Before you start shopping, decide how many pieces you want to purchase and how much money you want to spend. Four to six place settings are recommended for a two-person household and eight to twelve place settings for a four- or five-person household
Tableware can cost anywhere from a few tens of dollars apiece to hundreds of dollars for a five-piece set of high-quality china, depending on the quality. Sometimes crockery is cheaper as a set, so be sure to check the options available. You can find decent, good quality sets for around £200-300. Keep in mind that most sellers will reduce the price of individual place settings when you buy more than one item.
Generally, open sets are preferred because they give you flexibility in choosing pieces, for example, you can select plates by pieces. You can replace a single chipped or cracked plate without having to buy another complete set.
Place settings usually consist of three, four or five pieces. Many place settings are also available open, and some collections include additional components sold separately. Some retailers discount the price of tableware when you buy a full table setting, so it is often less expensive than buying individual pieces as an open tableware option. Each manufacturer creates collections differently, so check carefully what’s included in each set before you buy and choose one that fits your lifestyle. In other words, don’t buy dinnerware with soup bowls if you don’t use them.
Dinnerware sets are very affordable – manycost less than £400 for a 16-piece set. However, without the option of open-ended tableware, replacing pieces will be difficult: if a plate breaks, you’ll have to buy another entire set to get a new one
When it comes to tableware, you always get what you pay for, so it’s worth investing more if you can. However, you don’t have to buy all the pieces right away. If the set is expensive, you can buy just a few pieces until you get the full set. You can also shop strategically and wait for holiday sales.
Tableware varies in weight, so it is recommended to use sample sets to get an idea of what you like best. It is also a good idea to pick up a stack of plates or bowls to see how heavy they will be when you remove them from the cabinet. Remember that heavier tableware is not necessarily higher quality or more durable. Bone china is lightweight and slightly translucent when held up to the light, but is just as durable as thicker porcelain or stoneware.
As you browse sets in the store, also pay attention to the size and shape of each item. Choose pieces that are the right size and shape for your eating habits and cabinet space.
Before you buy your tableware, compare it to other items to make sure the proportions match (it’s a good idea to bring cutlery to the store). If your plates overshadow your forks and knives, or vice versa, they can create an odd-looking setting. Also measure your cabinet space to make sure your tableware will fit
If you don’t have two sets of tableware – one casual and one formal – try to find one style that will fit all occasions. It should be sturdy enough for everyday use, but also grand enough for a variety of entertaining. Sets with decorative patterns can be exciting, but they are also more likely to become outdated over time. For this reason, it is recommended to choose tableware with a classic look, free of busy patterns.