How to Buy Plates That Are Perfect for Your Kitchen

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Your everyday dishes see plenty of action in the kitchen. Doing research on how to buy plates will guarantee maximum happiness when you're serving, eating and even cleaning up.

Choosing the right dishes for your home is a major decision. It may be easiest to snag a good deal on a discounted set of dishes. But when you figure out how to buy plates that match your kitchen’s storage capacity, aesthetic and function, it will make enjoying meals even better.

Best Dinnerware Material

Variety of plates, close up view of edgesDebby Lewis-Harrison/Getty Images

Choosing the material your dishes are made of depends on your eating preferences—and how much you’re willing to spend.

Stoneware

This material isn’t actual stone—it’s made from clay fired at a high temperature.  In most cases, stoneware is thicker than other materials, and is perfect if you’re looking for dishes with heft. It often has a wonderful, handmade pottery look, too. However, this material won’t hold up in the long run, so beware of chipping.

FYI: This is why you should throw away chipped plates.

Porcelain 

Porcelain dishes are the kind you’ll want on hand for a dinner party, a special meal or whenever company comes over—they’re on the higher end when it comes to price, but durable and come in an array of beautiful patterns and styles. You’ll want to hand-wash most porcelain dinnerware.

Melamine

At the lowest end of the price range, melamine dishes are made of plastic. They’re certainly harder and tougher than regular plastic, and come in a variety of colors. You can even mix and match colors to brighten up your table. Even though they won’t break, most melamine dishes aren’t safe to use in the microwave, but you can throw them in the dishwasher.

Corelle

Corelle plates are made of tempered glass, which makes them lightweight and chip-resistant. Plus, they’re safe to run through the dishwasher or heat in the microwave. The glaze on most dishes makes them scratch-resistant, too.

Best Shape and Style

A variety of glassware, earthenware and crockery stored in an open white wooden shelfAndreas von Einsiedel/Getty Images

When you think of a plate, a traditional, round shape might come to mind. These might be best for everyday meals, but consider buying a dish set that includes more than one shape and style to accommodate your needs.

Triangular Plates

You’ll find that triangular plates are typically smaller in size. They’re great for a single serving—like a dessert or a breakfast pastry. We love them for a quirky way to serve up pizza or slices of pie!

Round Plates

A traditional round plate comes in a variety of sizes, shapes and colors, so you’ll never have trouble finding something to match your exact preference. Pair with chic, traditional or vintage silverware to complete the look.

Square Plates

Opt for square plates if you’re looking for something a bit more modern, without sacrificing the size. We particularly like this shape for the buffet line at a party—look for a sturdy, biodegradable option that’s different than typical disposable plates.

Best Color for Dinnerware

Stack of bowls and platesJamie Grill/Getty Images

The color of your dishes should match your space’s decor, at least to an extent. Are there pops of blue on your kitchen’s wall art or cabinetry? Incorporate that same shade into your dishes by choosing a set with a blue pattern. Similarly, think about opting for shades that might not show everyday wear and tear. Darker shades can help disguise blemishes, like utensil scratches or cracks. Look for hues with staying power, too—remember Fiestaware?

Pro tip: Want your dishes to really stand out? Our photo studio team’s favorite color dish to use is white. White dishes provide a crisp, clean contrast to the bold colors of food.

How Many Place Settings Should I Buy?

The standard dinnerware set includes eight place settings, but purchase extra place settings if you love to host.

You may also want to pick and choose pieces to create your own place settings. Before you invest in a porcelain dinnerware set that includes everything from teacups and saucers to dinner plates, think about the plates you use the absolute most now—and the size and style of plates you could really use more of.

The Best Store to Buy Dishes

Stack of bowls and platesFancy/Veer/Corbis/Getty Images

It’s wise to shop at a store that sells full sets, but also allows you to pick and choose a variety of shapes, sizes and materials. You want to be able to mix and match plates based on what you’ll realistically need. Target and Ikea are amazing stores to browse if you’re looking for budget-friendly plates that are still stylish.

Crate & Barrel and Williams Sonoma are higher-end options with virtually any plate you could want—and you’ll certainly want to check these stores when shopping for porcelain or more expensive materials.

Next: Learn how to set a table the right way.

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Taylor Murphy
Taylor is a food, parenting and health writer. When she's not writing about the newest Oreo flavor or her favorite kitchen appliance, she can be found searching for her next coffee fix or taste-testing recipes with her daughter.