Dinnerware buying guide


Whether you’re looking to create the perfect dinner party table, or just want some practical, hard wearing and easy to clean pieces for everyday use, you’ll find a great range of dinnerware at Homebase.

What are the different types of tableware?

The terms dinnerware and tableware cover a wide spectrum of different products, including: 

Crockery / Dinner sets

These are your plates, bowls, cups, mugs and occasional crockery, like egg cups. Available in a comprehensive range of colours, styles, shapes and sizes, they come sold individually, or in dinner sets.
Dinner sets usually include matching dinner plates, side plates and bowls, and may also include additional mugs.


In addition to everyday knives, forks and spoons, you can also choose from more specialist cutlery options. These include steak knives, fish knives and cake forks.
Generally sold in matching sets, they are available in a wide range of different colours and designs to match your perfect table scheme.

Serving ware

This includes practical pieces like dishes, serving bowls and trays, as well as occasional pieces like gravy boats and butter dishes. Many pieces of serving ware can also double up as oven dishes.
For formal dining, it’s best to ensure that your serving ware matches or complements your crockery and diner sets.


Different drinks should be served in the appropriate glasses. Having a broad selection of matching glassware will ensure that you’re prepared for every occasion.
From classic to contemporary, you’ll find a fantastic range of drinking glasses to match your individual style at Homebase.

Table linen & place mats

The right tablecloth and mats can transform any table – turning an ordinary dinner into a special occasion, and adding a finishing touch to your table scheme. They are also really practical, helping to

How to build the right dinnerware collection

Before buying your dinnerware, it’s a good idea to think about the overall look you’re trying to achieve. So think of your tableware as accessories that are there to enhance your interior design scheme. As part of this, it’s a good idea to consider how each individual piece will work with your existing furniture and colour scheme.
There are a huge number of different styles, designs and materials available, so try to go for sets that complement each other. Get it right, and you’ll have a unique table scheme that will match your individual style, and enhance the look of your home.
It’s a good idea to start with the essentials (your cutlery, crockery and glasses), before adding your serve ware and table linen.

How do I set a formal dinner table?

A formal table should have a tablecloth, mats and coasters. The dinner plate is placed on top of the place mat with a soup bowl centred on top. Side plates for bread are placed to the left. Forks are placed on the left and knives to the right with first course cutlery placed furthest out.
Dessert spoons are placed above the plate, facing left, with a dessert fork (optional) underneath the spoon, and facing right. Soup spoons are positioned to the right of the knives.

How do I choose the right tablecloth?

When picking a tablecloth, you want to find one that’s large enough to cover the entire table. It should hang comfortably over each edge, without smothering the table.
Material wise, vinyl is really practical, and great for everyday use. It’s both resistant to liquid and can be easily wiped clean between meals. Cotton and linen offer a smarter look, but aren't as practical, as they tend to soak up liquids, and stain more easily.
To add a formal touch, you can also add a table runner – a thinner strip of tablecloth that sits on top of your tablecloth and runs the length of your table. 

Are place mats and coasters necessary?

Place mats and coasters aren't just for effect – they are also there to protect your table. If you've got a wooden table, they are pretty much essential, and will help reduce the chances of ring marks, scorching and scratches. With glass tables, they are optional, and there for presentation.
Discover our range of place mats and coasters here 

What serving ware should I buy?

How much serving ware you need comes down to the meals you like to cook. Generally, you’ll want at least 2 or 3 serving dishes for your vegetables and side dishes. Maybe a few more if you've got a big family, or like to make sharing meals. 

Which glasses do I need?

For a formal dining table, you’ll want to provide a tall glass or tumbler for water (and a jug for the table) in addition to your wine glasses. If you’re serving different wine with different courses, it’s best to have a different glass for each. As a rule, white wine should be served in smaller, narrower glasses, and red wine should be served in larger, wider glasses.

Was this guide useful?

Find your perfect product