Choose the best white dishes, according to tastemakers
It’s entertaining season, and maybe you’re hosting Thanksgiving for the first time. Or maybe you’re getting married and merging households. Whether planning a dinner or planning for the future, you’re going to need dinnerware. And experts agree: Choose white.
Interior designers, cookbook authors, food stylists and home design bloggers choose white dishes because of their timelessness and versatility. “White is the perfect option because it always looks fresh, and it’s so easy to add to or update, or keep it fancy or make it everyday, because you can go every direction and it’s never off-putting to anyone,” says Michel
Smith Boyd, an interior designer in Atlanta and one of this year’s style spotters for High Point Market, a home furnishings and design event.
“You can add personality with bread plates, glasses, a charger. If you have a basic set of white, it will take you so far.”
Just as there are many shades of white, there are also many different types of white dinnerware, so we asked tastemakers for their advice and recommendations.
“I’m obsessed,” says Boyd about Crate & Barrel’s stackable porcelain Loganbowls ($44.95 for eight, crateandbarrel.com). “What I look for more than anything for daily use is something sturdy that will mix with what I already own. These bowls stack, with an almost-3-inch rim. ... They’re kind of contemporary.” Pieces of the Logan collection are sold individually or in sets of eight (eight dinner plates, for example), and eight four-piece place settings would run $179.80. To set a trendy table this season, Boyd says to think about white dinnerware mixed with two other elements: Muted neutral pottery and wooden serving spoons or, if you lean modern, black cloth napkins and accent dishes in a primary color.
Nik Sharma, food blogger, food columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle and author of the cookbook “Season: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food,” loves color in his food, not in his dinnerware. “I like color, especially in vegetables and salads. Sometimes ingredients like balsamic vinegar are so dark, and then when you put them on a dark plate, you can’t see them. I like to see them,” he says. He likes a warmer white for entertaining, and
uses the stoneware textured dinnerware set from West Elm often ($129 for four place settings of dinner plates, salad plates, bowls and mugs, westelm.com). Each type of dish from the set is also sold in sets of four; dip bowls are also available.
To Myquillyn Smith, advocate for “cozy minimalism,” white is the obvious choice for dishware. It can be dressed down for everyday use and dressed up for dinner parties, just like a great pair of jeans. “I want a simplified collection of dishes that stack easily, look great together and take a beating from our family,” she says, recommending the Avesta stoneware from Project 62 ($19.99 for four threepiece place settings of dinner plates, salad plates and bowls, target.com). As the North Carolina blogger writes in her new book, “Cozy Minimalist Home: More Style, Less Stuff,” “the home exists to serve the people and not the other way around.”
Apilco’s Tuileries dishes will “last a lifetime,” says Katie Jacobs, an entertaining expert from Nashville and author of “So Much to Celebrate: Entertaining the Ones You Love the Whole Year.” “They’ll never scratch. They’re restaurant-grade.” ($383.80 for four place settings of dinner plates, salad plates, soup plates, cups and saucers, williams-sonoma.com). For holidays, she’d pair them with a paper tablecloth, a big bowl of Christmas ornaments and a handmade place card, “an additional touch that makes your guest feel special.” Some pieces are also sold individually and in sets of four.
Newlyweds Elyse Maguire and her husband had a shortlist when they registered for china: It must be dishwasher-safe, slightly edgy and fancy enough for dinner parties. Together, they agreed on Spin Ceramics’ reinforced white bone china in the Free Loop pattern ($135 for one dinner plate, one salad plate, one soup bowl, one cup and one saucer, spinceramics.com). “They are very simple but have an organic, asymmetrical design,” says the Parsons School of Design graduate and textile designer who founded a knitwear company on Cape Cod. “They make an elegant place setting for dinner parties but they’re still practical enough to use every day.”
Crate & Barrel’s stackable porcelain Logan bowls.
Apilco’s Tuileries dishes. Design experts agree that white dishes can be used for daily meals as well as special occasions.