Kitchen & Cooking

13 stylish tableware pieces for outdoor dining

Can't host inside? Here's how to set a table outdoors.

Credit: Ekobo / Anthropologie

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It’s time to dress up your dinner parties and your outdoor social-distanced hangs. As you head outside to enjoy meals al fresco, you’re going to want dinnerware and glasses that are lightweight and durable against accidental drops and that won’t have you breaking a sweat as guests mingle around.

Keep the delicate stuff indoors. These summery bowls, plates, cups, and flatware are drop-safe, easy to clean, and every bit as stylish as your glass and ceramic options.

1. Pottery-inspired pieces that are stronger than ceramic

Scandia
Credit: Fortessa Tableware Solutions

The Sandia collection of dishware mimics the organic style of hand-thrown pottery.

If you love the look of glazed ceramic dinnerware but aren't so keen on keeping it poolside, this collection will bring you all the elegance of your indoor dining sets without the breaks. The Sandia collection of dishware mimics the natural curves and irregularities of hand-thrown pottery, while remaining shatterproof.

The natural palette and organic forms make it elegant yet versatile, and equally at home serving up a Tuscan-style dinner or chips and salsa. It's also dishwasher-safe and lightweight, making it easy to cart this set from inside to outside and back in for easy cleanup.

Materials: BPA-free melamine
Care instructions: Dishwasher safe. Not microwave safe.

Get the Scandia Melamine Dinnerware Sets at Food52 for $48.00 to $85.00

2. Modern melamine in summery shades

Modern Melamine
Credit: West Elm

Bright and light, designer Aaron Probyn’s sleek, modern update of melamine plates brings unbreakable style to outdoor dining.

Bright and light, we love the summery hues of this collection by London designer Aaron Probyn, known for his modern minimalist aesthetic. While the design is simple and restrained, they are far from boring and we love that you can mix and match as you create a customized set for yourself, with varying pops of color.

BPA-free, we also love that the dishes and plates are rimmed, to make for easy, spill-free carrying as you meander poolside or pass them during picnics.

Materials: BPA-free melamine
Care instructions: Dishwasher safe, top rack only. Not microwave safe.

Get the Modern Melamine Dinnerware Sets at West Elm for $6.50 to $86.00

3. Plates you wouldn't guess are bamboo

Ekobo
Credit: Ekobo

These colorful FSC-certified bamboo fiber plates are BPA, PVC, and Phthalate free.

With retro forms that will bring style to any spread, these dishes will transform your outdoor meals into works of art. Designed by American illustrator Kelly Knaga, these bamboo-fiber plates layer shapes and colors to make for an eye-popping spread. BPA, PVC, and phthalate-free, these plates are sustainable but still strong, standing up to outdoor dining as well as a run through the dishwasher (top shelf, only).

We can also personally vouch for the quality of all Ekobo products. Ours have lasted almost six years at this point. They have gone on camping trips and to beach parties and are still as good as the day we bought them.

Materials: Bamboo and BPA-free melamine composite
Care instructions: Dishwasher safe, top rack only. Not microwave safe. May chip if dropped.

Get the Ekobo Illustrated Bamboo Dinnerware Set at Food52.com for $38

4. Designer dinnerware in retro patterns

Colorblock
Credit: Crate and Barrell

These color block plates feature vibrant hues and layered off-kilter geometric shapes.

A wink to the '60s and a nod to the '80s, color-blocking is both retro and modern all at once—and it's making a comeback. Bring the design trend to your outdoor dining with this set that comes in a sunny palette of teal, persimmon, purple, aqua and orange.

The playful, geometric patterns coordinate without matching for a modern look that moves effortlessly between backyard dinner parties and contemporary cocktail hours. Sturdy and dishwasher-safe for worry-free entertaining and quick and easy cleanup.

Materials: BPA-free melamine
Care instructions: Dishwasher safe, top rack only. Not microwave safe.

Get the Ollie Melamine Dinnerware at Crate & Barrel for $5.95 to $24.95

5. Glaze-dipped plates with seaside style

Seaside
Credit: West Elm

These color-dipped plates bring summery style to your table setting.

