This ain’t your mother’s china pattern: Where can we find offbeat china?

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I got married about a month ago and ever since, my mom has been insistent on buying us china. But my husband and I can’t agree on what type. I want something nice and elegant while my husband (who is a chef) wants something modern and not traditionally shaped (so anything but circles).


I really don’t mind so long as we find something nice, but all the modern plates I find are a bit boring. Do you know of some companies that have offbeat china sets? -Stevie

Stevie! I’m so glad you asked this question, as I JUST had an epiphany about how amazing china is after breaking yet ANOTHER one of my (cheaper) ceramic dinner plates while washing it. (Yup, I work out.) That’s when I sat down at my computer and ordered more of my nice wedding china plates — those babies are TOUGH, sexy, and, as far as I’m concerned, worth every penny. I decided to never mess with anything but.

Yes, I, Offbeat Bride’s Megan Finley, did something as traditional as register for china. But I went for a simple and modern pattern that matches all my funky home decor! So you’ve come to the right person to help you out.

One (yes, one) of my china patterns was New Wave Acapulco from Villeroy & Boch. I say “one of my china patterns” because, unlike your hubs, I’m not-so-much into the square dinner plates. But I AM a fan of their squared-off bowls, serving platters, and that rocking casserole dish.

But if this pattern is too loud, New Wave also comes in white AND with a fancy platinum accent.

I accented that New Wave Acapulco with Villeroy & Boch‘s Dune Lines Collection. Aside from the fact that it has a beach-y look (and name) I love that each plate has different striations, so it’s simple without being a snooze-fest. AND it’s a pretty great compromise for those who want round and not-round dishes.

But your hubs wants “anything but circles” so how about Villeroy & Boch‘s Urban Nature collection. Check out that top plate aka the “fruit bridge”!

Charter Club’s Platinum Silhouette Square Collection is accented with the coolest silver wildflowers! That’s what I’m talkin’ about — floral patterned china that doesn’t make me wanna barf.

Mikasa’s Autumn Frost set is an eclectic blend of softly squared and round shapes, with a fun blue nature-inspired pattern.

The Mikasa Cameo Platinum Square Collection is basic yet outstanding with its platinum border.

Now I’m throwing out a round-y for the anti-square crowd. I have been a fan of Lennox’s Chirp Collection for a while now. No worries, it also comes in a square pattern. Plus, there’s a red option. Ooh ahh.

Oh holy crap, I just discovered Villeroy & Boch‘s Flow collection, and now I’m sad that I didn’t register for THESE dishes. Every single item in this collection blows my mind, from the plates with the cool peek, these insane salad bowls with handles, and this plate on plate action. BLARG, I love this!

Of course, you can always take your time and mix and match china patterns over time. Or register for different patterns at the same time and mix and match THAT way.

Now it’s your turn. Homies, what are YOUR go-tos for funky china and tableware?

Comments on This ain’t your mother’s china pattern: Where can we find offbeat china?

  1. I have Fishs Eddy’s Alice in Wonderland dinnerware – and I hope they never discontinue it! They have all kinds of funky colors and patterns, but Alice is perfect for me.

  2. I registered for the Lennox’s Chirp set. I love ever piece of that set. It’s so fun and happy. It’s silly and fun enough for us, but formal enough to serve at “fancy dinners”

  3. So much pretty! I love how fresh and fun these types of designs feel.

    I love square plates, but square bowls not so much. I was eating from them last night, and you just can’t scrape the bowl clean as easily when it has corners – which, when eating delicious bolognaise and ice cream (not together!) is a serious problem. Leave no noms behind!

  4. We registered for Notitake’s Colorwave with the flower blossom accent plates. But we Did 4 pink, 4 green, and 4 black. I still love them and they come in lots more colors. I want the blue ones too.

  5. We got some boring black dishes once upon a time, but are slowly replacing them as they break and chip with Fiesta dishes in amazaballs colors. It’s like a party in our pantry now every time I get a plate. And they come in all different colors and shapes and sizes.

    • I was just coming here to recommend Fiesta! Our family we all register for Fiesta and the couple picks out colors. Its cool how different the color selections make the dish sets seem. My Aunts all have variations of pastels. My mom has browns and oranges. My one cousin went Lavender Black and Green and the other went yellow green and red. Now the Boy and I have to figure out what colors we want…

      Plus they are made in the USA (and are a more eco friendly employer in my coal driven state West Virginia)

      Here’s the link for anyone that’s interested:

      • We registered for Fiesta too because it’s made in the US and great quality. I love that you can mix and match the colors! Plus they’re oven safe, which a lot of the newer stuff is not. Also allow me to plug American Kitchen for a great US made cookware that’s similar to All Clad, cheaper, and (in my limited experience using my new loot) works great. My relatives all loved being able to buy us US made stuff.

