The Shop

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

August 24, 2018

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.

S/4 Draper Lily Melamine Dinner Plates
Paint + Petals Melamine Dinner Plate
Busy Bees Melamine Plates

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.

Juliska Splatter and Spin Melamine Dessert/Salad Plate
Mesa Melamine Plate

This'll look great on any plate

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

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.

1 Comment

Erika L. August 25, 2018
Some of these are truly beautiful, but I still am just stuck in the fact that melamine is plastic. Period. To each their own of course, but I think this world could use a heck of a lot less of all Plastic Products. Sticking with the traditional, thanks.