20 Sets of Vintage-Inspired Dishware For Setting a Gorgeous Dinner Table
There’s a reason why so many people flock to huge antique shows and flea markets year after year—like the annual antique fair in Round Top, Texas, that attracts thousands of visitors every year. People go to antique shows like this because they can’t get enough of the special vintage items they come across—the ones that have history and a story behind them, the ones that add charm and an eclectic touch to any home.
Anchor Hocking might have put the famous Jadeite Fire King dishware on everyone’s radar in the 1940s, and pretty pastel-colored Pyrex dishes might have been the dishware of choice in almost every home in America through the 1950s and 1960s, but we’re still seeing inspiration from those brands today.
If you’re like me, you love finding the originals in flea markets and antique stores, but there’s no doubt that the replicas in stores now are almost as good as the real thing. There’s no reason you can’t recreate that all-pink kitchen your grandma used to have! We’ve curated a special list of vintage-inspired dishware, including plates, bowls, and cups that were directly influenced by some of the most popular trends of the ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s, like mid-century modern design, pastel colors, and jadeite glass, hobnail glass, and Pyrex. Here’s where you can shop our favorite retro look-alikes.
It’s true that jadeite dishes are making a comeback in a big way. This pretty, mint-green-colored tabletop trend first became popular back in the 1930s and 1940s when the McKee Glass Company reportedly started the trend during the Great Depression. The company mixed green scrap glass with its opaque formula, creating what we know today as “milk glass,” and it quickly became a household staple thanks to its inexpensive price, getting the nickname “depression glass.” Since then, big names in home design like Martha Stewart and Joanna Gaines have been bringing back this popular farmhouse style into their own modern home collections.
Hobnail Glass Dishes
The hobnail glass trend was starting by the company Fenton Glass, which was started in 1905. Similar to the jadeite trend, hobnail glass became a staple for families during World War II during a time when American importing companies couldn’t receive glassware from overseas. In 1952, the hobnail glass design became Fenton’s flagship pattern, which Bill Fenton once said became the company’s “bread and butter” collection.
Look-Alike Vintage Pyrex Dishes
The classic Pyrex dishes that your grandmother might have used have a long, 111-year history. It all started in 1908 when Corning Glass Works began producing Nonex, a thermally-resistant expansion glass, according to Kitchn. Because the glass could withstand temperature changes and didn’t retain food smells or change the taste of food, it was one of the most innovative glasses for dishware and bakeware on the market, quickly becoming a staple in households for cooking and baking. While the company first started making dishware pieces in clear glass, it began producing the iconic colorful pieces in 1936 using opal glass, which also had the same heat-resistant properties. Shortly after in 1945, the infamous pastel-colored Pyrex nesting bowls were released. Today, we continue to see modern versions of nesting mixing bowls with patterns inspired by some of the vintage Pyrex patterns of the 1950s and 1960s in pastel colors such as as an eggshell blue or a bubblegum pink.
Blue-and-White Porcelain Dishes
If you have a more traditional style and like to keep it simple when it comes to color, you’ll love the rich history behind blue-and-white porcelain. The blue hue in Chinese pottery became popular during the Tang dynasty (618 to 907) when cobalt ores were imported from Persia. And since these ores were also very rare and scarce, they could only be used in limited quantities, according to a Chinese ceramics specialist for Christie’s. While some of these antique blue-and-white porcelain china patterns sell for thousands at high-end antique auctions today, there are look-alike pieces you can shop for your home if you can’t get enough of this classic pottery style.
Mid-Century Modern Dishes
In a nutshell, mid-century design and style can be characterized as clean lines, geometric patterns, and a mix of bold and neutral colors. The style itself was been widely popularized first by the Bauhaus era in Germany and then by the aesthetics that interior designer and architect Frank Lloyd Wright made popular throughout his architecture during the mid-1930s through the 1950s. Today, we see mid-century modern touches in everything from furniture and bedding to dishware.
Antique Floral China
Your grandma’s china cabinet may have been filled with dinnerware pieces that were totally off limits, but these days we can’t resist a pretty floral patterned plate to accessorize the dinner table, especially if it’s vintage! In case you’re a beginner to vintage floral china patterns, there’s about 12 different ones that are the most well-known, according to Country Living. If your style is more classic, you might gravitate toward a Lady Carlyle piece, which is a 19th-century English china pattern. Or if your aesthetic if more country floral, we love the Old Country Roses pattern, which was developed in 1962 by English maker Royal Albert. While traditional china pieces were typically only used for special occasions, these pieces are timeless, and we think they should be used for more than just formal dinner parties. In case you don’t want to search antique stores for the originals, there’s plenty of look-alikes to shop today.
- Gardenshire Dinner Plates, Set of 4: $80; anthropologie.com.
- The Pioneer Woman Vintage Floral Red 12-Piece Dinnerware Set: $50; walmart.com.
- Country Roses Vintage Bone China 5-Piece Set: $84 (was $129); wayfair.com.
- The Pioneer Woman Timeless Floral & Retro Dot 12-Piece Dinnerware Set: $50; walmart.com.