We’ve sourced tableware pieces that are versatile, durable and accessible – low-maintenance classics that are good enough for the fanciest dinner party but tough enough for everyday.
Buy stacks of dinner plates: 20 is better than 12, and 10 is better than 6. Forget fads, especially when it comes to plates. That means nothing square, oval or boat-shaped. Plain white round always works but there are some great stone, ecru and grey options worth investigating, too. If you crave pattern, keep it subtle. Never let the colour or design detract from the food.
Check chains like Ikea and Freedom for Ikea’s Arv dinnerware in white or grey which we use in our own homes, pictured, $4.99, plus Freedom’s handmade-style Sorrento dinnerware in nougat, $6.89, or best-selling Fossil stoneware dinner sets which we constantly feature in our magazine columns. Ikea, www.ikea.com.au; Freedom, 1300 135 588 www.freedom.com.au
All your glasses should be good enough to use everyday and when guests visit. They don’t have to be expensive. A practical, elegant glass can cost a few dollars. Forget snobbery and go for style and enjoyment. Glasses break: recognise the fact. When you find a style you like, buy in generous quantities.
If you have twenty glasses, you’ll feel little pain when the number dwindles to fifteen, twelve, eight, six….Clear glass is a classic, but don’t flinch from decorative styles, etched designs or colours. Beware of thin stems that feel as though they could snap between your fingers. Beware thin rims that feel as though they could crumble in your mouth. And no glasses that narrow at the top, induce claustrophobia and could be a trap for big-nosed friends.
Hit Freedom for its fab Spritsa wine glasses, $8.95, Spritsa tumblers, $6.95, and Evolve tumblers, $5.59, or Ikea for brill designs like the Bedarande wine glasses, $3.99 and tumblers, $1.99 which we use in our country pad; Frasera whiskey glasses, $1.99; Godis glasses, $5.99 for six; Barsk wine glasses, $3.99 for four. Freedom, 1300 135 588; www.freedom.com.au; Ikea (02) 8020 6641, www.ikea.com.au
Sniff out cutlery with classic shapes that feels good in the hand and on the lip. You’ll find great options at antique shops, chain stores and sales. Our favourites include Pottery Barn’s Katherine five-piece cutlery, $54, and Ikea’s Mogen 24-piece cutlery set, $29.99, or Dragon 24-piece cutlery set, $49.99. Pottery Barn, 1800 232 914 www.potterybarn.com.au; Ikea, www.ikea.com/au
And don’t forget the napkins, which have to be generous enough to do their job: 50cm squares are OK, but the best are even bigger. Try nipping down to your local chain and grabbing a stack of bargain tea towels in something smart like some latte-look linen which can double as napkins. Just smile as oil or red wine sloshes all over them, when the party’s over, bundle them up, and chuck in the washing machine. Chainstores are good hunting ground for pieces like Ikea’s Tekla tea towel, 49 cents. Ikea, www.ikea.com.au