Whether it be earthy stoneware or durable enamel, here’s how to select—and budget for—a tasteful setting.

The Norm Dinnerware Collection for Copenhagen restaurant Höst is defined by its simple silhouettes, evocative color palette, and versatility. It includes plates, bowls, and glassware.

Whether it be timeless whiteware or earthy ceramics, elegant china or modern melamine, what you lay down on your table makes a statement—and sets the scene. Plus, with the current trend of open kitchen shelving showing no signs of abatement, it’s likely to be on display at all times. 

“Open shelving has brought more consideration to tableware as part of home decor,” says Jono Pandolfi, founder of Jono Pandolfi Designs, a New Jersey–based pottery shop that specializes in creating stripped-down, rustic tableware (his client list reads like a “who’s who” of the restaurant world).

In a moody apartment in Berlin, multi-toned charcoal gray subway tiles make up the backsplash, which contrasts with the pop of rosy color on the kitchen cabinets. The pink is a custom hue.

No whiteware here. In this moody apartment in Berlin, multi-toned charcoal gray subway tiles make up the backsplash, which contrasts with the pop of rosy color on the kitchen cabinets. 

Photo: Peter Fehrentz

“Dinnerware with a slightly rustic or handmade quality is popular right now,” confirms Ellen Nystrom of Nystrom Design, a San Francisco–based interior design firm. This has prompted a shift toward bolder, more colorful designs, and a move away from the more intricate, fussy look of your grandmother’s table. 

So, how do you select the perfect place settings for your home, and what should you expect to spend? Nystrom recommends carefully considering your lifestyle and personal style before picking plates. “Since many of our clients desire low-maintenance lives, and have a casual style, I select dinnerware that is not too precious, and easy-to-incorporate replacements as pieces get chipped or broken,” she says. 

Colorful food on simple textured plates provides a perfect lunchtime palette.

Colorful food on simple, textured plates provides a perfect lunchtime palette.

Nick Pandolfi

Also, consider what tone you want to set with your place settings. “Good dinnerware is a luxury that is often overlooked, but it can elevate food, making every meal feel special,” says Pandolfi. “It can provide the perfect vessel for something you’ve spent all day cooking, or add decadence to weeknight takeout.”

The price of dinnerware covers a vast range, from $10 to $125 per piece, and even the same per setting. As a best practice, spend as much as you can afford if you want a set that’s going to last a lifetime, or consider budget options if you are planning on changing it up with the seasons. 

How to Select Dinnerware

Surprisingly, top of mind shouldn’t be what look you want, but where you’re going to put it. Storage is something to consider when buying dinnerware. Do you have space for multiple sets, or will you need a one-size-serves-all set that can go from cereal to ceviche? 

How it’s made, and what it’s made of, are the next most important features to focus on—but don’t get too muddled by material. Essentially, with the exception of glass and melamine dinnerware, most options are ceramic, the basis of which is some form of clay mixed with other materials (the difference is in the ratios and additives).

San Francisco-based interior designer Ellen Nystrom likes to select simple, white dinner plates so that the food is the focal point. "I love these Falcon Black Enamelware plates from Unison Home because that crisp black line around the edge adds a subtle graphic element that frames the food."  An iconic British material, enamelware features a <span style="font-family: Theinhardt, -apple-system, BlinkMacSystemFont, "Segoe UI", Roboto, Oxygen-Sans, Ubuntu, Cantarell, "Helvetica Neue", sans-serif;">porcelain enamel coating fused onto heavy-gauge steel, making this material oven-proof, dishwasher-proof, and truly life-proof.</span>‘></a></noindex></noindex><figcaption>
<p>San Francisco–based interior designer Ellen Nystrom likes to select simple, white dinner plates so that the food is the focal point. “I love these Falcon Black enamelware plates from Unison Home because that crisp, black line around the edge adds a subtle graphic element that frames the food,” she says. An iconic British material, enamelware features a porcelain enamel coating fused onto heavy-gauge steel, making this material oven-proof, dishwasher-proof, and totally life-proof.</p>
<p>Photo: <noindex><noindex><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="https://www.dwell.com/@unison" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" profileid="6133522412092461056">Unison</a></noindex></noindex></p>
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<p><b>See the full story on Dwell.com: <noindex><noindex><a target="_blank" rel="nofollow" href="https://www.dwell.com/article/how-much-to-spend-on-dinnerware-set-79a01bc4" target="_blank" rel="nofollow" >How Much Should You Spend on Dinnerware?</a></noindex></noindex></b><br /><span>Related stories:</span></p>
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