It’s also the time that most homeware companies choose to launch their new tableware ranges, so it’s an opportune moment to spring-clean your cupboards and, perhaps, add to your own collection.
This spring’s tableware launches are full of colour and pattern, with soft pastels and decorative glazes from brands such as Sophie Conran at John Lewis, Murmur Living and the furniture company Swoon, which has just launched its debut tableware range, characterised by luminous tones and ombré glazing.
Elsewhere, Habitat has released chunky stoneware plates in bold cobalt blue, burnt orange and semi-matt black, and Ligne Blanche, available at Selfridges, is producing statement-making porcelain plates emblazoned with punchy prints by the likes of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
If white is your go-to for tableware, try Brissi and Neptune for everyday designs with a touch of elegant detail.
Soho Home, a brand that brings the laid-black glamour of the Soho House members’ clubs to the homes of members and non-members alike, has just launched a new collection inspired by its City hotspot The Ned. The club’s collaboration with the heritage British china house Burleigh has resulted in a delicate archive print, Hibiscus, produced exclusively in a deep sage green. It’s used at The Ned to serve afternoon tea, but would look just at home in a rustic, country-house setting.
There’s plenty of choice on offer, but what to do if you want to refresh your tableware, without investing in a whole new dinner set?
According to the Parisian tableware designer Marie Daage, you don’t need a full complement of matching china to make an elegant table setting, and the chic way is to mix and match, rather than buying a full new collection - a more affordable option that also allows for added creativity.
Daage has recently collaborated with the interior designer Rita Konig on a new collection of hand-painted Limoges-porcelain tableware designed for just that purpose, available through Konig’s shop (ritakonig.com). With bold, Bloomsbury-esque patterns of leaves, petals and stripes in strong blues, greens and reds, plus the odd touch of pink, the dinner and dessert plates can be combined with each other and existing collections.
The prices reflect the china’s handmade, artisanal quality - £140 for two dessert plates - but are undeniably elegant, with delicate gilded edges, and Daage is an exponent of investing in a few special pieces to raise your tablescape game.
‘It’s like when you get dressed - you don’t have to buy everything from one brand,’ she says. ‘If you have an old set of tableware that is no longer complete, you can make it new again with fresh pieces. Buy a few plates to update your collection; it can completely change the look. A traditional floral pattern will look new when paired with a stripe.’
Daage’s advice is to have fun with place setting, and make your table a work of art: ‘Consider the colours of the room, and think of it as a picture,’ she suggests. ‘Dress it up or down: hand-painted china can look very modern, or very classic with a white tablecloth. Make it pretty with fabric placemats and coloured glasses, add a sprig of ivy or whatever you have in the garden, and put candles in teacups. The table is a place to be creative.’
Her eclectic approach even extends to cutlery: ‘Mixing and matching knives and forks is very French,’ she says. ‘You might have some you’ve inherited from your family and some from elsewhere.’ To take the French line, place the cutlery turned over, so that you can see the hallmark. ‘The English like to keep it hidden,’ she notes.
If you’re thinking of investing in a new set of cutlery, gold is the colour to choose for a contemporary look, working well on a scrubbed wooden table laid with chunky earthenware in this season’s pastel tones. Ralph Lauren Home is the luxe choice, and for the affordable option, try Amara, Zara Home and Next. Kalinko stocks Burmese cutlery with mother-of-pearl and jade handles, and West Elm sells flatware in gold, copper or matt black, for the ultimate in impactful table-setting.