Set your table in style

An elegantly laid dining room table is the perfect dressing to your room and can set the tone for a sophisticated dinner party. These days, dinnerware sets are so affordable and are available in so many designs, you'll have no trouble reconciling your style and your budget. But before you head out to find your perfect pieces, brush up on the following dinnerware basics.

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The Dinnerware Set… and Beyond!

Ordinarily, a dinnerware set consists of dinner plates and sandwich plates, soup bowls or salad bowls, and either coffee cups or tea cups, all in the same or a complementary pattern. Beyond this, the pieces you choose to complement your dinnerware (and your choice in the set itself) will likely be dictated by the type of entertaining you do.

Casual Dinnerware

If you're not that into dinner parties and the only people you entertain at your dining room table are your kids, casual dinnerware is probably all you'll need. A basic china dinnerware or stoneware dinnerware set that is dishwasher safe and break resistant will probably suit your purposes. Microwave safe dinnerware is also a must if your family tends to dine at different times.

With patterns ranging from traditional floral to modern geometric, you don't have to compromise style for functionality in your casual dinnerware. Throw in some quirky cups or complementary drinking glasses and no one will be able to tell your table was designed with kids in mind!

Formal Dinnerware

If you feel like stepping it up a notch and you live for lavish dinner parties, consider thinking outside the box with your dinner dishes. Porcelain dinnerware is a classic choice, with antique patterns or delicate designs adding a traditional elegance. If your look is more contemporary, Asian-inspired colors or bold geometrics give your table a look straight out of a magazine. Experiment with shapes as well – square and rectangular pieces are replacing round plates and cups.

You can also spruce up your dinner party with appropriate and elegant beverage options. Wine glasses, champagne glasses and even martini glasses (depending on what you're drinking) all add a touch of class to your table. Cap your entire set off with the right choice in table covers and the dinner conversation will be all about your great design taste.

The Price of a Beautiful Table

It may seem like setting a lavish table has to cost you an arm and a leg, but discount dinnerware is everywhere these days. You can find dinnerware sets at a great bargain or opt for affordable individual dinner dishes that allow you to build your own set. With prices so low, you can afford Christmas dinnerware or other holiday dinnerware, or you can change your dishes with the season. Just make sure your kitchen cabinet can hold it all!