A Simple Guide to the Different Types of Tableware

Who says that tableware is boring?! Nowadays, manufacturers have surpassed themselves when it comes to creating tableware which means that today’s models can be everything but boring. With the huge choice of table ware, now you can make every meal a special occasion. But before making any rash decision, there are some important things you should know in order to make the right choice.

As we all know, tableware or also known as dishware is used for dining purposes and serving food, and it includes a variety of items like all kinds of plates, bowls, glassware, cutlery, etc. Table or place setting is the term used for the dishes, whereas glassware and cutlery used for both formal and informal dining. The setting and arrangement of the table, as well as the table decoration, mainly depend on the occasion, so with this comes the need for the different types of table ware. They are available in a range of materials, out of which tableware made of ceramic materials is the most commonly used form.


Earthware is one of the oldest industrial types of ceramic materials, and one that is valuable, durable and appealing as well. This type of material is usually glazed and fired, it is thick and heavy and looks rustic. Although durable, when compared to the other types of ceramics, earthware can get easily chipped and stained because of its porous properties.


When compared to earthware, stoneware is more durable because it contains vitreous (glass) material in it for extra strength. Stoneware is also a thicker type of material that can be finished with a variety of glaze textures like matte, satin or shiny finish. This type of tableware is usually used in casual and everyday table settings, thus informal. Provided it is of good quality, stoneware can be very versatile, easy to maintain and used in the microwave, oven, dishware and freezer.


Porcelain is a type of tableware made of a fine particle clay that consist of kaolin, feldspar, and quartz fired at high temperatures. This makes porcelain dinnerware nonporous and extremely durable. Generally speaking, porcelain is a thin type of material ideal for more formal dining occasions. However, porcelain can also be used every day to make any type of meal and occasion more elegant.

Bone China

Bone china is a type of material made of soft-paste porcelain that is composed of kaolin, bone ash (made from animal bones) and feldspathic materials. And because it is fired at a lower temperature (when compared to porcelain), bone china is considered more lightweight and delicate. Despite this appearance, bone china is one of the strongest and most durable types of ceramic materials. This type of material is also dishwasher, microwave and oven safe, unless it has some metallic accents. Just like porcelain, bone china can be used for both formal and informal occasions.

There are also some other types of materials used for dishware like wood, glass, silver, gold, acrylic and plastic, however the ceramic materials are the most commonly used types.

When it comes to the types of tableware, there are four different types: serve ware, dinnerware, flatware (silverware), and drinkware (glassware).

Serve ware is used for serving both food and drinks and it consists of serving bowls and platters, soup pots, salad bowls, dessert bowls, casseroles, teapots, pitches, carafes, salt and pepper servers, serving spoons, a pair of tongs, ladle and gravy boats.

Dinnerware refers to serving only food and that includes plates and bowls and some other special types, however, teacups with saucer and cutlery are also included.

Silverware or also known as flatware is an important type of tableware as it refers to the cutlery – spoons, forks and knives.

Drinkware or also known as glassware is used for drinking and it includes glasses, cups and mugs.

All types of tableware come in different sizes, shapes and finishes which can significantly ease your choice.