.
After surveying the market, the following five ceramic dinnerware sets rise to the top for their combination of quality craftsmanship, value, and appealing style.
Royal Doulton 1815
Royal Doulton’s 1815 collection is the brand’s flagship line, taking inspiration from their early nineteenth century dinnerware designs. The off-white porcelain set with navy blue accents evokes traditional style while feeling fresh and modern. This 7-piece place setting includes dinner, salad, and bread plates plus a cereal bowl, mug, and saucer. Plates are decorated with subtle intricate scrollwork rimmed in navy. The versatility of the classic but lively color scheme makes 1815 suitable for both festive entertaining and daily use. Constructed from Royal Doulton’s signature English porcelain, the dinnerware is sturdy enough for frequent use. The 1815 open stock collection has over 30 complementary serving pieces and accessories to mix and match. With understated elegance perfect for various occasions, Royal Doulton’s 1815 earns the top spot.
Gibson Home Eclectic Zanza
Those looking for fun, modern character will appreciate the vibrantly colored and patterned Eclectic Zanza 16-piece set from Gibson Home. The reactive glaze finishes produce striking variationsbetween every piece, making for a dynamic assortment of styles. Available in 16- or 20-piece sets in aqua, green, or brown color schemes, the handcrafted stoneware holds up well to daily use. The set includes dinner and salad plates, bowls, and mugs, each sporting different but coordinating patterns like wide stripes, delicate dots, and Moroccan-inspired motifs. The lightweight, durable stoneware comes in aqua, green, and brown palettes that feel both organic and modern. Eclectic Zanza adds global, bohemian flair to any tablescape.
Corelle Livingware Winter Frost White
For classic everyday dining, Corelle’s Livingware Winter Frost White offers a crisp, clean 10-piece set of sturdy vitrelle glass dinnerware. The dinner and side plates have sloped rims and subtle concentric circles radiatingfrom the center, along with Corelle’s signature shiny glaze finish in pristine white. Corelle Livingware is made to be virtually chip resistant to handle constant kitchen use. The glass construction leaves pieces lightweight enough for comfortable dining and easy on the hands. Available as open stock, the simple but well-made Corelle Winter Frost allows you to build out your set over time. The balanced proportions and timeless white palette make coordinating serveware easy. For affordable and durable everyday dinnerware, Corelle Winter Frost is a winner.
Mikasa Antique White
Those seeking traditional porcelain dinnerware will appreciate the charming scalloped edging and pretty detailing of Mikasa’s Antique White collection. The 40-piece set includes dinner, salad, and bread plates, cereal bowls, and mugs, accented by vintage-inspired florals, scrolls, and lines in sage green, blue, and black. Constructed from durable porcelain, Antique White maintains a classic elegance. The comfortable weight and silky glazed finish give it the feel of true fine china at a more accessible price point. Available as open stock, the set mixes and matches seamlessly with Mikasa’s Antique White serving pieces and can be added to over time. A timeless design and versatile palette make this set suitable for updating more formal dining occasions or going modern with the right serveware.
##Crate & Barrel Artesia Rustic Denim
Handcrafted in Portugal, Crate and Barrel’s Artesia Rustic Denim set encapsulates European farmhouse styling with its mix of rich blue hues, hand-painted stripes, and imperfect flecked glazing. The stoneware set for four includes rustic shaped plates and bowls made from mineral-rich clay. Despite its artisanal look, the dinnerware is durable enough for everyday meals. The distinct blotchy glaze patterns and slight rippled shapes of the Artesia pieces give the set old world character. The denim color palette feels fresh yet timeless. As open stock available at a reasonable price point, Artesia Rustic Denim allows you to customize your collection while enjoying the wabi-sabi appeal of handmade ceramics. Add some flair to your table with these beautifully crafted dishes.
With an overview of what’s available, key selection criteria, and top recommended picks, you are now armed with the essential knowledge to shop for ceramic dinnerware. To recap, identify your ideal usage, number of place settings needed, preferred aesthetic, and budget. Evaluate construction quality and craftsmanship when you’re ready to purchase. Weigh options like classic white porcelain versus handmade stoneware. And don’t forget about serving pieces like platters and gravy boats to round out your new dinnerware set.
When building out your selected ceramic dinnerware set, think about mixing and matching pieces for different occasions. Having both solid and patterned dinner plates allows you to alternate looks. A common denominator like white plates or bowls ties everything together. Incorporate accent pieces like colored salad plates or patterned mugs to change up your tablescape. Pay attention to the shape of plates and bowls as you mix and match. Varying the silhouettes can create visual interest but ensure rimmed plates still work with your flatware.
Caring for your ceramic dinnerware properly is key to having it last for years of family dinners. Be sure to check the included manufacturer’s care instructions but in general, there are a few key best practices to keep in mind:
- Hand washing is ideal but top-rack dishwashing on low heat dry settings is normally fine for high quality ceramic dinnerware sets. Avoid high heat drying that can lead to cracks and crazing over time.
- Do not put pieces with metal edging or accents in the microwave, as this can damage the metalwork.
- Prevent chipping by avoiding extreme temperature changes. Do not transfer hot ceramic pieces straight from the dishwasher or oven into cold water. Allow them to cool gradually.
- When hand washing, use soft sponges and avoid abrasive scrubbers that can damage glazed surfaces.
- Avoid harsh detergents and bleaches that can wear down colors over time.
With proper care, your new ceramic dinnerware set can become a staple that gets passed down for generations, whether for fine dining or casual family meals. Investing in a durable, versatile set made from quality materials will give you years of service. Follow the guidance in this article to confidently shop for ceramic dinnerware that perfectly suits your personal style, needs, and budget. Soon you’ll have a beautiful new set custom tailored to be the centerpiece of dining occasions for years to come. Enjoy transformingle your tablescape with stunning new ceramic dinnerware!