Dish sets should also be comfortably light and microwave and dishwasher safe for optimal convenience. A basic dish set will be made up of a large dinner plate, a smaller salad plate, and a soup or salad bowl for each setting. More traditional or formal sets can include extra pieces like mugs, bread plates, or teacups. Here are a few dish sets that we recommend for you.
Why should you buy a dish set?
When it’s time to grow beyond your mix-matched plates that you’ve gathered from your younger years, purchasing a dish set is a great place to start building your dishware. With one purchase, you’ll get at least four plates and cups, some bowls, and some mugs—all with the same color scheme and design features. A matching set can give your next dinner party tablescape a more put-together look that’s both beautiful and functional. Additionally, modern dish sets are typically microwave and dishwasher safe for added convenience. Whether you’re adding new items to your kitchen or looking to elevate your dinner party’s aesthetic, a new dish set can provide you with a clean slate.
What should you look for in a dish set?
Here are a few things to think about before buying a set of dishes:
- Material: Most dish sets will be made of ceramic (like porcelain) or stoneware. Both are good options for everyday dining and are available in a range of colors and designs. Ceramic is generally lighter, slightly more durable, and less porous. Stoneware is thicker, tends to be less expensive, and provides an attractive textured aesthetic, although it might get scratched by stainless steel silverware if the glaze isn’t thick enough.
- Style: Most people want dishes that will look good on their table, and there are several stylistic aspects to consider when picking a nice dish set. All the pieces might be one uniform color, one solid color on the inside and another on the outside, or multicolored. Others will be partially or completely patterned. The plates and bowls might be circular, square, or rectangular. Some sets might have rounded bowls and square or rectangular plates, or vice versa. If a set includes mugs or teacups, their shape and design will vary as well. And, of course, you’ll have to make sure that whichever dish set you want comes in a size that fits your needs and aesthetic.
- Quantity: Before buying, it’s essential to consider how many people can use a dish set at once. Dish sets are measured in “settings,” where one setting is equal to one person. The standard dish set is designed for four people (four settings), which means that it will be comprised of 12 or 16 pieces, depending on whether it includes mugs or not: four dinner plates, four dessert plates, four soup or salad bowls, and, possibly, four mugs. However, it’s certainly possible to find dish sets with a higher number of settings. Eighteen-piece sets are also quite common, and some can provide as many as 12 settings (which would translate to 42 or 46 total pieces). Note that two-person sets aren’t very common, and sets will be sold in even numbers unless they come with extra pieces, like a serving bowl or platter.
What should you expect to spend on a dish set?
Dish cups come with a standard number of plates, bowls, and mugs across the board. However, that doesn’t mean that they will all cost the same. Based on the materials and design, a dish set can remain in budget pricing or exceed your cost expectations. Plastic dish sets will be the least expensive given their cost-efficient material. For stoneware or ceramic, you’ll likely pay anywhere from $40 to $60. The high end of dishware can reach up to $100 or more based on the design and your preferences.
Gibson Elite Soho Lounge Dinnerware
An affordable 16-piece dish set that brings an understated, two-toned elegance to your table.
Pros: This solid and colorful set of stoneware dishes proves that you don’t have to sacrifice beauty for sturdiness. The stoneware material is thick and strong and safe to run in the dishwasher or heat up in the microwave. It’s finished with a protective double reactive glaze to help prevent scratching. The glaze also contributes to the dish set’s aesthetic, as it adds a vibrant hue and shine to the color. Thanks to the glaze’s reactive nature, each piece finishes a little bit differently when fired in the kiln, so no two pieces are exactly the same. You have over 20 different color schemes to choose from, so you can easily have dishes that fit your style.
Cons: Since these dishes are created using a kiln, each piece is unique. This might cause the plates to stack imperfectly due to the slight differences in shape. Additionally, color variance from one item to another is common.
Bottom Line: This set offers a lot of style for people who are looking for specific colors. Their construction process doesn’t make them exactly uniform, but they’re ideal for people who are looking to make a statement with their dishes.
