advice and ideas for gracious Virginia living...

Dinnerware is an art medium unto itself, each plate a canvas
that has been carefully shaped, decorated, and accented,
all in preparation for embellishing your table and framing your culinary creations.

Starting Out...
Getting your first apartment or home? How exciting! Don't forget the dishes! Start with something durable, easy to care for, dishwasher and microwave safe.
• 4-8 Dinner Plates, Salad Plates, Bowls, Mugs (optional)
• Add 8 place settings of flatware, serving utensils, and 8 glasses
• Add a Serving Bowl and a Platter -- they don't have to match your dinnerware. Select something eclectic.
• Over time, add more quantity to your basics, and expand your bowl options

Getting Married...
How exciting! Time to add another set of dinnerware to entertain family and guests. Select a dinnerware that suits your style and sets a beautiful table. Register at 18th Century Merchant!
• 10-12 Dinner Plates, Salad Plates, Bread & Butter Plates, Bowls
• Add Ramekins, Chargers, and other specialized individual pieces
• Add 12 place settings of flatware and serving utensils
• Add 12 sets of glassware and/or stemware in 2 or 3 sizes
• Add eclectic serving pieces and table linens

I Found a Dinnerware Pattern I Love!
Wonderful! Now, you need to think about what pieces you want and need. Place settings are tempting, but only buy them if you truly want all of the pieces they include. Perhaps you want mugs, or three sizes of bowls, or ramekins, or extra salad plates for parties. Some dinnerware patterns offer just the basics, others offer a wide array of pieces that can complement your favorite foods and entertaining style. We can show you how to take the pattern you love, and create the table that reflects who you are and how you want to entertain.

I Found a Dinnerware Pattern I Love, But I Don't Want an Entire Set
You can bring the style and essence of a beautiful dinnerware pattern into your home with just a few pieces. Try one of these ideas:
• BREAKFAST SET - Salad plates, cereal bowls, fruit bowls, mugs -- just select the pieces you need for breakfast and purchase a small quantity, then enjoy your stylish new dinnerware at the start of every day!
• TEA TIME - A tea set can be displayed in your dining room so you can enjoy a particularly beautiful pattern. Select a teapot, sugar, creamer, cups & saucers, and dessert or canape plates. Have you ever thought of having friends over for tea? It is a wonderful opportunity to get together with friends. Most people, regardless of age, are actually delighted to receive an invitation to tea. Give it a try!
• DINNER FOR TWO - Purchase just two dinner plates, or even two salad plates and two rim soups. Use on special occasions so you can enjoy the dinnerware pattern you have been admiring.
• ENTERTAINING SET - Love to entertain, and would like to have different looks for your parties? Then just buy dinner plates! Four to ten plates will set your table. Use glass salad plates and eclectic serveware, or serve buffet style so only the plates are on the table.
• HANG IT UP - Plates are a magnificent form of art, so if you find a pattern you love, hang a plate on the wall! One plate or platter hanging in a special location or four plates grouped together will let you enjoy the pattern daily. You can even display one plate on a stand on a table or counter.
• JUST FOR YOU - Buy one plate, or one mug, just for yourself. This will be your dinnerware when want to make a quiet meal alone special. Everyone deserves a little indulgence.

I Already Have Some Dinnerware....
• AND IT SEEMS OUT OF STYLE - Not to worry! Your dinnerware just needs some new life breathed into it. Stop by the store, and bring samples of your dinnerware with you. You will be amazed at what new table linens, new chargers or new salad plates can do to dinnerware to liven it up, tone it down, make it more formal, or make it more casual. Let us show you how!
• THAT MY MOTHER (GRANDMOTHER) GAVE ME AND I WANT TO USE IT - How wonderful! Bring some pieces in, and we can show you how you can mix family heirlooms with some new pieces. Honor the memories they hold and build some new ones.
• THAT MY MOTHER (GRANDMOTHER) GAVE ME AND IT IS NOT MY STYLE - or perhaps you have no room to store it. Either way, the thought of giving it away makes you sad. What if you just keep a small part of the set? Keep the salad plates and use them for dessert on special family occasions. Keep a teapot or platter and display it in a special location. Keep just the dinner plates, and use them each year on Thanksgiving. Once you've decided which small part to keep as a remembrance, it is okay to give away the rest.