Addie Collins. Dining Room. February 05th , 2018.
Plain and simple. Tables of chic eateries everywhere have increased the popularity of simple white serving ware in our kitchens (think back - it really wasn't so long ago that a matching set of patterned plates was everyone's table staple at home). A favourite with the majority of chefs and restaurants, a plain white plate can provide a 'frame' for food, transforming even the most basic beans on toast into a culinary delight, while still proving the perfect foil for more adventurous dinner party dishes. As a result, chefs are increasingly being asked to collaborate with tableware companies when they're developing new products - take Jamie Oliver's collection for Royal Worcester and the new Gordon Ramsay range by Royal Doulton. For the latter, a design team visited the TV star's restaurants to study how both chefs and customers used their plates. The resulting tableware is both glamorous and functional.
Dishwasher or Hand Washing? Cloudy glasses are the scourge of dishwasher lovers everywhere. As Kate Dyson explains, 'The cloudiness is the result of washing too often with detergents that are too aggressive. Always use a separate glass programme and never be tempted to mix glasses in with the pots and pans. Make sure your dishwashing machine has the right amount of salt and rinse aid, too, and buy the best-quality washing tablets possible, as this really does make a difference. Also be especially careful not to put antique or special glass in a dishwasher.' By far the best option, though, is to wash by hand. 'Just a little squirt of Fairy Liquid in a plastic bowl with hot water will do the trick. Wash glasses one by one, then rinse them in cold water. Finally, place them on a clean tea towel laid over the draining board and leave them to dry naturally in the air.'
The color red was traditionally thought to stimulate appetite which is why it was the color of choice in many formal dining room settings. Dining rooms were formally decorated, usually in heavy flock wallpaper at the time when coal fires were the norm and ladies and gentlemen dressed for dinner. In the vast dining rooms of the era when these dining habits were usual, and central heating still unheard of, ladies' décolleté required the warmth reflected off the rich reds and the textured wall coverings to absorb the warmth from the coal fires. This style has overflowed into other formal dining settings, often still the norm in various gentlemen's clubs and many formal hotels. However, dining room decorating is changing, with light airy themes now coming to the fore - possibly reflecting the change in dietary habits and menu choices.
The shape of your table is also a concern. Round tables may look good, but if you have a small room it may not be practical. The next step is deciding what type of finish you want on your new dining set. Choose a chair style. Is it going to have a cushion or a high back? Maybe you would like the head of the table to have a chair with arm rests. You may even like a bench. The choices are endless so be creative and choose something you would like. Even if you have a small dining room there are options. A small table against a wall is great for couples who don't need more than a couple chairs. Finding these sets is quite easy with a simple online search or by visiting your local furniture store.
Colour and texture. 'The classic white plate is the white T-shirt of the tabletop world,' says Donna Hay, Livingetc's contributing food editor. Donna suggests thinking of your tabletop in the same way you think of fashion. 'Adding colour or texture is easy to do with dipping bowls, platters and other smaller items. Just as with fashion, these are those inexpensive accessory purchases that are easy to part with after the trend has passed'. Another way to introduce personality is by mixing basics with well-loved, vintage hand-me-downs or flea-market finds. 'We're definitely getting more eclectic,' says Bill Granger. 'I used to have cupboards full of white plates, but now colour and pattern are creeping back in. I have plates that don't match for the first time in years.' This works equally well in reverse if you've inherited a traditional dinner service, as by interspersing homely items, you can create a much friendlier atmosphere. Alternatively, Caroline Clifton-Mogg, author of China and Glass (Jacqui Small, £25), suggests going for different textures and tones of white to create a more varied look. 'Buy dishes that include white in the design, but add one or two new colours or a motif in a different hue.'
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