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12 Plates Dreamy Enough for a Gallery, Tough Enough for a Dishwasher

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For years, my roommate and I ate off of orange plastic plates embossed with her college mascot. (It was a knight.) They were scratched and chipped, and most definitely ready to retire. But we were fresh out of school, and matching, company-worthy dinnerware was a luxury we only dreamed of. I wish we had known about melamine.

Lighter and more durable than china or stoneware, melamine doesn’t break or bend. It’s dishwasher-safe and, as of late, comes in a variety of breathtaking designs. Long celebrated as an outdoor entertaining essential, it’s also an affordable starter set for current or recent grads. Heck, there are some melamine plates and platters out there pretty enough to be considered art. To prove it, here are 12 of my favorites, both from our Shop and beyond. (Don’t worry, no knights.)

Inspired by Nature

From vibrant florals to the organic curves and asymmetry of hand-thrown pottery, these melamine dishes embrace a natural vibe. These can be your very own Van Gogh's Sunflowers... but in plastic form. Check out the cheery buds, zippy bees, and fantastic fronds below.

Floral Print Melamine Plates (Set of 4)

Floral Print Melamine Plates (Set of 4)

$68
S/4 Draper Lily Melamine Dinner Plates

S/4 Draper Lily Melamine Dinner Plates

Isla Melamine Dinnerware

Isla Melamine Dinnerware

$28$45
Paint + Petals Melamine Dinner Plate

Paint + Petals Melamine Dinner Plate

Busy Bees Melamine Plates

Busy Bees Melamine Plates

Sandia Melamine Dinnerware (Set of 6)

Sandia Melamine Dinnerware (Set of 6)

$65$95

Abstract Beauties

Maybe you're more of a conceptual artiste, finding inspiration in Jackson Pollock or Mark Rothko. Pick a plate (or tray!) that fits your mood: bubbly, brooding, zany, calm. And the best part? Each person's taste will give them a different interpretation.

Fête Melamine Dinnerware

Fête Melamine Dinnerware

$28$45
Juliska Splatter and Spin Melamine Dessert/Salad Plate

Juliska Splatter and Spin Melamine Dessert/Salad Plate

Ebru Print Melamine Plates (Set of 4)

Ebru Print Melamine Plates (Set of 4)

$68
Geometric Print Melamine Plates (Set of 4)

Geometric Print Melamine Plates (Set of 4)

$68
Mesa Melamine Plate

Mesa Melamine Plate

Ebru Print Melamine Trays (Set of 3)

Ebru Print Melamine Trays (Set of 3)

$55

This'll look great on any plate

What's your favorite melamine design? Share your thoughts in the comments below!