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Dinnerware: Settings & Serveware
An important part of buying dinnerware is deciding how many place settings you need, what you would like included in each place setting, and what additional serving pieces you’ll need. Not an etiquette expert? Take a look at our quick and easy dinnerware guide to get the details on each piece of common dinnerware.

Elements of a Place Setting
Dinnerware sets usually come with 4 or 6 settings, which means all the pieces you’ll need for that many people. Each place setting usually consists of the following pieces:
Dinner Plate: The largest plate in the setting, used for the main course.
Salad/Dessert Plate: A smaller plate, usually 4–8” across, used for appetizers, salad, and desserts.
Bread & Butter Plate: The smallest plate in the setting, used for bread and rolls, or for olive oil & vinegar for dipping. This piece is no longer always included in dinnerware sets (soup bowls are often included instead).
Soup/Cereal Bowl: All-purpose bowls used for soup, cereal, desserts, and more.
Teacup & Saucer: A small handled cup that rests on a plate with a recessed center, preventing drips and allowing space for a teaspoon and other coffee or tea items. Teacups and saucers are now often replaced with mugs in dinnerware sets.

In addition to place settings, you’ll need to purchase serveware pieces for serving. Sometimes dinnerware sets include serveware pieces, or allow you to buy a “completer set” of serveware in addition to your place settings. You may want to ensure the dinnerware you’re purchasing is open stock, meaning you can purchase individual pieces and not just sets. This will allow you to purchase only the place setting and serveware items you’re sure you’ll use. Below are the most common serveware items:
Platter: A large oval or round plate usually used for turkey, ham, and other large portions of meat.
Vegetable Bowl: An oval dish, usually with a base and lid to keep veggies, mashed potatoes, and stews warm.
Serving Bowl: A large bowl used for salads, fruit, grains, and more.
Gravy Boat & Stand: A deep dish with a spout for easy pouring of gravy and other sauces. Often a stand is included to prevent dripping.
Pickle/Relish Dish: A long, narrow dish for cold condiments and snacks, appetizers, and more.
Creamer: A small boat with a spout for pouring cream for coffee.
Sugar Bowl: Usually a bowl with two handles and a lid for dispensing sugar for coffee and breakfasts.
Teapot: A short, squat pot and lid for steeping and serving tea.
Cofeepot: A taller and narrower pot with a lid and spout for retaining heat and pouring coffee.