They may not have the power to make or break the taste of food, but a good set of dinnerware can enhance a meal by making it look amazing. It’s OK to splurge a little since you might be seeing each other at least three times a day. When you’re ready to start picking out yours, be sure to get dishes that will fit on your shelves and inside the dishwasher. Those with classic taste who want to get a little creative should start with white plates and add splashes of color around it. Don’t worry about buying separate sets for everyday use and for more formal dinners, and if you look for open stock rather than pre-packed sets of a certain size, you can customize your collection to suit your personal needs.
Although black plates can me temptingly dramatic, remember, white goes with everything—including a new kitchen design. You can spruce up white plates with vintage glasses from a flea market or funky, colorful soup and salads bowls from another country. If you want to go more exciting than white, then pick one color and stick with it. Red and green may go together at Christmas, but they’ll clash on your dining table the rest of the year.
Instead of getting separate sets for casual and formal occasions, buy one versatile set in the middle and dress it up or down with linens, placemats, napkins and accent pieces. You’ll be glad you did on moving day.
Most cabinets are about 12 inches deep, so unless you stack your dishes on hanging shelves, you might want to go a little under with your dinner plates for a good fit. For those who have small children or do a lot of outdoor entertaining, consider break-resistant dinnerware. Vitrified glass gets high marks for being virtually indestructible. Bone china, porcelain and stoneware are all incredibly durable, while earthenware looks good but is susceptible to chipping and staining.