Wednesday, July 17, 2024

The Melamine Dishes You Should Buy Right Now

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Eating dinner outdoors is all fun and games until somebody drops one of your favorite plates on the ground. But you don’t have to put your delicate dishware in harm’s way or settle for kid-friendly plastic if you want to dine under the stars this summer. There’s a happy medium, and it’s called melamine.

In the simplest terms, melamine is a very hard plastic that could easily be mistaken for ceramic or stoneware. It also happens to be lightweight and incredibly durable. You can try to scratch it, you can definitely drop it, and you can even put it in the dishwasher (just don’t put it in the microwave or put any food hotter than 160ºF on it, though that shouldn’t be an issue in the summer when we’re not eating French onion soup).

Melamine dishes are usually very inexpensive; you can get cute dinner plates for around $3 a piece, though you can certainly spend more if you want. And no matter your style, you’re likely to find at least a few festive options that will match the vibe of your outdoor dining setup (or your indoor setup if you’re looking for something shatterproof that doesn’t feature cartoon characters).

Save your stoneware and ceramic this summer and opt for these unbreakable, lightweight melamine dishes you can use on the patio, pack in your picnic basket, and even toss in your pool bag.

Bright and bold:

Your outdoor table is a great place to experiment with going a little (or a lot) outside of your comfort zone, design-wise. So if you love the idea of bright colors and bold patterns, but you’re not ready to commit to such a striking look for your everyday dishes, consider one of these dramatic designs.

Thomas Fuchs 1/2 & 1/2 Melamine Dinner Plates, Set of 4

Colorblock Dessert Plate Set

Bold patterns

For a little less drama, consider a bold pattern in a more subdued or neutral color (yes, green is a neutral now).

Marin Checkered Grey Melamine Salad Plate

10.5-Inch Distressed Stripe Melamine Dinner Plates

Fun florals

These floral melamine dishes feel festive and summery, but not too over the top.

Floral Watercolor Melamine Plates, Set of 4

Lulie Wallace Melamine Plates, Set of 3

A hand-painted look

With a high-gloss finish and a pattern that looks like it was painted on by hand, these melamine dishes are nearly indistinguishable from ceramic—at least until you pick them up and notice how lightweight they are.

Sur La Table El Mar 12-Piece Melamine Dinnerware Set

Summer Garden Melamine Dinner Plate

Stylish solids

Even if you go for a bold hue, solid-color melamine plates are still subtle and sophisticated.

Modern Melamine Outdoor Dinner Plates, Set of 4

Threshold 10.5-Inch Dinner Plate

10.5-Inch Colored Base Melamine Dinner Plates, Set of 4

More interesting neutrals

Beige seems a lot less sad when it’s presented in an interesting shape or texture like with these neutral melamine plates.

11-Inch Tonal Melamine Dinner Plate

Larkin Outdoor Melamine Salad Plates, Set of 4

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