Tips for Finding the Perfect Modern Dinnerware

A year from now I will be boogying down the aisle, with all the hair-pulling of the wedding planning finally behind me (at least, I hope!).  So far, the important things have fallen perfectly into place.  The most stressful part so far? Creating our registry!

Up until now, most of the items for our home have been in the realm of Ikea purchases–affordable, good enough for now, and not built to last.  Thanks to the wonder of Craigslist, they also cycle through our home relatively quickly.  Now that the wedding planning is in gear, I feel completely overwhelmed at the prospect of deciding on THE style of flatware I’m going to use for the next 20 years, not to mention the towels, glasses, and especially the dinnerware.


Custom Dinnerware by Little Wren Pottery, $10.21-$25.53.

Deciding on an every-day dinnerware pattern can be a challenge.  Unusual colors and textures can look dated over time, and may not adapt as easily to changes in your linens or any updates you make in your dining room.  Simple, restaurant-style white sets are a safe and classic choice, but just aren’t very exciting.

So, here are my tips for finding the perfect modern dinnerware–whether you’re creating your wedding registry or are ready to retire an old set!


Coupe Dinnerware by Heath Ceramics, $18-$87.

1. Choose a neutral, whether it be white, black, grey, cream, oatmeal, etc.  Bold colors and patterns can be fun, but you may not love it a few years down the road (it’s much easier to mix in less expensive, colorful linens than to purchase new dishes!).  If you must have color somewhere, you can mix in inexpensive salad plates later on.

New Norm Dinnerware, $19.95-$54.95

New Norm Dinnerware, $19.95-$54.95*

*Available in the US at Menu Design Shop.

2. Make sure the pattern has one or two subtle, interesting elements you really enjoy–whether it be a geometric shape, a translucent glaze, or a beautiful, pale color like the New Norm dinnerware above.


Black Clay Dinnerware by CB2, $5.95-$14.95.

3. Before deciding on a pattern, make sure you handle it first! Ceramic is such a tactile medium, you want to be absolutely positive you like the texture, glaze, and even weight before you register for an entire set.  Dishes that are too heavy can be awkward to handle, while too-light dishes can appear to be low-quality or fragile.


Dinnerware Set by Ashley Lin Pottery, $81.93 per setting.

4. If possible, buy a plate/and or bowl to bring home and “test”.  How does it look in your space? Does it get too hot in the microwave?  Is the style congruent with your bakeware and cookware? (If you’re really daring, you could even test how fragile it is!)


Hasami Modular Dinnerware available at Muhs Home, $6-$55.

After some serious searching, I found that there really are some beautiful choices for dinnerware that are both modern and organic, textured and minimalist. I’m going to try to narrow them down, but I wish I could have them all!

Which one is your favorite?  Do you have any tips or advice on choosing a dinnerware pattern?

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Comments (5 )
  • Kristen
    | 19 February 2015

    Nothing is forever (well — except the marriage…!!!). Go with white. I love Crate & Barrel’s selection (hello OUTLET!). I got my pieces about 10 years ago — and I’m finding that certain pieces are ready to be replaced (bowls, esp). But that’s the fun part! I’d say pick out what you like now – and in 10 years, if/when your taste has changed, you can get new stuff.

    • annabode
      | 19 February 2015

      Thanks Kristen, that’s great advice! I think you’re right–white is the way to go. Where I’m having trouble is that I really like organic shapes–I want them to at least look, if not be, handmade–but I don’t want them to be heavy or to get too hot in the microwave. In a perfect world, I would buy one of each in this post and test them out before deciding. I’m leaning towards Little Wren Pottery, Heath, or Ashley Lin Pottery at the moment. Decisions, decisions!

  • Diana
    | 14 April 2017

    Spending on a good dinnerware is advised, I have spent most of my money on buying good dinnerware rather than wasting my money on some crazy stuff, When you present your food, It need to be presented on a good dinnerware. It really enhances the beauty of the food and make it look more delicious. I love my presentations and also my dinnerware.

  • S. lemon
    | 4 August 2018

    OMG – speaking as a much older person, I can’t imagine anything worse than trying to stick with one choice for life. What are you thinking? Just get what you love/need now, and don’t try to second guess the future (self, trends, fabulous things you may find, wealth, storage). At some point you may have several sets of china. Or you may dump everything. (I have about 15, and am ready to dump all.) Also, What seems expensive to you now will not seem like such a huge commitment in future. and for heaven’s sake, be considerate of your friends and make modest choices.
    NB You may be making choices for a future you will never have, so your best bet is usually to shop for the present time. you don’t know your future self yet, but take it from me, she doesn’t need stuff from you!

  • Taylor Hansen
    | 12 February 2021

    I like how you mentioned finding dinnerware that has one or two subtle patterns or a geometric shape. Since we just moved to a new house, I want to upgrade our plates and bowls to fit a more minimalist style. It seems like a good idea to find the right material first before choosing a pattern.

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