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A Guide to Styling Tableware

For today’s culinary consumer, food is about more than just flavour.

It is a full sensory experience for the eyes, hands, as well as taste buds, and tableware has become an extension of this. Tableware helps to set the overall tone and ambience of your dining experience.

According to scientific research, the colour, texture, and weight of tableware may also effect how you experience the flavours and mouth feel of a dish. Recent studies have found that hot chocolate tastes sweeter in an orange cup, red plates increase your appetite and yoghurt feels denser in the mouth when eaten from a plastic spoon.

When it comes to tableware for your home it is very easy to bring a bit of fine dining design to your table. When selecting pieces, consider the type you food you like to cook, your current home décor, and your own personal style. It can be a good idea to invest in a few different but complimentary sets that you can mix and match according to the occasion, whether you’re setting the table for a formal dinner party or casual weeknight meal.

Some important style elements to consider when styling your table include shape, texture and colour.

Shape

Gone are the days of the go-to round plate, modern tableware is thinking outside of the circle and getting creative with shape, so don’t be afraid to experiment with squares, rectangles, and irregular circles.

“Soft, slightly curved and generous shapes reflect current interior trends”, explains Country Road design manager, Joanna Ross. For inspiration look to Australian brands such as Country Road and Dinosaur Designs, who have just released a range of flowers shaped side plates.

However, don’t forget that there is no point having a set of beautiful low-rimmed plates if all you eat is soup! So choose shapes that will be practical for the dishes that you enjoy.

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Texture

Mixing contrasting textures will give your dinnerware an instant contemporary update. At the moment we are seeing the slow food movement extend to dinnerware, with a return of beautifully handcrafted pieces. Japanese style pottery is particularly in vogue with an earthy, grainy texture that creates a high impact contrast to smoother, more traditional plate styles.

Embossed patterns are another great way to incorporate subtle texture into your setting. We especially love French provincial styles such as the cabbage leaf plate to bring texture to a more traditional, vintage inspired table.

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Colour

White is the obvious choice for tableware when you what to make the dish the hero of your table. However, muted tones such as stone greys, chocolate and dusty pastels work well too, and can help to bring out the colours in the food. Robust and rustic dishes tend to be able to handle bolder colours such as rich reds, forest greens and deep blues.

If you are using a patterned set, a general rule of thumb is to layer patterned pieces with a complimentary plain colour. For a modern feel, try pairing a marble pattern with soft pastel blues or pinks. But hey, sometimes the rules are made to be broken so don’t be afraid t experiment with clashing prints.

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