I love the soothing desert colors of Heath ceramics. The crispy blue and white toile de jouy design of classic Spode dinnerware can make any breakfast feel like a morning in France. The exuberant patterns of Versace dinnerware always feels like a party. But, when it came down to purchasing my first set of dinner plates for a party, I went white. Clean, simple, versatile, white plates can go formal with silver flatware and crystal glasses or casual with jelly jar glasses and stainless steel knives and forks. Mix and match it with other white pieces, from Ironstone platters picked up at the flea market to delicately molded bone china bowls.
White dinnerware is available at all price points, and from swap meets to restaurant supply stores to more expensive versions. And, of course white plays well with all colors and patterns, including its sisters cream and ivory. Eying expensive dinnerware like those Heath Ceramics we mentioned? As Emily suggested, slowly collect pieces over time. They don't have to sit in the closet gathering dust, either. Mingle them in with your white dinnerware even if you've only managed to purchase a few pieces. It's more modern if your dinner table isn't matchy-matchy. Show off your new dishes among your white pieces, subbing one of your new plate for a white one at one setting, swapping a bowl out in another setting. And when your new set is complete? Pass your old white dishes on to someone who needs them.
(Image: Lisa Leonard)