      • I meant to mention that another concern with Fiestaware is that some of the vintage pieces red and orange) made before 1944 contain uranium oxide in the glaze (as did most red glazes from that period)….ie, they’re radioactive. I imagine you’d probably have to do something drastic like microwave and store food on the red/orange plates and eat three meals a day off of them for ten years before there was any sign of ill-effects. Still, something to be aware of. The new Fiestaware is fine.

    • I love Fiesta dishes as well, though the actual vintage ones are expensive! I want to get just one or two pieces (like the teal butter dish I saw at an antique store for $45).

      • They haven’t changes the styling of them much at all over the years, so you can mix the more affordable new pieces with any awesome vintage finds really easily. My grandmother has blue and yellow plates from the 40’s that look awesome with the limited edition West Virginia University pieces they came out with a few years ago.

        If you are anywhere near WV try getting to their factory tent sale (June and October of each year). People find really awesome deals on limited edition and vintage pieces.

        • I lovelovelove Fiestaware. One of my fist few retail jobs had me in the home section of a Big Box Department Store and I vowed then and there to eventually get some, which I did. Although it comes in about 100 colors (may not be actual number), I only wanted a few of them so there would be a sort-of theme, These things are hearty too! I am klutzy as they come and have yet to see so much as a chip, let alone a broken dish.

          Also, I second the difficulty in cleaning square dishes. I have squared-off glasses (something from Target) and they collect grubby bits in the corner… Ick.

  6. I was having china angst as I got engaged, because I knew the inevitable wedding registry would approach and I’d have to decide which set would dominate my married life for years to come. But, what if I chose a set that got discontinued in five years, and I’d never be able to find replacement pieces? What if, like my parents, I chose a set that could only be found at a certain outlet store in Vermont, and I’d have to drive there every five years or so to stock up on overpriced specialty plates?
    Then, I had a Goodwill epiphany when I was still living alone in my apartment. I had been slowly replacing some flimsy all-black dishes with green-striped stoneware dishes I’d been finding at Goodwill. One day, I bought a stack of 6 dessert plates that were very heavy feeling. I happened to notice that they manufacturers’ mark on each plate was different: identical plates, different companies. I Googled the companies (because I Google everything) and found out that these plates were “restaurant ware”. They were from the 40’s and 50’s, primarily used in diners.
    I became intrigued, and began collecting this vintage restaurant-ware. The green-stripe pattern I’d started with turned out to be one of the most common patterns, so finding dishes in antique stores, yard sales, and Goodwill turned out to be fairly easy. Now, I’ve got tons of plates (in four sizes that I call dinner, sandwich, salad, and dessert), as well as oval plates (lunch plates?), several teacups with saucers, and a variety of small bowls. I even have a few “butter pats” which were tiny plates that they’d serve you your butter on before butter packets became popular. The only part I’m stuck on is soup bowls. I’ve got three different shapes, only one of which I’ve been able to find more than one of (I’ve got four). Basically, I’ve accumulated a dish “set” that is unique, fun (I love all of the tiny plates and bowls I’ve found for individual servings of sides), very rugged, and easily to find replacements for. One bonus feature is that back in those days, dinner plates were much smaller (about 9″ across) as opposed to today’s average of 12″…..smaller plates means we’ll eat less while still feeling full. Voila!

  7. I second the vintage route! I registered for more of the vintage pattern dishes I already have, called temporama. They ended up being surprisingly easy to find on ebay, etsy and even goodwill stores. Most vintage patterns tend to be traditionally shaped though.

  8. Corelle has square plates in a bunch of different designs:

    We have the corelle hearthstone in chilli red, but alas they don’t seem to make it anymore. I have a couple of boxes down in the basement that I got cheap, for when the stuff inevitably breaks. It was Mr. Ivriniel’s dish set before we got married, and it’s quite striking stuff.

  9. We are dying for the Chirp pattern, but it is just too expensive. We’re talking a grand just for a standard set of plates, salad plates, cups, bowls, and one or two serving pieces! Way to rich for my blood. We agreed that if we still love love love it in five years, we’ll spring for it then. In the meantime, we’re getting these gorgeous hand painted ones: It’s not fine china, but it has personality without costing an arm and a leg.

  10. I LOOOVE New Wave Acapulco!! Oh my gosh, I wish I could go back and time and register for that..

    Anyway, we had a smaller wedding, and I was concerned that registering for china would leave us with a lot of extra pieces to buy. Besides, I am a very clumsy person, and was concerned about breaking expensive plates. In addition, my mom has portions of her (first) wedding china, and her grandma’s wedding china, which I know will make it to me eventually. We also don’t host holidays, but instead mostly bring a dish or two to family holidays.

