What Color Dishes Should I Buy?

Some home decor decisions you have to make can seem deceptively simple at first. One of these is choosing what color dishes you should buy.  It doesn't seem like a major decision until you realize that you will use these dishes multiple times per day for many years.  We have researched what color dishes work best for different situations and what factors you need to keep in mind.  

When choosing your everyday dishes, it is essential to pick something that will go with everything.  This is why we recommend a classic white plate. Not only does white go with everything, but it also displays your food to its best advantage. Read on to see a little more detail on why white is the perfect color for your dishes.

Keep reading for some more information on how different plate colors affect how much food we consume. We will also discuss colors, patterns, designs, and other things you need to think about when shopping for dishes. This includes whether or not your dishes should match your kitchen decor. 

Christmas Table Setting Vintage Or Rustic Style With Candles, Wooden table, Empty Plate And Tangerines, What Color Dishes Should I Buy?


What Color Dishes is Best?

Gourmet plate of dijon chicken with mushroom, shallots, and thyme with a side of red potatoes and white wine.

Over time trends have changed quite a bit when it comes to dishware. Still, for the last few decades, white has remained the most prevalent choice. Part of this is purely aesthetic.

Not only does white tableware look sleek and clean, but having white dishes gives you much more latitude when choosing tablecloths, napkins, and centerpieces. White dishes allow you to get creative with your table linens without worrying your decorations will clash with your dishware.

Vegetarian salad with tomato, lettuce, and cheese garnished with edible flowers with ingredients in hard light next to a plate. Spring food concept.

Food also looks its most appetizing when displayed on pure white background. White dishes make your beautiful food stand out by providing contrast.  As a result, any food item with color will look better on a white plate or in a white bowl. This contrast also affects how much food you eat. 

Delicious fruits in plate on a festive table

Do white plates make you eat less?

According to a recent study, it has been shown that people consume significantly less food when eating off a white plate when compared to a red or black plate. This may be due to the contrast we referred to above. This is known as the 'contrast hypothesis.'

In simple terms, the contrast in color between your food and your plate makes you more aware of how much you are eating. Studies have shown that when eating off of white plates, people eat less. This is thought to be due to the contrast between the color of the food and that of the plate. Because your food is in such stark contrast to the dish, become much more mindful of each bite. 

Top view of a plate filled with spaghetti and meatballs with some ingredients for preparation like tomatoes, parsley, garlic, olive oil and Parmesan cheese shot on rustic wooden table

What color plate makes you eat more?

While snack studies have shown that eating popcorn off of a red plate will eat less, this difference falls away when you are pasta with red sauce. This goes back to the contrast hypothesis we discussed earlier. When eating food from a plate that is the same color as that food, you lose that sense of contrast and tend to eat more.

Those in the study who were given pasta with a red sauce were more likely to take a larger helping and eat more when using a red plate. This is because as the food blends with the color of the plate, it makes you less aware of how much food you are consuming. In this case, people who were given white pasta, such as an alfredo sauce, ate more when using a white plate. In both cases, the increase in consumption was caused by the lack of contrast between the pasta and the dish.  

Pasta with tomato sauce shot from above on rustic wood table. Some ingredients for cooking pasta like tomatoes, olive oil, basil, parmesan cheese and a pepper mill are around the plate

Do patterned dishes have a place in your kitchen?

Some decor magazines press the idea that the more different and edgy you are with your home decor, the cooler you are. While this may be a nice idea, many of the place setting ideas you see in decorating magazines fit into most people's everyday lifestyle about as well as an outfit from fashion week fits in at a PTA meeting or little league game.

If you choose to pick a set of dishes with a pattern, remember that less is more. A delicate scattering of flowers on a primarily white background can add a bit of whimsy to your table. Still, an overly busy design composed of harsher colors can overwhelm the food and make the meal you've spent hours on look unappetizing. 

Collection of empty colorful plates. Top view, isolated on white. Variety of patterns.

The exception to the rule

Of course, there is one exception to this rule. That is the beloved holiday dishes that some people were lucky enough to inherit from parents or grandparents. It is pretty common to have a special set of dishes for Easter or Christmas or another holiday.

When it comes to holiday or special occasion dinnerware, you don't need to worry about the colors or patterns being overwhelming. Since these dishes are only used for a limited amount of time each year, the brightness of the colors or the busyness of the pattern doesn't have a chance to become bothersome.

In fact, when it comes to holiday dishes, what might seem tacky or overbearing when talking about everyday tableware, might be just kitschy enough to be a family tradition. Plus, unlike a full dining service for seven, some holiday dish sets are somewhat limited, and since they don't have eight of everything from salad plates to finger bowls, they take a little less room to store.

You could even start a new tradition with this cute Nightmare Before Christmas dishes set that you could use for both Halloween AND Christmas.

Click here to find these cute and festive dishes at Amazon.

Should my dishes match my kitchen?

Everything being 'matchy-matchy' went out in the 1960s along with sweater sets. These days the main focus is to have the items in your home complement each other rather than match.  By keeping your dishes neutral, you can make changes to the rest of the decor without worrying whether your dishes might clash.  This, in turn, will allow you to branch out a little more when you are designing the rest of your look.

There is also a very logical and practical reason for dishes that go with everything. If you live in a place where storage is an issue,  mixing and matching your table linens makes much more sense because, after all, multiple colors of table linens are a lot easier to find room to store than four or five sets of dishes. 

Fish and meat meals variety flat lay. Top view on buffet with assortment of healthy hearty food. Buffet, banquet, appetizer, restaurant menu concept

Final Thoughts

Dishes are truly a canvas to show off your fabulous cooking. While white dishes are becoming more and more the norm, don't let that stop you from showing off your originality if you want to try something else. Everything changes with time, and the only truly unbreakable rule is that you should surround yourself with items that make you happy.

For more ideas on how to choose the best table linens to go with your white dishes,  check out  What Color Tablecloth With White Dishes?

Also, take a look at How To Keep Tablecloth From Slipping [5 Tips & Tricks] to help you keep your tablecloth well placed. 

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