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Tired of chipped, cracked and mis-matched plates and bowls? Serving platters and bowls that can't go into the dishwasher? Cloudy glassware? You're over-due for a total tableware makeover. If you're overwhelmed by the choices, you're not alone. Some key factors will narrow the contenders considerably. Start by determining which materials work for you and your family. Does it need to dishwasher safe? If you are a microwave user, make certain the manufacturer has identified this important feature. Common materials include glass, ceramic, stoneware, and melamine. No doubt about it, melamine is tough stuff, although most of it is not microwave- or oven-safe. Typically the other materials are heat resistant, but check details carefully.

After the material has been determined, it 's time to get out your tape measure. Measure the depth of your cabinets to ensure that the dinnerware will fit and stack onto your shelves -- with the door closed. Speaking from experience, measure the height of a the tallest plate that will safely work in your dishwasher. Measure from the bottom rack to the wash arm to avoid chipping from contact with the wash arm. Look at the angle of the plate and bowl to ensure that they will load into your dishwasher to run a full load. For drinkware, look for smooth interiors and rimless bottoms for the best dishwasher results. The same holds true for other pieces of glassware, serveware, and serving utensils, Check the size of the flatware handle to make sure that the handle won't fall through the plastic mesh openings in the dishwasher's silverware holder.

Now you're ready for the fun to start. Round, square, and rectangular dinnerware sets and serveware abound. Casual tableware now comes in a plethora of colors and styles. Determine the one that most sparks your interest. Now that you've walked through the selection process, you will enjoy years of use from tableware that is imminently livable and continually pleasing.