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How to Choose Quality Table Linen,
Serving Bowls and Plates

By Janine Collins

Choosing table linen and serving bowls can be tricky, but with a few pointers you can create a timeless, enviable collection. After all, those you love to share your table with deserve only the best. With a vast and tempting selection of table linen, serving bowls, platters and plates on offer you’re spoilt for choice, so narrow your search to pieces that co-ordinate easily together and will improve with time.


In a year punctuated with celebrations, you need pieces that lend themselves to a variety of dining occasions and meal types. Along with being adaptable to any gathering, you’ll need table linen that can complement both formal and casual looks, and tableware that’s as robust as it is beautiful.

Set the table

As the season changes, now is the perfect time to refresh a tired linen cupboard with new cotton tablecloths and accessories and to introduce warm and inviting natural textures of wood and earthenware that so easily complement the rustic appeal of autumn. After all, it is said that a beautifully set table can improve the perception of the meal that is served. So even if you’re no Michelin-star chef, your table is sure to show off your impeccable taste.

Materials to consider

Table linen

When picking tablecloths, you need fabric that is strong enough to survive your clumsier guests and frequent laundering at high temperatures. Cotton and linen are the best choices here, and as all-natural fibres, they set the standard in conscious

entertaining while feeling fabulous to the touch. As they wear, they become even softer, and as a visual canvas to the food you serve, they can’t help but become an important part of the memory of the occasion with their own heirloom status. Feast your eyes on the Chambery Cotton Tablecloth with its distinctive French stripe or the delicate contrasting stitches on Roubaix Cotton Tablecloth. Both would easily dress up or down as the occasion demands, and as such will soon become the most reliable staples in your collection.


Always remember you can layer tablecloths to achieve the desired coverage. Wooden boards will protect your table when you’re serving hot dishes, so collect these in varying sizes and shapes to adapt to changing table layouts.

Serving plates and dishes

Here it’s worth investing in sustainably produced wooden bowls in several sizes that not only look right at home against quality table linen, but whose rustic hues show off vibrant salads and desserts to their best advantage. Made from durable and dense

Mango wood, the Tripura Wooden Bowl has a pleasing grain and colour depth that sits comfortably between farmhouse casual and understated luxe. It’s easy to care for and like the best table linen, will outlast all at the table and become a much-treasured

kitchen gem.   


To complete the look of sheer elegance, you’ll want to choose ceramics with uncomplicated shapes, a mix of glazed and raw earthenware finishes and timeless pattered details. The hand-turned Vorster and Braye collection by renowned Cape

Town ceramicist Colin Braye ticks all the right boxes. Its clean lines and minimal aesthetic mean they’ll complement your table rather than overwhelm it. In their neutral palette, they pair perfectly with natural elements and will have an enduring place

among your go-to table accessories. 

Ready to shop

Now that you are more familiar with the hallmarks of quality tableware, you can shop with renewed focus and confidence knowing that you’re buying for the season and for future generations. Luxury is not always expensive, or about abundance. Oftentimes, it is found in the restrained minimalism that has a beauty all its own.

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