This is something you will be using everyday and for casual dinner parties and buffets.
Going WHITE is not a bad idea---- It can be mixed with virtually anything. A floral mug, bowl, glass dishes, wooden salad bowls. the possibilities are endless. If this is too plain for you, a nice neutral pottery feel is also very versatile. If this is also too plain--select a color that works well long term--please NOT black! Traditional colors such as blues, greens will work. The whimsical "Fiestaware" or the more traditional "Blue Willow" patterns are longtime favorites ---Then you can add simple accessory items.
1. A set of glass dishes goes a long way--they can be used for salad, desserts, glass bowls are great for ice cream and cereal. The price point on glass is also very favorable.
2. If you are big salad people--invest in some wooden salad bowls which add texture to the table settings and offer hefty salad portions. Remember wood NEVER goes in the dishwasher. It should be hand washed and dried immediately.
3. Oriental Shops have great Blue and White dishes and bowls that are inexpensive and can be added where needed.
4. If you are buying table settings try to get MUGS instead of cups and saucers. UNLESS you are the "Proper Tea" person--- you will rarely use the cup and saucer.
Not EVERYTHING has to be matched--a little mix up adds interest and makes for a GREAT table!
GREAT SOURCES FOR EVERYDAY DISHES:
Crate and Barrel
Sur Le Table