For years, my roommate and I ate off of orange plastic plates embossed with her college mascot (it was a knight). They were scratched, chipped, and most definitely ready to retire. But we were fresh out of school and collecting 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 designs to fit a breadth of different tastes. Long-celebrated as an outdoor entertaining essential, it’s also an affordable starter set for current or recent grads. There are even some melamine plates and platters out there pretty enough to be considered art. To prove it, here are 7 of my favorites, both from our Shop and beyond. (Don’t worry, no orange knights.)
1. Rio Dinner Plate Set,
These bright plates are ideal for anyone who gravitates toward bright colors and bold patterns. If minimalism isn't your game, add this set of 6 to your dinnerware collection.
2. Linen Look Dessert Plate Set,
Your table setting will feel like a summertime picnic table with these linen-look plates. The set of four can come in both a muted red and this soft yellow, which is perfect for anyone who likes to mix-and-match place settings.
3. Everyday Classic Dinnerware, $51+
If you prefer more classic and timeless designs, try this set of six from Tarhong. Available in dinner plates, soup plates, and coupe bowls, you can build out a full dinnerware collection with these virtually shatterproof dishes that come in white or a terrazzo print.
4. Fruit Dinner Plate, $22
Make your next barbecue or outdoor dinner party a little more fun with these summer-fruit-themed plates. Part of Vetri's Melamine Dinner Collection, these watermelon dishes don't have to stand alone, either—pair them with the other fruit-themed plates and platters.
5. Gingham BBQ Plate Set, $50.50+
Say goodbye to relying on flimsy paper plates to hold your favorite fresh-off-the-grill bites. With both burger trays and lidded bowls, you can confidently maneuver your overflowing plate from the grill to your seat at the next backyard barbecue.
6. Sandia Dinnerware Set, $36+
If warm earth tones are your thing, Fortessa's 16-piece terracotta-colored dinnerware set was essentially made for you. However, if you're someone who's looking to only bring in a few additions to your kitchen cabinet, these durable dishes also come in sets of four for the dinner plates, salad plates, pasta bowls, cereal bowls, and side bowls.
7. Berry & Thread Dinner Plate, $26
Part of Juliska's Berry & Thread Melamine Collection this textured dish is sure to get you a couple of compliments at your next dinner party.