About a year ago, I took a good hard objective look at my dinnerware – especially my serving pieces.  They were all over the place in color and style.  Quite honestly I felt like the food we were creating and plating was not showcased in the best way it could be.  Here’s all this hard work of concocting appetizers, soups, main courses, sides, and ultimately desserts that were dressed in what I call a “hodge-podge lodge” of serving pieces. Knowing full well, that what I had was still worthy of using on certain occasions (and had sentimental value more than anything) – I grouped them together in one cabinet and started ever so slowly – but surely – building anew.

Starting anew, I needed to be savvy design-wise and dollar-wise.  I decided to go back to basics in showcasing our food in forms of white.  Let the food be the star, when it came to color, texture, and composition.  I found the perfect pieces in design, variety of scale and function, and price at my favorite haunts: TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, and HomeGoods. White dinnerware has been all the rage at these venues this past year – and still are.  I started with one large oval platter – big enough for serving a turkey.  From there, I kept my eyes peeled for other platters that would work in seamlessly with my first one, and gradually added bowls, plates, and pitchers of all sizes. The beauty in shopping the “Big 3” is that if, for example, HomeGoods had 5 of the plates, I was lucky enough to find more at the other two, or another HomeGoods.  It’s a little bit of work – with a lot of determination – but selling at a range of $2.99 – $14.99 (with the bulk of what I found to be well under $10) – it all was well worth it. An added bonus was to see how beautifully I could change-up the look of the all white, by working in very reasonably priced glass pieces as well.

My main tip in building a new collection is the importance of consistency – in some way.  My consistency was my commitment to the color white and simplicity of design. Yet, at the same time, everything didn’t need to match exactly. For example, I looked for pretty details on certain pieces – like gently scalloped edges with little loops on dessert plates – that were not on any of the other pieces. I also kept functionality in the forefront of my mind. I knew I needed diversity. For example, I knew I needed a hearty bowl that would easily hold a huge batch of mashed potatoes, as well as bowls that would be more delicate in scale for hulled and sliced strawberries and freshly whipped cream. Each time I used my new pieces, I had a better idea of what was working well, what I was still missing, and what I needed to look for next.

Now, almost a year later, I’m proud to say that I’ve created a pretty comprehensive pantry, and absolutely love how efficiently we function; not to mention the more elegant, neater, and organized way my buffet tables look today. And as my pantry naturally evolves to suit our needs, I’ll continue to keep my eyes peeled for that missing piece.

Love, Nora

  • Hi Nora,

    First of all I love your blog….I found it last week through Pinterest and back read all your posts. I love your style. I live nearby in Massachusetts.

    This post was wonderful and touched a cord. I did something very similar about 5 yrs ago. Mainly my dishes are white and it makes it so easy. I saved all the bits and pieces of colored dishes for different and special occasions. I added to my serving pieces and platters…all in white. Mostly from your same big 3, but Williams and Sanoma outlet have helped too. I really enjoyed your post.
    Happy Thanksgiving,

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