There’s nothing like matching dinnerware to make us feel like the sophisticated grown-ups we are.

Once the reserve of the department store wedding list, expensive crockery would often come in large starter sets made to last a whole marriage – that’s quite a commitment when choosing a design.

These days, you don’t need a bridal registry to indulge in some of the best dinner plate collections on offer: you’ll find some lovely craft-driven wares sold individually or in sets of just three or four to suit your household’s needs.

Nor do you necessarily need deep pockets with a number of high street brands now serving up design-led pieces with affordable price tags, so whether you’re into Scandi cool or shabby chic, mid-century modernism or clean-lined minimalism, there’s undoubtedly a plate set to suit your taste, and budget.

But of course, when it comes to the finest tableware, it’s all about entertaining, so make sure you put your best plates forward at that dinner party.

We tested ten of the best plate sets on the market, looking for great design, durability, product range, as well as everyday practicalities. Almost all of the products we tested were both microwave and, importantly, dishwasher safe – because we simply cannot be the hosts with the most wearing marigolds.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

OKA Remolinos dinner and side plates sets of 4: £28, OKA​

We do love a slice of Mediterranean charm. These sizeable dinner and side plates manage a rare feat: they carry a rough-edged and rustic country kitchen aesthetic, yet their glazed finish means they’re deceptively smooth to the touch. They look like the kind of beautifully aged antiques you might find in a car boot sale with their embossed swirls (or remolinos in Spanish) apparently worn off to reveal the warm terracotta tones underneath.

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M&S 12 piece Hampton dinner set: £79, M&S

Made from fine china, Marks & Spencer’s offering is a classic affair in grey and white, or black and white stripes with a hint of Art Deco elegance. We found the set looked great either dressed up or down – as much at home at our casual breakfast table as it was at our dinner party with fancy linens. Comprising four dinner plates, four side plates and four cereal bowls, the Hampton set is ideal if you’re looking for a complete, stylish update of your crockery cupboard.

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Loaf wobbler set of 4 dinner plates: £40, Loaf

Tangibly craft-driven, these high-fired stoneware plates are handmade in Portugal, meaning no two products are exactly the same. Everything in the wobbler collection comes in a set of four with pasta bowls, cereal bowls, side plates and mugs complementing the dinner plates, yet all of them wonderfully imperfect – turn the plates over and you can literally see the maker’s marks. We loved the contrast of the glossy finish with a rough-edged rim.

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Denby Studio blue 4 piece coupe dinner plate set: £56, Denby

These hefty dinner plates mean business. The first thing we noticed about them was their substantial weight. In a colourway of four tonal blues, each with an attractive speckled finish, the set is designed for mixing and matching. Look out for the bowls, mugs and smaller plates in the same four shades. We discovered their deep coupe shape was the perfect choice for a slap-up Sunday lunch – permission to go wild with the gravy.

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Abode Living poppi dinner plates, £15.50 per plate: Abode Living

Offering a chic Scandinavian take is the poppi collection designed by Swedish brand Olsson & Jensen. We loved the shape of these contemporary stoneware dinner plates – completely flat with just a delicate rim, awarding them immediate artisanal cool. Splattered in black inky dots, they present a unique, painterly finish. We could feel the plates’ hand-crafted, slightly bumpy texture underneath the glaze. Covet the whole set with bowls, small plates, mugs and cups to match.

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Next Home 12 piece reactive dinner set: £50, Next Home

They may be a ubiquitous high street brand but Next wants in on the artisanal cool, too. When it comes to craft-driven earthenware, this 12-piece set delivers. Comprising four dinner plates, four side plates and four bowls, the set boasts a reactive glaze, meaning the dinnerware underwent a chemical reaction in the firing process that gives each piece its unique patina. Finished with a chic gold edge, these are not microwave safe, but they are elegant.

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Bloomingville maya stoneware dinner and side plates, sets of 3: From £28.35, Beaumonde

We loved these dinner and side plates from Danish design house Bloomingville. Made to mix and match, the stoneware comes in complementary shades of dusky pink, grey-blue and muted maroon. Hand-painted with intricate patterns – from florals to geometrics to chevron stripes – the plates offer a craft-driven look that’s perfect for a laid-back lunch. Complete the set with the stoneware jugs, teapot and lidded sugar bowl in the same range.

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Tokyo Studio nippon white dinner plate set of 4: £60, Amara

If you’re in need of a conversation starter at your dinner party, these fine white porcelain plates will do the job. Each piece comes with a delicately embossed border inspired by Japanese artwork. We loved this subtle variation in design, as well as the plates’ tactility. The same four repeat patterns can be found across bowls, mugs, and even an espresso set in the same collection. Gold edging makes these unsafe for the microwave but they’ll happily go in the dishwasher.

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Villeroy & Boch French Garden Fleurence 6 piece dinner plate set: £169.90, Villeroy & Boch

For a classic French country kitchen look, this set of six flat plates is ideal. Crafted from premium porcelain, the dinner plates ooze old-fashioned charm with their ornate shaping, fruity illustrations and summer-ready colours. Take these breakables outside at your peril but they do look beautiful in the sunshine. Tangibly top quality, we found these substantial ceramics worked well as sophisticated cake platters, too. Granny would be proud.

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Swoon Helene 12 piece dinnerware set, white: £119, Swoon

Organic in shape with a reactive glaze that offers a delicate, iridescent sheen, this dinnerware set is a rare thing of beauty. The dinner plates, side plates and bowls boast an attractive pearl drip effect on the edges, making each piece slightly different to the next. On the pricier side, but well worth the investment, this is artisanal tableware to cherish. We loved the contrast between the set’s solid and sturdy form and its lightness in finish.

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The verdict: Plate sets

OKA’s Remolinos sets of dinner and side plates offer a laid-back Mediterranean vibe at an affordable price. The off-white dinnerware, with its antique aesthetic, looked beautiful on our table whether set for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Stack them up with their light blue counterparts for a mismatched and rustic country kitchen look. We were also impressed with Denby’s set of four Studio blue coupe dinner plates for their tonal colourway and their solid form – these are substantial plates for big appetites.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.