Dinner Set Buying Guide

Dinner Set Buying Guide

Posted By: Maxwell & Williams

When we talk about setting the table, a dinner set is usually the first thing that comes to mind. Your selection of plates, bowls and accessories is the blank canvas for the meal and sets the tone of the occasion, whether it’s casual or formal; traditional or contemporary.

Selecting the right dinner set is all about matching your tableware with the way you like to eat and entertain. A good choice will have the right balance of style and practicality for your household and be well suited not only to your table, but also to your kitchen and the way you cook.

We’ve put together an easy guide to help you select the right dinner set for you, with a few essential care tips to make sure you can enjoy your tableware for years to come.

Choosing the right dinner set for you


The first thing to consider is the tone of your dinner set. Traditionally, dinner sets fall into ‘casual’ or ‘formal’ categories. Do you want something sturdy you can rely on every day? Or do you want something stylish and impressive for special occasions? Often the answer is a bit of both.

The contemporary approach to tone is flexible, as it’s not always practical to have an entirely separate dinner set just for entertaining. The Maxwell & Williams collection of dinner sets features a selection of everyday, classic designs (e.g. White Basics) which can easily be expanded into a more formal dinner set with the addition of a few more decorative pieces from other ranges (e.g. Caviar Granite). Don’t be afraid to mix and match.


The next consideration is what size you want your dinner set to be. Our dinner sets are available in a number of configurations.

18-piece dinner set
Great for dinner parties, with all the essentials and room to accessorise.
6 x dinner plates
6 x side plates
6 x bowls
16-piece dinner set
The most versatile option for any meal of the day – ideal for families.
4 x dinner plates
4 x side plates
4 x bowls
4 x mugs
12-piece dinner set
Perfect for smaller households, with just the basics for easy dining.
4 x dinner plates
4 x side plates
4 x bowls
3-piece dinner set
A thoughtful standalone gift, or an easy way to expand or complement a larger set.
1 x dinner plate
1 x side plate
1 x bowl

All of these dinner sets come beautifully gift boxed. This custom packaging makes a Maxwell & Williams dinner set a fantastic gift idea for a wedding or housewarming present.




The style of your dinner set will ideally reflect your personal taste – it should bring you pleasure every time you set the table.

From simple to decadent to fun and quirky, Maxwell & Williams has an unparalleled range of designs to choose from. Experiment with styles and textures, and consider your home décor and any accessories or napery when making your decision.


Choose the shape of dinnerware which best matches your style. Square, oblong or oval plates have an edgier, more contemporary feel, while round shapes retain a classic appeal.

Coupe or rimmed

Many collections will feature different varieties of bowl, mug and plate shapes, either coupe (rimless) or with a rim. Plates and bowls with a rim have a slightly more formal feel and are designed for meals with liquids/juices which may ‘splash’ during cutting or eating. Coupe plates and bowls are more informal, designed for dishes which can be eaten without further cutting, like salads or stir-fries.



Dinnerware accessories and specialty servingware

Now that you’ve chosen your core dinner set, it’s time to select the accessories and signature pieces which really add the finishing touches to your table.

Finding the right tableware accessories is a very personal choice, and should take into account how you serve and eat your meals.

Platters and serving bowls

If you enjoy entertaining or serving big shared meals, then platters, boards and serving bowls are must-haves for your table. Choose a shape and style that complements your dinner set. Platters and serving bowls are an excellent way to add interest to your setting with different colours and patterns.

Jugs and pitchers

An elegant and convenient way to serve drinks at the table, jugs and pitchers are also gorgeous statement pieces. They’re the perfect choice for making an impact and can be used for drinks or as a centrepiece filled with fresh flowers or foliage.

Gravy boats and sauce boats

Gravy boats and sauce boats are designed to make pouring easy and reduce drips and spills – and they add a little sophistication to the presentation of roast meats.

Trivets and coasters

Available in a huge range of different designs and materials, coasters and trivets are a stylish way to protect your surfaces.

Tea and coffee accessories

Creamers, sugar bowls and milk jugs are must-haves for any host who likes to end a meal with a comforting cup of tea or coffee.

Cake stands

Whether it’s for high tea or the end of a dinner party, cake stands and comports bring a touch of drama to your favourite sweet treats.

Caring for your dinnerware

A few simple guidelines can help to keep your dinner set in magnificent condition for years to come.


The two most common materials in Maxwell & Williams dinnerware are porcelain and fine bone china.


Porcelain is the most versatile ceramic for dinnerware, made from clay, white granite stone and quartz. It is always glazed and, dependent on any surface decorations, is microwave and dishwasher safe. Your porcelain dinnerware should not be used in oven except for warming.

Fine bone china

Fine bone china is made from china clay, china stone and bone ash, and is the highest quality ceramic used for tableware. Dependent upon any surface decorations, bone china tableware is dishwasher safe, microwave safe and oven safe.


It’s always best to wash dishes straight away to remove any acidic food residues.

When hand-washing your dinnerware, wash each dish individually. It can help to place a plastic tub inside the sink to cushion the dish from the stainless steel of the basin. Use mild liquid detergent and a soft-bristled brush or non-abrasive cloth to wash each dish, and dry thoroughly before putting away.

If using a dishwasher, take care not to overload the rack, and keep cutlery and any metal pots or pans away from your dinnerware. Items may move during the wash cycle, and even light contact can scratch or chip your dishes.


When stacking your dishes, place something soft like a napkin between them to avoid scratching.