The clocks have changed, the nights are drawing in. We’ve packed up the garden furniture and broken out the DVD player and the hot chocolate – we may not re-emerge until spring, at this rate!
One advantage of this time of year, though, is it’s a perfect time for throwing really sumptuous dinner parties. Hearty autumn food, log fire and a lovely table setting – who cares what the weather’s doing? If it’s time to update your dining table, look no further than our tableware picks.
How to choose your perfect tableware
First of all, think about how you’re going to use it. Is this going to be new everyday crockery, or just ‘for best’? If the latter, do you have anywhere to store it when not in use?
Crockery with gold accents such as plate rims and cup handles can look very pretty, especially by candlelight – but may not be dishwasher proof. Equally, fine bone china isn’t as robust as stoneware if you have a clumsy family!
If you can, always buy a few more plates and dishes than you think you need to allow for breakages.
1. Black is blue pottery tableware, Nordic Mood
With sleek, contemporary shapes and simple designs, these handmade blue and white Scandinavian-inspired plates and available in different sizes for a range of uses. Prices start at £12 from Nordic Mood.
2. Wobbler tableware, Loaf
A week spent in northern Portugal’s most beautiful countryside resulted in these perfectly imperfect ceramics from Loaf. No two are quite the same. They’re sold in sets of four (four side plates, four mugs etc), and prices start at £35 a set from Loaf.
3. Halo dinner plates in midnight blue, Clarissa Hulse
The hanging vines of the romantic String of Hearts spiral around the edge of these bone china plates, which are pretty enough for a special occasion but robust enough for every day. £44 for four, available from Clarissa Hulse.
4. Palm tree print ceramic dinner plate in green, Cult Furniture
Getting fed up of winter already? This palm tree design will transport you to warmer climes. The dinner plate, £13, is part of a set and is not dishwasher safe. Available from Cult Furniture.
5. Boho plate in damask red 27cm, Maxwell & Williams
Make a statement with the eclectic Boho range. This collection is inspired by textile patterns from around the world, from Japanese silks to French embroidery and features a wide variety of mix and match plates, bowls, platters and accessories. This plate costs £8.95, available from Maxwell & Williams.
6. Terracotta ‘lace’ crockery, Cox & Cox
Crafted from terracotta with a handpainted white glaze, this range of mugs, plates and dishes is hand pressed and glazed with a delicate debossed lace pattern, meaning that the placement, depth of impression and glaze finish on each piece is completely unique. A set of six mugs was £60 now £30, available from Cox & Cox.
7. Ramus 12-piece dinner service, MADE
For a makeover on a budget, this Ramus is hard to beat. It’s tableware that’s perfect for everyday and formal use, and it’s sturdy enough to go in the dishwasher after either, too. £29, available from MADE.
8. Insect mandala 13-piece dining set, The Curious Department
Embracing influences from Africa and Asia, this detailed pattern is inspired by beetles, ants and flies! Don’t worry, though, the effect is dazzling not disgusting. Made from Staffordshire bone china, the set costs £295 from The Curious Department.
9. Runner duck bowl, Sophie Allport
A quirky white porcelain bowl covered in small blue runner ducks, this is perfect as a cereal or pudding bowl. Other items are available in the range. £8, from Sophie Allport.
10. Audubon Louisiana heron mug, Natural History Museum
John James Audubon was an ornithologist, naturalist and painter, best known for his pioneering colour-plate book, The Birds of America. This mug is decorated with his sketch of a Louisiana heron, and costs £12 from the Natural History Museum.