Tableware can have more of an impact on décor than you think, and choosing a popular, elegant brand is a simple way to improve your home. It can add just the right amount of cohesion to a room, or accent your dining room, and consequently add to the "vibe" of any food and drink-related gatherings or parties you might have. Plates, silverware, and glassware can be objects of beauty just like your furniture, light fixtures, and even objects made solely for ornamental purposes. So, what are some of the more popular tableware brands? What are their overarching styles? Which types of tableware are they best for?
Mikasa is most known for specializing in crystal stemware, vases, bowls, and mostly decorative objects. However, in the latter half of the 20th century, they have ventured into ceramic dinnerware, serveware, flatware, barware, and other decorative items. This led to an overall diversification of their design and style, such that their once-identifiable formality has relaxed a bit, especially in everyday dinnerware sets and items. A lot of their stemware remains traditional in style, blending in well with country French or more baroque styles. Mikasa makes products great for displaying in any glass/china cabinets or on dining room buffet tables. Otherwise, you can find a more neutral design styles to compliment most types of furniture fairly easily.
Dansk has been specializing in Scandinavian design since the mid 20th-century; their designs are known for using natural materials, clean lines and a relatively simple style overall. Though their drinkware and serveware would look most at home with Dutch Modern furniture, the simplicity of a lot of their designs can blend in well with almost any type of décor while retaining an air of stylishness and sophistication. If you want to get a bit more stylized, however, a lot of their flatware can have a bit more flair, as well as their wonderfully rich wooden accessories that make you feel like you're in a Bergman movie sans the bleak existential despair.
Though you might associate Bodum first with French presses and coffee accessories, they do carry a range of kitchenware, serveware, drinkware, textiles, storage jars, and flatware. Bodum is company from Denmark that aims to make inexpensive, well-designed products. Their overall style takes cues from industrial design, so form follows functionality. Like their famous French presses and electronic items, their tableware is modernistic and sleek. You'll really want to pay attention to their drinkware, both ceramic mugs and variety of attractive glasses (no stemware, however). Like Dansk, because their designs tend to be simple, they blend well almost anywhere, especially if you're just starting to build your collection of kitchen items in your home. However, if you're looking for more stylized pieces, remember that Bodum deals more in the coffee-related arena
Bambu is of course most identifiable by its use of bamboo in nearly all the products they manufacture. The reason for this is that they place a lot of emphasis on using renewable materials and sustainable practices, claiming that their bamboo is sustainably harvested, fertilizer and pesticide-free, and contains only water-based formaldehyde-free adhesives. Their tableware includes coiled bamboo and coconut bowls, cork cowls and trays, hand-woven nesting baskets, single-use bamboo veneerware plates and utensils that become biodegradable in four to six weeks, bamboo utensils, and bamboo-laminate serveware. Most of Bambu's designs have very simple lines, reminiscent of Scandinavian and modernist design, complimenting the colors of cork and bamboo very well. The most notable of their items is the very unique single-use bamboo veneerware: an amazing alternative to paper plates and plastic utensils that does wonders for a party's décor while retaining the low-maintenance clean-up factor of paper and plastic plates/forks that, in comparison, seem so déclassé.
Pottery Barn started out as a specialty store in lower Manhattan, and has retained its value for traditional, conventional styles of décor. In a way, you can see them as the gourmet comfort food of home décor. A lot of their dishware items have roots in colonial New England and styles associated with one season or another, though there are a few collections that are a bit simpler and plain. Their silverware is the most traditionally styled you can find, especially in comparison with Scandinavian styles like Dansk. Pottery Barn glassware, on the other hand, can vary quite a bit, with a full range of different styles that fit a variety of purposes and occasions. The bottom line, though, is that shopping at Pottery Barn has the excitement of buying charming vintage items with the added benefit of those items actually being brand new.
If Pottery Barn reveres tradition, Crate and Barrel is modern design's answer to the chain home store. Though they're not quite as stylistically inclined as other modern design stores or chains, most of their items tend to have that edge. Their dishware ranges rather dramatically in price, as you'll find more unique designs as the prices go up. However, their simple, plainer designs, in addition to being very affordable, can be very stylish, with a wide range of options. The majority of their silverware strikes a balance between traditionalism and modernism, making most sets a safe bet. The best thing about Crate and Barrel items are the details, textiles, and accents—these are the items you should splurge on. Napkin rings, table linens, cloth napkins, and placemats are definitely where you should start looking.
Corelle tableware really has everything for everyone in terms of style, and they pride themselves in the durability of their items. They use a unique material called Vitrelle that makes their tableware particularly durable. It's chip-resistant, microwave safe, fade-resistant, and lightweight. Their glassware also uses tempered glass in order to be break-resistant. Corelle tablewear is best for people who are just starting their household, college kids moving out for the first time, people on a budget, and for those that prefer country French décor. There are a variety of styles you can find, but the majority of their selection caters to a country French sensibility.