Different Types of Tableware for Serving and Eating

Updated on 06 Oct 2008, Published on 06 Oct 2008

Tableware as such constitutes a large variety of tools used for serving and eating. Tableware, in particular, means the items used at meals and can be classified into four basic types. They are serveware, drinkware, flatware and dinnerware. The serveware comprises of the utensils that is used for serving purpose. They have the capacity to hold large portions of meal whereas a dinnerware is meant for individual serving purposes.


A flatware is one of the most important tableware. Just as the dinnerware has a wide variety to serve different purposes the flatware also has a wide variety to serve different purposes. The entire cutlery falls in the flatware category. Drinkware as the name itself suggest is meant for serving drinks. Under this category comes the mugs, cups, glasses etc. which are meant to serve beverages and drinks.


These were some of the basic types of tableware. In addition to these types, depending on the material with which they are made, tableware can further be classified into four more types namely porcelain, earthenware, bone china and stoneware:

  1. Porcelain: These are the most beautiful and elegant dinnerware. Considering it to be the most fragile, these were kept out of reach but actually they are the most durable dishes. They are quite expensive and are mostly used in a formal setting. Though, they can be used in casual settings as well.

  2. Earthenware: They are mostly used for casual dining settings. One major benefit of the earthenware is that it is easy to find oversized dishes but is less durable than porcelain. Also you have the choice to select from a wide variety of colors and patterns. They are more porous and heavier than the porcelain or bone china.

  3. Bone china: Most of confuse bone china with porcelain. Though both of them look alike but the major difference between the two is that bone china is more expensive than porcelain. Bone china comes in delicate shapes and wide range of colors. They are more durable as a large amount of bone ash is used to make it.

  4. Stoneware: Stoneware and earthenware are similar to each other. However, they are much heavier and durable than the earthenware. The best thing about stoneware is that they are inexpensive. These are mainly used for casual dining options.


Earlier, tableware was limited to only round shapes but today, it is available in various shapes and sizes. You have the option to choose from a wide variety of shapes. As far as shapes are concerned it varies depending on the person’s taste. But when it comes to the quality of the tableware, make sure that the tableware is without any bubbles or cracks. It is always best to stick to white color when it comes to choosing the color. Always focus on the purpose and design.

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