If you've been considering purchasing new dishes for quite some time but haven't yet made any moves, we feel you—parting with kitchenware can often feel like a daunting task given that you likely have plenty of pieces that have survived many moves and are "just fine." But, experts say, "fine" doesn't cut it when it comes time to set the table—you'll want to ensure that your collection of dishes is comprised solely of pieces that you love and actually use on a day to day basis. Keep reading for four clear signs that it's time to replace the dishes you have on hand ASAP.
1. Your Dishes Are Chipped
First and foremost, any dishware that has truly seen better days needs to go. This means parting with dishes that are chipped, cracked, or majorly discolored. These pieces have served their purpose and no longer deserve a place on your dinner table! Take some time to go through your cabinets and make a discard pile of pieces that are ready for retirement.
2. Your Dishes Don't Bring You Joy
Home Accessories designer and entertaining expert Joanna Buchanan, who recently designed and launched gorgeous garden party-inspired dishware, firmly believes that you should look forward to grabbing your dishes out of the cupboard when it comes time to set the table. If this is not the case, she says, "All the signs show that you are visually bored with what you have and it's time for a change." Buchanan's advice? Switch things up, majorly. "I would say you need to go for a significant change at this point and really try a new direction. If you've had solid plates, go for a pattern, and if you've had a pattern maybe try a beautiful colored solid plate."
3. Your Dishes Are Too Precious
However, you won't just want to look for signs over overuse. If you're underutilizing the dishes you have on hand, this may be a sign to part with them or simply expand your collection to include pieces you will gravitate toward. "If you're not reaching for a certain set of dishes when setting the table for company or entertaining for fear of getting broken or not wanting to hand-wash them, then it might be time to look for an alternative," says Emma Allen, founder of lifestyle boutique Hammett. "Gone are the days of special dishes being fancy and fragile. There are so many fun and user-friendly options out there now that are beyond worthy of entertaining."
Designer Barry Goralnick expresses similar sentiments. "Many of us have inherited fine china from our parents and grandparents," he comments. "It’s often highly decorated, extremely traditional, and rarely used. It’s time to purchase tableware that reflects our own personalities. Modern china is meant to be used daily and goes into the dishwasher!" Of course, he adds, it may be worth holding onto a few special vintage dishes and working those into your tablescape for a more collected look. "If you select simple patterns they often mix and match beautifully with the older pieces," Goralnick notes. "Since dining evokes some of the best and most emotional memories from our pasts, it’s the perfect place to mix pieces from our treasured family dinners with the new memories we are making today."
4. Your Collection Is a Mismatch
The days of living with multiple roommates and cobbling together kitchen items are behind you—and your dishware should reflect that! As Sam Dumas, cofounder of tableware brand Leeway Home, says, "Decade-old dishes often mean mismatched pieces. The longer the set is held onto, the more mismatched pieces you accumulate until one day you have a cluttered mess of dinnerware, flatware and glassware that crowd your cabinets and clutter your life."
That doesn't mean you have to part with every dish you own, of course, but there's something satisfying about having a coordinating set you love on hand. "You might have a few pieces that were hand-me-downs, a few you purchased years ago, but everyone needs a set of matching dishes in their cabinet," Allen adds. "They don’t have to be expensive or fancy, but sitting down with a set of dishes makes every meal feel like a special occasion."