A friend recently asked me to recommend something to replace their everyday china. They particularly wanted something a little more interesting than "Crate and Barrel/Williams Sonoma type fare but not more expensive." Not having bought plates in a long time, I loved the opportunity to savor the possibility. Here's what I came up with.
First of all, I always recommend white. I know some of you may love color and pattern (go for it), but for your default set of everyday china, white works best in the home and makes all foods look good. No one will get fired for stocking white china :-).
Not all my picks are as affordable as Crate and W-S, but they get pretty close and they're much more unique and special. Your friends probably don't have them.
• PlateBowlCup by Jasper Morrison for Alessi - Boiled down to its essence by Jasper, this set goes with his "KnifeForkSpoon" cutlery (2005). Bone china. From $20.
• Bath China by Terence Conran - Made in Stoke-on-Trent, this bone china collection is Sir Terence's answer to your everyday tabletop. Traditional manufacture with a modern aesthetic. From $35.
• Ovale Collection by The Bouroullecs for Alessi - This super cool new design from the B-Brothers is distinctive and different but sooooo simple. Stoneware. From $30.
• Teema by Kaj Franck for Iittala - Designed in 1952, the Teema collection is as fresh as it ever was and comes in a wide variety of colors as well. Porcelain. From $16.
• Classic Dinner Whites from Fishs Eddy - We have these too. A bit heavier like a restaurant service, these plates are nonetheless very satisfying to serve on and clean. They're about as plain as you get, tough and affordable too. From $2.95.
• Maison Dinnerware from Crate & Barrel - ok, so this is C&B, but IF you really want to know, I like this set and we use it at home for everyday. It's very affordable. From $4.