But backing up a little, let’s define “placesetting” (also spelled “place setting”). The area where the dishes are placed in front of a diner is called a placesetting or the cover. It’s your personal dining space, so to speak.
In dish-speak, a placesetting is the assortment of dishes needed to feed one person. The items in that assortment have changed over time, as dish sets have moved from formal to more casual.
Count to Five: Traditional Placesettings
The traditional placesetting has five pieces. It includes the dinner plate, dessert or salad plate, bread and butter plate, and the teacup with saucer. In a variation on the theme, a cereal bowl or rim soup plate may be offered instead of the bread and butter plate. If you are serving a formal meal that has courses, the items in the five piece placesetting will be the most useful.
Stick with Four: Casual Placesettings
The casual placesetting has four pieces. It includes the dinner plate, dessert or salad plate, cereal bowl or rim soup plate, and mug. For everyday dining, the four piece placesetting is more popular.
Design your Own Placesetting
Of course, you don’t have to buy pre-packaged placesettings at all. You can choose the pieces that work with your lifestyle and choose pieces like pasta bowls, fruit saucers and luncheon plates.
If you choose a tried and true dinnerware pattern from an established company, you’ll be able to add to your collection for years.