How to Choose Dinner Plates

Sure, it's the food served on them that matters the most, but beautiful dinner plates that complement your table and room can immediately set your meal off to a great start!

Have you already thought about practical matters such as whether or not they're dishwasher-safe? Let us share our best tips on how to choose dinner plates that actually match your needs.

Should I Choose Individual Dinner Plates or a Set?

First things first!

  • We recommend dinner plate sets as they're the most practical and cost-effective choice, perfect to create a cohesive look! There are sets to cater for any household, but you might want to take frequent guests into account, too.

  • If you're after an odd number of plates, you'd like to have them in the same design but different colors, or you live on your own and would rather order pizza than cook for your occasional guests, then it makes sense to choose individual pieces.

What Is the Right Size & Shape for Dinner Plates?

The average dinner plate is 10.5" in diameter. Bigger plates allow you to frame the food more effectively and turn your dinners into restaurant-worthy experiences, but smaller ones are ideal if you're tight on space in your cupboard, table or dishwasher.

As for shape, well… there's a reason why the classic round plates have stood the test of time: they're practical and space-optimizing! They can either be:

  • Rim-shaped: timeless, traditional, and perfect to collect the food's juices;

  • Coupe-shaped: rimless and flat, these plates are ideal for a minimalist look and to keep the focus on the food.

Rim-shaped Dinner Plate in White and Brown
Round Dinner Plate in Aqua Blue
Round Decorative Dinner Plate
White Oval 2 Piece Dinner Plate Set
Grey Coupe-shaped Dinner Plate
Coupe-shaped Dinner Plate in Rustic Brown

However, if you want to try something different:

  • Square plates inspire a modern-chic-dining feel and are easy to handle, but could chip at the edges;

  • Rectangular plates (either oval or straight-edged) are handy if you often cook dishes that involve a small side next to a main course, such as burgers and fries, but they'll be very impractical for other dishes like risottos;

  • Triangular shapes aren't the most versatile but can certainly help you convey a modern and quirky feel.

Small Square Dinner Plates
Small Decorative Square Dinner Plates
Big Rectangular White Dinner Plate
White Rectangular Dinner Plate
White Triangular Dinner Plate
Green Leaf Triangular Dinner Plate

What Is the Best Material for Dinner Plates?

Consider washability and durability as well as your kitchen's or dining room's décor: to make sure that your plates stand out, choose a hue that contrasts against your table or cloth, perhaps in your room's accent color.

  • Ceramic is the most popular option, and mainly comes in 3 types:

    • Earthenware/stoneware: heavy, sturdy and casual, these budget-friendly sets are perfect for everyday dinnerware that still looks stylish; however, they aren't always dishwasher-safe nor oven/microwave-safe;

    • Porcelain China: usually white, this is a non-porous ceramic option that's also durable and practical, because… yep, you've guessed it: it can go in dishwashers, ovens or microwaves (except when it contains metallic accents!);

    • Bone China: despite being rather lightweight and particularly elegant, this is actually the strongest type of China and is even microwavable and dishwasher-safe! Bear in mind that 'bone' isn't just a funny name: it does come from animal bones and clay, so it's probably not the best option for vegans;

Porcelain China Dinner Plate in White and Blue
Porcelain China Dinner Plate in White
Classic Bone China Dinner Plate
Double Bone China Dinner Plate
Tricolor Stoneware Dinner Plate
Colorful Stoneware Dinner Plate
  • Melamine: plastic-derived but BPA-free, melamine plates aren't microwavable but are dishwasher-safe and incredibly resistant: true lifesavers if you have kids, a clumsy partner or enjoy eating al fresco!
White Glazed Melamine Dinner Plate
Traditional Styled Melamine Dinner Plate
Melamine Dinner Plate in Blue
Round Melamine Dinner Plate in Sea Blue
Ribbon Round Melamine Dinner Plate White
Floral Melamine Dinner Plate
  • Wood or bamboo: extremely resistant, the fact that they aren't microwavable nor dishwasher-safe shouldn't stop anyone who loves all things natural and sustainable!

  • Purchasing your dinner plates for special occasions? Consider sophisticated options such as glass or crystal; however, keep in mind that they're particularly delicate and fragile;

Dark Brown Wood Dinner Plate
Round Wood Dinner Plate
Square Bamboo Dinner Plate
Gold Glass Dinner Plate
Reflective Glass Dinner Plate
Round Glass Dinner Plate in Blue and Yellow
  • Although a bit rarer and not microwavable, you can also find metal plates such as:

    • Stainless steel: more expensive but amazingly durable, these plates most certainly won't chip, and can easily complement any industrial kitchen;

    • Enamel: this porcelain-coated metal offers more color options and designs, giving you the best of both worlds.

Don't forget that, while some materials are usually dishwasher/oven/microwave-safe, it's always better to double-check when browsing individual sets, as some might differ from the majority.

Stainless Steel Dinner Plate
Square Stainless Steel Dinner Plate
Black and White Enamelware Dinner Plate
White and Blue Enamelware Dinner Plate
Lobster Enamelware Dinner Plate
Dark Blue Enamelware Dinner Plate

Quick Tips

  • Buying a cohesive set is more practical and cost-effective than purchasing individual plates

  • Most dinner plates are 10.5", but you might want to consider bigger or smaller options depending on how much room you've got in your cupboard and on your table

  • Round plates are still the most practical and space-optimizing, but square, rectangular or triangular shapes can help you convey a specific restaurant-like or modern feel

  • Even though some materials are usually safe to go in the dishwasher/oven/microwave, you should always double-check their specifications when choosing dinner plates from a specific set.

Foter Magazine is a premier architecture, decoration, interiors and design website. We inspire and guide you to make your home a more attractive place.


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