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When To Get New Silverware and Flatware

Since your tableware gets used every day -- if not multiple times each day -- it's vital to have silverware and flatware sets you love. It's likely you'll have a fine dining set of utensils, too, perhaps in sterling or with horn inlay. Consider your flatware needs and discover when it's time to pick up new forks, knives and spoons.

What Is Silverware and Flatware?

Flatware is the set of utensils used for eating. Silverware is flatware or cutlery made of or coated in the metal silver.

  • Flatware consists of forks, spoons and knives. By contrast, serveware are the bigger forks and spoons meant for serving food.
  • When you buy flatware in sets, you get two forks, two spoons and one knife. An extra spoon is for soup. An extra fork is for salad.
  • Silverware can be a catch-all term for flatware, but technically is flatware with silver coating or made of solid sterling.
  • You can also choose flatware with copper handles, a goldtone finish or other creative looks.

Milestone Moments Call for New Tableware

Life is full of important moments when you should have special flatware to set your table. There are also times when selecting a service or receiving a gift of flatware is traditional.

  • When couples marry, they often place flatware sets on their registry. When you register your wedding with Williams Sonoma, you also get to include gifts from Pottery Barn and west elm.
  • When you buy a new home, it's a great time to fill new drawers or hutches with a special set.
  • If one of your children gets married, you might gift them an heirloom set of silverware. You can replace the set you gifted with a new set for your own home.

Selecting An Everyday Set of Flatware

For everyday flatware, select a design and finish you love. Take a few tips for shopping.

  • Choose balanced utensils. The bottoms of knives should be lightweight or of equal weight to the handle.
  • Ensure you like the size of the tines. This is personal to you. Some people like three tines. Some like four.
  • Four is generally most comfortable for dining, but if you have young children, you might want to accommodate them with their own set.
  • Consider looks. If you love copper utensils, but your partner likes stainless steel, you might get both and alternate using each set for different occasions. Also, make sure you like the shape of the handle.

The best time to select everyday flatware is when you decide you want a new set. Enjoy shopping for new utensils and let yourself add serving pieces and more to your set with time.

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