1. Consider a casual or formal dinner set
There are two main categories of dinnerware: everyday and formal. You’ll want your regular set to be well-made and hardy enough to survive vigorous use over the coming years. However, if it’s a special occasion, or you’re entertaining, it’s a wonderful feeling to be able to serve up a meal on beautiful plates.
Before you ask, yes, you can try and find a set that does both. However, often plumping for a more sophisticated everyday set can mean that you subject your beautiful, fine crockery to unnecessary wear and tear. In addition, you’ll also lose the novelty of your formal wear by using it on a regular basis.
Everyday, casual dinner sets
Just because you’re looking for a casual set, doesn’t mean it has to be utilitarian; there are plenty of options with subtle differences to give your dinnerware an edge. Decoration around the rim of the plate is a nice touch, especially if it’s in an unexpected pattern. If you have a dishwasher, make sure you don’t splash out on a set that is too tall to be stacked in the drawer
Formal dinner sets
Contrary to popular belief, formal doesn’t have to mean frumpy when it comes to selecting pieces for special use. While there is a timeless option of a rim bedecked with flowers and fruit, modern dinnerware has a chic edge that makes dining intriguing. Keep an eye out for sets made out of interesting materials, such as marble or glass, as well as abstract uses of colour and pattern to keep things interesting.
2. What size dinner set is right for you
How many people should I buy for? This is perhaps one of the questions that gets people stumped while they’re tossing up between dinner sets. No matter how careful you and your family are, there will come a day when your crockery becomes chipped or even smashed in an unfortunate butterfingered incident.
When that day comes, you’ll lament not having a spare plate or bowl to keep your set complete. Think about it this way: you will never go wrong buying a spare few pieces. Not only can you accommodate extra guests, but it will also ensure that you don’t have to mix and match.
By buying your backup pieces at the same time as your dinner set, you can be assured of some continuity – break something in a year’s time and your original style of crockery may no longer be on the shelves.
3. What's your budget for a dinner set?
As with any investment, before you go scouting out the perfect dinnerware, you’ll need to have an idea of how much you’re willing to spend. While any old crockery can theoretically get the job done, choosing a higher-quality set can not only be more aesthetically pleasing, but also longer-lasting.
If you are buying your first dinner set, it can be tempting to go for a cheaper option, but it’s important to remember that this is a purchase you will see and interact with on a daily basis. Skimping and buying plates and bowls that you hate is a decision that could haunt you for a decade.