    So we decided to ask for some very nice serving dishes. I have a friend who owns an independent kitchen store, and received a lot of beautiful Polish pottery pieces from his shop (so pretty and unique!

    When we have people come over, I go to Target and get a set of nice looking dishes for under $50 that compliment the stuff we already have. It’s working well so far!

  11. I love Lennox Chirp pattern! We registered for those, but only got two settings. It will take a few years to fill the rest!! I also love all the anthropologie china, but they tend to go in and out of fashion and don’t stay on the website long enough to build a collection….But I don’t mind mixed-matched.

  12. I didn’t get nice china when I got married (both times). What I did do though, was several years back I decided I wanted a set of nice china to break out on holidays and other special occasions. I have fond memories of my mom doing that. She has her grandmothers china and sterling silverware as well. I was sad because all of that is very expensive. Somehow I found the Kate Spade June Lane pattern with the platinum band. I love it because it has dragonflies on it, which I love. I found it quite amazeballs. What I did though, was I just bought it a little bit at a time on ebay. Sometimes I got factory seconds and such, which saved a lot of money. I have a nearly complete set for 12 now (just missing a couple cups and saucers and various bowls if I decide to get them). It’s pretty awesome. Also, is an excellent resource to check out if you are missing pieces. I’ve gotten some from there too. It can be spendy, so you do have to keep an eye on it and snap up the factory seconds and things with blemishes, cause really, who notices those on dishes?

    • I didn’t get nice china when I got married (either time) either.

      I’m due to inherit my Mom’s good china (my older sister got my Grandmother’s) which I love, so I didn’t see the point.

      It’s Royal Albert Forget Me Nots, and it warms the cockles of my steampunk heart. 🙂

    • Lots of cool stuff! My aunt has their “Circus Red” salad serving set! It’s incredibly awesome in person and I’ve always loved it. 😛

  13. Polish Pottery is the ish. Durable enough for everyday use (oven, microwave and dishwasher safe) and it comes in a million beautiful (yet funky yet traditional) patterns. LOVE. The colors remind me a bit of Fiesta ware.

  14. I am a huge fan of the china on My husband and I registered for the Kahla Elixyr set and we get so many compliments on it!

    if you want a pop of color check this out:

    or this:
    that one also comes in light blue and orange. and no i don’t work for–i just found their site to be a lifesaver when my husband and i were looking for our registry and had such a hard time finding good quality pieces that reflected our tastes. macy’s just wasn’t cutting it.

    I had always liked Fiestaware until I realized that the reason restaurants always use white plates is because food looks SOOOOO much better on white dinnerware.

  15. As much as I love the New Wave stuff from Villeroy & Boch, there is a major problem with the mugs! 🙂 Because of the twist in the handle, you can’t hold a “right-handed” mug in your left hand (as I discovered in an outlet shop). You can get left-handed mugs in the same range but you just know that you’ll always end up with the “wrong” mug if a) you are a lefty or b) you know any lefties.

    My china is distinctly plain and boring, it’s the plain, white Fargrik from Ikea

  16. I picked up my set (+/- 27 pieces, only a couple chipped/broken) for $15 at a yard sale. It’s wicked traditional, but it makes a really nice presentation when I use them. I use stoneware for day to day because I just can’t quit using the dishwasher.

    My ideal dish setup would be very basic white dishes with ACCESSORIES. Chargers and napkins and placemats and whatnots. And I’d love to have two sets of complementary size, so I could just shuffle them together. Pretty salad plate on the white plate on the coordinating charger. HOW LOVELY.

    • YES

      I got a crazy heavy/traditional blue pattern after we got married (cheap – under 1€ a piece) because it was a giant set and I thought it would be fun to have matching everything (I mean EVERYTHING including a vase!), but I miss being able to use any colors I want based on some fun napkins and tablecloths and stuff.

      White may seem boring, but you can dress it up or down make it fun or serious, or even seasonal. Just a reminder! 😉

  17. Our fine china is offbeat and totally unique – we took our wedding party and their spouses to a paint-your-own-pottery place between rehearsal and dinner. We paid for a four-piece set of dishes (dinner plates, salad plates, bowls, and mugs) and they painted our fine china. Most of it is as mis-matched and eclectic as you can imagine, but I SO love that it’s made by our friends. I love eating fancy dinner off of the Mario plate, or the one featuring a teacup dinosaur (think teacup poodle, but dinosaur, and actually in a teacup). It was maybe the best thing ever – so even if you’re not artsy – consider painting your own with a group.

  18. I have the Chirp pattern as placemats! So much love. They go well with the everyday plates my sister passed on to me after getting Polish pottery for her wedding. And my mom gave me my grandmother’s nice china. Haven’t used it yet, but one day I shall host an elegant party. Or something.

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