Your dining room is more than just a place to eat; whether you live alone, with a group of friends or with your family, sitting around the dining room table is about reflecting on the day that’s just gone by, this may be by talking to each other or just thinking back, but it helps you to collate your thoughts, enjoy some food and think about the next day. If you don’t love the setting and décor in your dining room (or kitchen) this won’t be the happy place it should be – you’ll avoid going in there, so it’s important to choose the right tableware essentials for you, and choosing tableware leads to many questions like what even is tableware? Our buyer’s guide will take you through some key questions around choosing tableware so you can create the ideal dining room you can’t get enough of!
What is tableware?
Going out and choosing tableware or reading up about choosing tableware is all well and good, but what actually is tableware? This is key to know whether you’re just moving into a new place or wanting to spruce up your dining room. Simply put, tableware is anything that goes into setting your table. Indeed, it includes all your essential dishes, cutlery, and glassware, but this buyer’s guide will focus on the more decorative tableware, perhaps what you could call table accessories, for example, placemats, coasters, table runners, and serving dishes/bottles.
Many tableware essentials are primarily designed to protect table tops and surfaces, for example, placemats, coasters, table runners, and trivets. The everyday use of your dining table is essential, so scratches, marks, stains, and spillages will happen - matter how hard we try and prevent it. These tableware essentials will protect your surfaces by forming protective layers and minimalizing the chance of damage.
Some tableware essentials are there purely for convenience, for example napkin holders or napkin rings – they are there to make life easier when those accidents happen. Also, olive oil bottles/vinegar bottles are there for convenience – to add to the flavour of your dishes.
Whenever choosing tableware, we choose the colours, patterns, and materials we like the look of, as well as their practical impact, so we could argue that the purpose of tableware is decorative – but there is more to it. Tableware essentials are essentially accessories to create the dining table aesthetic you want, whether it be a modern sleek look, or a vintage farmhouse look. Also, you can use tableware essentials to create different settings on special occasion or seasons, e.g., Christmas!
Choosing tableware for the everyday is of course about choosing accessories you love the look of, but also their practicality and reliability, if you’re using something every day you need it to be durable and last a while, otherwise you’ll always be buying new tableware, and no one wants that. Slate, marble, and glass are great materials for everyday tableware essentials being particularly durable and strong, and easily cleaned with just a simple wipe over. Similarly, cotton is durable too, however, when spillages happen, they’re not as easy to wash, usually needing to go in the washing machine.
However, when it comes to fine dining, special occasions, and events, throw out the rule book! Well not completely, you still want something strong and durable if you’re going to spend a little more on it, but it’s more about creating a table setting that looks great. We all need have a special crockery set for those special occasions, so why should it be any different for our tableware essentials? Placemats, coasters, table runners, charger plates, napkin rings, serving platters – get them all out! It’s great to look for tableware essentials that stand out – that make you feel like this is a special occasion, and of course, on seasonal holidays, themed tableware is a must-have.
Choosing colours, shapes & textures
Whether you’re choosing tableware for protection, convenience, or decoration, you need to love how it looks and it needs to go with your interior décor – consider the colours, materials, and shapes of your walls, furniture, crockery etc.
You probably already have a colour theme for your dining room or kitchen, so choosing tableware that matches with that is key – if not, then you need to think of a style you quite like, perhaps a country farmhouse aesthetic, Scandi chic, or a mix of patterns and bright colours. It’s always great to keep up with current trends, however this will be an ongoing process, you’ll be changing things around a lot, which takes up time and money, so keep that in mind when choosing tableware.
Like your special occasions’ crockery set, you could have an alternative set of tableware essentials, in a different style and colour, that really creates that fine dining experience. Perhaps, you opt for bold and bright causal tableware, a sleek black or luxurious gold would be great for your special set, or on the other hand, if you have quite plain, casual tableware, going for bold and bright colours for your second set could be a great option!
As with a lot of home décor, shape can really make a difference and an impact in the aesthetic you’re after, so choosing tableware with shapes in mind is a great start. Rounded edges are often seen as soft touches in your décor, creating a relaxed environment, great for dining rooms with lots of straight lines and rectangular or square furniture – tables, cabinets, cupboards etc., on the other hand, straight lines, harsh edges, can make more of a statement and grab attention. They can make the table set up look very organised and neat – great for dining rooms striving for that traditional feel.
Now you’ve thought about the colours, you should think about the textures you like – the materials. This can also be distinguished for a formal and informal set, for example, opt for cotton placemats for a stylish but causal everyday place setting, then natural slate placemats for occasions.
If you’re looking for eco-friendly options, woven palm leaf and seagrass, are 100% recyclable, eco-friendly and sustainable materials that will give you peace of mind.
Top tips when choosing tableware
- Decide on a style/aesthetic before you start shopping,
- Keep practicality, convenience, and décor in mind,
- Use your tableware to create a table centrepiece - check out our blog on this!
- Have two sets so you can enjoy an entirely new experience on different occasions,
- Have fun with it!
Restaurants tend to leave olive oil bottles, vinegar bottles etc., on your table, for your use (convenience = tick!) and because it looks sophisticated and professional. Our olive oil bottle from Argon Tableware does exactly that in your home, with a durable glass bottle and stainless-steel spout (practical = tick!) it’s perfect for demanding modern homes and is non corrosive under contact with vinegar.Argon Tableware Glass Olive Oil Pourer Bottle
Made from 100% cotton, this cream table runner, also available in various other colours, is a great decorative touch for your table (tick!) with its lightweight and flexible, contemporary design. Being machine washable, when it catches spillages and stains, simply throw it in the washing machine and it will be as good as new (practical = tick!). With matching placemats, you can have a complete dining table set up.Nicola Spring Ribbed Cotton Cream Table Runner
These slate placemats and coasters have ben individually cut, resulting in raw edges with a unique finish. They are crafted from natural slate, so are hard-wearing and heat resistant (practical = tick!) and they have a gorgeous rustic appeal (décor = tick!) that suits any interior décor. With soft padded feet on the bottom, table tops, and surfaces will be protected from scuffs and scratches, and simply wipe down with a damp cloth for easy cleaning.Argon Tableware 12 Piece Square Slate Placemat & Coaster Set