US Acrylic Newport Plastic Dinnerware
An inexpensive option that's great for kids and backyard parties.
Pros: People who struggle with clumsiness or who have accident-prone children will appreciate the reliability of this dish set. The 12-piece set provides four people with a plate, bowl, and cup. The material is BPA-free and safe for the dishwasher. The molded shapes allow you to easily stack them for storage. The construction not only makes these dishes great for accidental bumps, but also, ideal for poolside or backyard meals where glass might be unsafe. The budget-friendly price is the cherry on top.
Cons: While it’s not explicitly stated that these plates aren’t microwave safe, many buyers have experienced warping after placing them inside to reheat food. The plates have a tendency to bend upward rather than lying flat, leaving you with a shallower plate.
Bottom Line: For such a low price, this dish set has a lot of uses, including for outdoor use or as children’s dishware.
Pfaltzgraff Trellis Dinnerware Set
Go back in time with the rustic design of these white-washed plates, bowls, and mugs.
Pros: The weathered and worn look of this dishware draws its design from the rustic style of farmhouses. The white paint looks “washed away” to imitate a time-worn look, while the elegant scrolls add visual interest. Despite its old look, the stoneware is safe for modern devices like microwaves and dishwashers. Along with the traditional plates, bowls, and mugs, this set also comes with salad plates, so you can have the full dinner experience.
Cons: The worn look of this item is limited. The plate doesn’t have the very textured feel that’s commonly associated with rustic designs. Additionally, chips on the edges of the plates and mugs tend to happen easily.
Bottom Line: These dishes are all about the classic look of the farmhouse with the washed look and beautiful pattern. However, they won’t live up to everyone’s idea of the rustic aesthetic.
Euro Ceramica Zanzibar Collection
A gorgeous, hand-painted ceramic dish set that contains four settings with a glossy glazed finish and vibrant colors.
Pros: Make a fun statement at your next dinner party with this set of colorful and elaborate dishes. This 16-piece set boasts a striking array of colors and hand-painted designs that are as vibrant and unique as they are lovely. All the pieces are made of high-quality ceramic and glazed to provide a silky, glossy finish that further enhances their beauty. This dishware set is as practical as it is eye-catching, durable enough for daily use as well as for special events, and free of substances like lead and cadmium. The pieces are dishwasher and microwave safe as well. (Note that they might be extra hot to the touch after warming in the microwave.)
Cons: The extra detailing of this set comes with some extra cost, causing it to be the most expensive option on our list. Some buyers also found that the plates get overly hot in the microwave despite the description labeling this dish set as microwave safe.
Bottom Line: This extravagant look is great for people who are looking to stand out at dinner parties. The construction is reliable enough for long-term use but will cost more than your average set.
Safdie & Co. 19-Piece Set
Plain dishware is a thing of the past, as these marble dishes give plates and bowls a modern twist.
Pros: People who appreciate the look of modern or contemporary designs will love the look of the marble dish set. This dishware serves four people, giving each a plate, salad plate, bowl, and mug. The porcelain material isn’t just safe for the microwave and dishwasher, but for the freezer as well. If the set isn’t large enough for you, it’s available in packs of two, three, and four.
Cons: The porcelain material does lend to more durability, but the thinness might eventually lead to damage. The marble print is also exact on each plate, so if you’re looking for a more flowing design, avoid this set.
Bottom Line: The marble accents on this dishware are certainly made for the modern era, and the porcelain provides enough durability to last through plenty of dinner parties. However, the monotonous pattern might not appeal to all marble lovers.
Dish sets are an effective way of elevating your home decor, whether they’re on display in a cabinet or showcased at a big dinner party. If you consider your lifestyle and budget, there are plenty of options for people who are looking for new dishware. The wide variety of available patterns and colors also ensure that there’s something to fit your style, ranging from farmhouse rustic to modern simplicity. While it isn’t a necessity for every home, a dish set might just make you feel a little more put together when it comes to mealtimes.