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Selecting New Silverware

Choosing new silverware is an exciting task. Most families select a new everyday set at a milestone--you're getting married or you just bought a new house--plus another set for seasonal or formal dinners. That means picking your new forks, spoons and knives is at least a semi-long term decision.

Treat the opportunity like the special occasion it is by shopping Pottery Barn's high-quality flatware selection.

Features to Look For

Select your new silverware based on its weight, balance, material, design and which pieces come in a set. Usually, each place setting includes a dinner fork, a salad or dessert fork, a large and a small spoon, plus a dinner knife.

  • Choose pieces that are just substantial enough to feel good in your hand and give you the weight you need to pick up food comfortably. The weight of your pieces often speaks to the quality of the material.
  • Enjoy a good balance. Each utensil should rest in your hand easily with little effort on your part. The weight is largely at the utensil end rather than the handle, but a great handle is designed with balance in mind.
  • Consider your material. Stainless steel is fantastic for everyday use and even many formal dinners. You can also select bamboo or other wooden and natural-material handles.
  • Some modern flatware is coated with a high-style finish, like brushed gold or copper tones.

Flatware Patterns for Different Occasions

Many of the features of flatware are related to craft, but hostesses and home chefs alike still tend to gravitate toward the design as the most personalized feature of silverware. The design of your flatware sets is called its pattern.

  • Most people get one pattern for everyday and another pattern for seasonal dinnerware, that may include holiday motifs or a heavier weight.
  • The silhouette of your silverware is usually what defines its design. Look for handles with different shapes that reflect your tabletop style.
  • Finish refers to the coating of your flatware set. Choices may include different metallic tones, mirror finish, satin finish or interesting wood grains.

Flatware Sets and Serving Sets

When selecting your flatware sets, you may want to check out serving sets at the same time. Serving sets are utensil pieces that you set at the table to serve guests or let them serve themselves. They include items like salad tongs, soup ladles, meat forks or carvers, cheese knives, cake servers and more. Just like with your silverware, many people have a unique set of serving ware for holidays or entertaining, too.