Buying guide to choose your dishes

Dinnerware sets are available in different materials, styles and number of pieces. Some dinnerware sets work well for formal dinners, and others are better suited for backyard barbecues and casual gatherings. For formal dinnerware, a china set is sure to look great, while earthenware or melamine is ideal for casual dinnerware. Formal dinnerware typically features a bright white coloring, complemented by a more elegant design. Casual dinnerware often features bold colors and patterns, giving you many fun options to get creative. A typical set includes a cup, bowl, salad plate and dinner plate, which means a 16-piece dinnerware set can accommodate up to four people. Formal dinnerware sets can include additional pieces such as saucers, dessert plates and platters. You can also find more complete sets of pieces such as serving dishes, sauce dishes, butter dishes and gravy boats, so you can complete your dinnerware set with matching serving pieces. If one of the pieces in your set breaks, you can sometimes find a replacement that is sold individually.

Bone Ash Porcelain Dinnerware

If you're looking for dinnerware that is both durable and elegant, look no further than bone ash china. Known for its fine, delicate structure, bone ash porcelain is actually one of the most durable types of dinnerware available. Its semi-translucent white appearance makes it an attractive style that complements any dining room. This china is generally dishwasher safe, but hand washing may be preferred.

Porcelain dinnerware

More affordable than bone ash, porcelain dinnerware is still very durable but has a slightly heavier construction. Porcelain dinnerware is break resistant and can be easily washed in the dishwasher and heated in the microwave. Porcelain, like bone china, works well as formal dinnerware because of its refined style.


Stoneware provides casual, chip-resistant dinnerware available in a variety of elegant options. Stoneware is slightly heavier and thicker than porcelain and china, but does not have the same level of strength, so pieces will require extra care during washing or reheating of food. Wash stoneware by hand rather than materials that are likely to erode in the dishwasher. To avoid extremely hot dishes, transfer the contents of your stoneware pot to tupperware or a paper plate when microwaving.

Earthenware dishes

Earthenware is one of the most affordable types of ceramic dinnerware. Because the construction is more porous than other types of dinnerware, it is sealed and reinforced with a waterproof glaze before use. Earthenware is generally considered more casual and less sturdy than stoneware or porcelain dinnerware.

Melamine dinnerware

While melamine dinnerware mimics the appearance of ceramic dinnerware, it is made of an extremely durable resin. Melamine stands up to heavy use and is impervious to shattering or chipping, making it a versatile option for any occasion. Melamine dinnerware sets are available in a wide variety of colors and patterns, so you can easily find the perfect style for you.

Care of dinnerware

You should always check the manufacturer's instructions for your type of dinnerware before using it. Some formal dinnerware styles should be hand washed and dried instead of cleaned in a dishwasher, and some dinnerware sets have metal built into their design that prevents them from being microwaved. Between meals, some dish sets can be quickly stacked in your cabinet, while other types need to be stored more carefully. To safely store fine china and other types of formal dinnerware when not in use, place a piece of felt between each piece to prevent scratching and store them in a special china cabinet.

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