These color-dipped plates give some serious summery style, with their light, airy, and hazy sunset-inspired colors. We like the casual vibe of these and their glazed-dipped multi-tonal hues that make them look like they just came from your arty best friend's pottery studio. Their natural forms are perfect for a poolside brunch or for bringing to the beach for a special-occasion picnic.

Materials: BPA-free melamine
Care instructions: Dishwasher safe, top rack only. Not microwave safe.

6. Ceramic-inspired pieces for alfresco lunches

Alfresco
Credit: Front Gate

A rippled texture that emulates the look and feel of ceramic.

So often melamine plates have a vibrant design inside, but are the outsides are flat, boring, and plastic-looking. This set incorporates style and detail both inside and out. With a rippled texture that emulates the look and feel of ceramic, these sunny melamine plates and bowls deliver break-resistant convenience for outdoor entertaining. The vibrant colors enliven any table setting.

Materials: BPA-free melamine; scratch resistant
Care instructions: Dishwasher safe, top rack only. Not microwave safe.

Get the Alfresco Dinnerware Collection at Frontgate for $45.08 to $54.28

7. Bowls that look like Italian souvenirs

Sicily
Credit: William-Sonoma

Sicilian-inspired plates embellished with intricate mosaics and elaborate patterns.

Travel may be limited but, that doesn't mean you can't bring the look of a Sicilian seaside villa to your backyard. These brilliant dishes are inspired by (and mimic) the maiolica ceramic style of this Mediterranean isle. Made from scratch-resistant and shatter-resistant melamine, these are—of course—perfect for outdoor use, but equally lovely livening up your table indoors.

Materials: BPA-free melamine; scratch resistant
Care instructions: Dishwasher safe, top rack only. Not microwave safe.

Get the Sicily Outdoor Dinnerware Collection from Williams-Sonoma for $8 to $60

8. Party-ready stackable flutes

Fluted
Credit: West Elm

This fluted acrylic glassware features a stackable design that makes it easy to stash away once the party's over.

With their prismatic color, these will bring a kick to any outdoor cocktail party. We love the sturdy base that adds style without making these glasses unstable. Their stackable design makes them easy to pack and stash away once the party's over.

Get the Fluted Acrylic Glassware at West Elm for $5.50

9. Playful "glasses" with a Margaritaville sensibility

Florida
Credit: Front Gate

A cheerful collection for outdoor entertaining, this striped drinkware screams summer.

We love the South Florida style of these colorful, striped cups. These beachy tumblers come in a variety of colors and are so beautifully made that, at first look, your party guests might mistake them for real glass.

Get the set of 6 Riviera Striped Acrylic Drinkware at Frontgate for $49

10. Trendy, bubbly drinkware

Bubble
Credit: Anthropologie

These acrylic glasses mimic bubble-trapped blown glass for an artfully rustic look.

The tiny trapped bubbles make these acrylic drinking glasses look like artfully blown glass. In any color, they'll make a cheerful and effervescent addition to the dining room, picnic table, or beach blanket.

Get the Acrylic Bubble Drinkware at Anthropologie for $12.00

11. Easy, inexpensive flatware

Ikea
Credit: IKEA

This minimalist design comes at a perfect price point for an indoor/outdoor flatware option.

At under $5 for a 16-piece set, these flatware pieces are reusable, sustainable, and easily replaceable—yet feel far more elegant than a set of plastic forks and knives.

Get the Mopsig 16-piece Flatware Set at IKEA for $4.99

12. Forks and knives that are a tiny bit tiki

Bamboo

This 20-piece plastic bamboo flatware set adds a touch of tropical appeal to your entertaining arsenal.

Bring a touch of tropical appeal to your tableware. This resin-handled set will stand up to backyard parties and campouts alike, and will still clean up easily—while always maintaining a summer-party vibe.

Get the Allison 20-piece Flatware Set at Wayfair for $51.99

13. Colorful tableware—with a carrying caddy

Fiesta
Credit: Fiesta

Fiesta, America's favorite dinnerware, makes durable flatware, too.

This set comes with an accompanying caddy, making it perfect for dining inside, outside, or wherever you need a sturdy and stylish place setting.

Get the 16 Piece Temptation Flatware Set Service for 4 at Wayfair for $29.99


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