The 10 Best Flatware Sets Have a Flavor for Every Palette
From charming traditional to matte black modern.
Published Jun 10, 2021 1:02 AM
There comes a moment in every person’s life when the hodgepodge of mismatched utensils that you’ve pieced together from college, IKEA, and that roommate who moved out and left hers behind has got to go. True, if your forks can poke and your spoons can scoop, they are technically getting the job done. But whether you’re eating a four-course feast or a morning egg, there’s so much more to the dining experience than just the mechanics: The way a great set of flatware looks on your table and feels in your hand might just be the secret ingredient your meals have been missing. Yet with seemingly endless options and no way to see or feel the pieces beforehand, shopping for flatware online is no easy task. That’s why we’ve scoured the market, chatted with experts, and narrowed our list down to the 10 best flatware sets for all aesthetics and price points. Now all you have to do is pick a set, find a recipe, and set the table in style.
- Best overall: Pottery Barn Luna Flatware Set
- Best deal: Lianyu Flatware Set
- Best modern: Alessi Dry Flatware
- Best traditional design: Crate & Barrel Grand Hotel II Flatware
- Best vintage inspired: Sharecook Matte Silverware Set
- Best bistro style: Sabre Bistrot Flatware
- Best gold: Farmhouse Pottery Stowe Flatware
- Best black: Heath Muir Flatware
- Best multicolored: West Elm Fantasia Flatware Set
- Best on-the-go: W&P Porter Stainless Steel Utensils With Silicone Carrying Case
A Few Things to Keep in Mind
Material: Stainless steel was discovered in 1913 and has been the go-to for everyday dining ever since, thanks to its durability, stain resistance, and dishwasher-safe unfussiness. Made from sterling silver, the same material used to fashion jewelry, traditional silverware is a much pricier investment than silver-plated flatware, which typically consists of a copper core coated in sterling silver. Both are known to tarnish and require polishing but actually can be dishwasher safe. Just be sure to rinse thoroughly and avoid washing with other metals and detergents that contain citrus.
Quantity: Flatware is usually sold by place setting—that is, all the utensils one person needs for their spot at the table. A single five-piece setting typically includes a salad fork, dinner fork, knife, tablespoon, and teaspoon. A box set, which bundles multiple place settings, can be a more affordable option; the most common is 20 pieces, which covers a table for four.
Design: While there is such a thing as classic etiquette, there’s something to be said for personal style. “There are no rules when it comes to setting a table,” say Silvana Cure and Valerie Ortega, cofounders of modern tablescape rental service Pleit. “Use your creativity and play with what you have at home.” But if you’re looking for a few guidelines, they recommend asking yourself what mood you want your table to convey. Do you prefer elegant affairs? Go with a classic stainless steel design. Are you a frequent pizza partyer? Feel free to get more casual by adding color or acrylic handles. Then match the color and materials of your flatware to the serveware (bowls, dishes, trays) it will be keeping company with. This visual consistency will leave room for you to mix things up with accessories like tablecloths, napkins, and florals.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: Pottery Barn Luna Flatware Set
Best Value: Lianyu Flatware Set
Best Modern: Alessi Dry Flatware
Best Traditional Design: Crate & Barrel Grand Hotel II Flatware
Best Vintage Inspired: Sharecook Matte Silverware Set
Best Bistro Style: Sabre Bistrot Flatware
Best Gold: Farmhouse Pottery Stowe Flatware
Best Black: Heath Ceramics Muir Flatware
Best Multicolored: West Elm Fantasia Flatware Set
Best On-the-Go: W&P Porter Utensils With Silicone Carrying Case
What’s the best quality of stainless steel flatware?
Stainless steel is an alloy, or blend of multiple metals. When it comes to flatware, the grades 18/10, 18/8, and 18/0 refer to the percentage of chromium and nickel present in the steel. The higher the percentage of nickel (the second number in the fraction), the better. Why? Nickel improves the shine, weight, and resistance to corrosion. Thus 18/10 stainless steel is the best-quality flatware to invest in. But according to Cure and Ortega, “Other ratios are not bad, they are just more susceptible to oxidation and rust if they are not handled and washed correctly.”
How do you set flatware on a table?
Forks go to the left of your plate; knives and spoons sit on the right. Place each piece in the order it will be used, starting from the outside and moving in.
How We Vetted These Products
Every product in a Domino guide meets these criteria:
- They blend form and function. We believe the best-designed products reflect your personal style and are a joy to use.
- They’re expert approved. In addition to our team of editors, we tap a range of designers, makers, renovators, and all-around knowledgeable people to share their intel.
- They’re endorsed by people who actually own them. We pay close attention to real reviews from both our creative community and third-party websites to know that they pass the test IRL.
The products in this story are independently selected by (obsessive) editors. Things you buy through our links may earn us a commission.