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Casual and Formal Home Dishware

The right dishware for your home should meet both your functional and your decorative needs. Some important functional factors to consider include whether it can be used in the microwave, whether it is dishwasher-friendly and whether it is sturdy enough for everyday use. Once you've settled on the right material for your lifestyle, you'll have a choice between elegant dishes for formal table settings and casual dishes for everyday use. With a wide variety of dishes and dinnerware sets to choose from in various colors, materials and patterns, you're certain to find the right fit for your dining room table at Pottery Barn.

Classic Dishware Sets

If you're looking to upgrade your entire collection at once, dining sets are the best option. These sets generally include enough dishes for four place settings (12 to 16 pieces). Depending on the set, they may include dinner plates, appetizer plates, soup or cereal bowls and mugs.

  • When in doubt, dishware sets in classic white are a great choice. These neutral sets can be dressed up or down for any type of event. For formal occasions, pair white dishes with crisp white table linens and a basic candle centerpiece. For casual dinner parties, you can use bright patterned napkins to make the table setting more fun.
  • Dining sets featuring dishes printed with muted patterns or subtle textures are also a great choice for formal affairs. These visual and tactile effects will add interest to your dinner table without being overwhelming.
  • Bright and colorful dishware sets are a great choice for everyday use or casual get-togethers. If you often entertain outdoors, look for durable melamine dishes which can be used indoors or out.

Enhancing Your Dinnerware Collection

Once you've covered the basics, enhance your collection by adding a few extra pieces, like bright plates or seasonal mugs. You can then mix-and-match to create a dish set for any occasion. To make your set more useful, you can also add serving dishes and other unique items.

  • Even if you've chosen a neutral dish set, you can still add color by adding a set of brightly colored mugs or salad plates to your collection. You can also experiment with bold patterns to add interest to your kitchen table.
  • Other extras, like teapots, sugar pots and serving dishes, are also important to have for entertaining. Be sure to choose dishes that coordinate well with your main dish set.
  • Having a few seasonal pieces allows you to be ready for holiday gatherings year after year. Choose from pastel Easter prints for spring, Thanksgiving prints for fall and fun Christmas prints for the winter holidays.

When your kitchen cabinets are filled with great dishware, setting the table for a family gathering or a get-together with friends is simple. Start by choosing a colorful set, an elegantly patterned set or a classic white set that can effortlessly transform from casual to formal, then enhance your set with extra fun dishes and serveware. With so many styles, colors and materials to choose from, you can mix-and-match to create the perfect collection that's both stylish and functional.