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Buying guides

Washing machines


Everything from the type of table linen you need to which glasses go with what drink, our guide will help you choose what’s best for you.

stain resistance symbol


Polycotton is hard-wearing, drapes well when used as a tablecloth and comes in stain-resistant and minimal-iron options

iron symbol

Cotton and linen

Cotton is durable and can be washed at high temperatures, while linen needs a gentler wash. You need to iron both

wipe clean symbol

Coated vinyl and acrylic

Both are practical and easy to wipe clean. Acrylic looks just like fabric

heat-resistant symbol

Table protectors

These sit under your tablecloth and are heat-resistant


Different materials or substrates make a difference to the look and feel of your tableware.



Strong, practical and affordable, earthenware is often a little thicker, and is perfect for everyday use



Affordable yet luxurious, porcelain is renowned for its translucency yet has an extremely tough glazed surface



Terracotta retains heat well. A high iron content gives the warm red colour

bone and fine china

bone and fine china

Both look delicate but are very tough. Bone china is our whitest, strongest and most translucent tableware. Fine china is creamier in look and more affordable



Fired at high temperatures, stoneware is very tough and heat-resistant. It’s perfect for serving from oven to table

dining ranges

our dining ranges

If you're looking to match all of your tableware, we have over 100 dining ranges to choose from – there's a colour, style and material for every budget and taste


A classic choice for any occasion. Designed exclusively for John Lewis & Partners by award-winning ceramic designer Queensberry Hunt


Simple by form yet practical by nature, our Contour range will be at home on any dining table


Previously known as Cuisine. Slightly chunkier than the other ranges, beautifully translucent and strong


Heralds a return to the pared-back basics of food presentation – elegantly clean and simple, with a focus on the food itself

china table setting


Beautiful and tough

High-quality white bone china is the strongest and most translucent ceramic there is. Though it looks delicate, it’s tough enough for daily use and is dishwasher safe

Everything for your table

We offer every item you could need in four designs, whether you like a formal or a relaxed table setting

Create your own look

Every piece in each range has the same weight, quality, translucency and finish, so you can mix and match between designs, to create a look just right for you

New ideas

Our Contour side plates sit perfectly with Cornet dinner plates. Or why not try the Cupola pasta bowl set on top of a Concave dinner plate? The possibilities are endless


The right shape of glass will make a difference to the taste and aroma of drinks.

White wine

A narrow mouth retains the aroma of white wine and keeps it cool

Red wine

Larger, rounded glasses amplify red wine’s rich flavours and are concentrated towards your mouth by a gently tapered rim


Tall flutes retain the fizz in sparkling wines and keep them chilled. Coupe glasses suit sweeter champagnes

Tumblers and highballs

Ideal for short and long mixed drinks, these also double up as water glasses


Slender glasses enhance the flavours of lager, while fizzier Belgian beers are best paired with stemmed glasses. Conical pint glasses are ideal for stouts and bitter


A classic conical glass will keep cocktails cool, while the wide mouth boosts complex flavours


Soda glass

Affordable and extremely versatile, soda glass is perfect for everyday use


This is a good value alternative to lead crystal and ideal for any occasion. It’s also more transparent than soda glass

Lead Crystal

Very high quality, perfect for special occasions, lead crystal has a beautiful transparency, reassuring weight and bell-like tone


An exceptionally strong crystal that’s more resistant to knocks than ordinary glass


Environmentally responsible, ultra-clear and durable, Sparkx glass is lead-free and particularly resistant to cloudiness


Every piece is unique, with natural quirks that add character

cutlery setting


What do the grades mean?

Stainless steel grades show the nickel content. 18/0 contains 18% chrome and no nickel and is the most affordable. 18/10 contains 18% chrome and 10% nickel, giving better resistance to corrosion and a highly polished finish

Staying sharp

All stainless steel knife blades are 13/10, because zero nickel gives a longer-lasting sharper edge

Stamped and forged steel

Simple stamped cutlery is good value and ideal for everyday use. Durable forged steel is always handcrafted and is the highest quality choice

Looking for silver?

Our sterling silver cutlery (available to order only) is 92.5% pure silver, with every item hallmarked to guarantee quality. For silver-plated cutlery, a coating is applied to a mixture of copper, zinc and nickel. The minimum British standard is 20 microns – our entire range of silver plated cutlery has at least a 30 micron rating. Both silver-plated and sterling silver cutlery are corrosion-resistant, but can be tarnished by sulphides in the atmosphere and in certain foods, such as egg


Whichever sort of cutlery you choose, with a little effort it’s easy to care for, so you can keep it gleaming and tarnish-free when it’s not in use.

Cleaning stainless steel cutlery

Stainless steel is stain-resistant but not stain-proof. The highest quality stainless steel contains 18% chrome for durability and protection against corrosion, as well as 10% nickel for lustre and resistance to high temperatures. Knife blades contain 13% chrome and no nickel for a longer lasting, sharper edge.

  • Wash stainless steel separately from silver and sterling silver-plated cutlery, as contact while wet can result in a chemical reaction that damages silver
  • Restore shine with stainless steel polish
  • Take special care with knives, as the higher percentage of chrome makes them more prone to corrosion

Cleaning silver cutlery

Sterling silver and silver-plated cutlery is corrosion-resistant, though it can be tarnished by sulphides in the atmosphere and in certain foods, such as egg. Silver is a soft metal, which scratches easily, though with proper care over time it can develop a beautiful sheen. Our sterling silver cutlery is 92.5% pure silver and hallmarked to guarantee quality, while our silver-plated cutlery is coated with a mixture made up of copper, zinc and nickel, with a minimum rating of 30 microns.

  • Use dip or polish on a silver cloth to clean tarnished silver, following manufacturer's’ instructions
  • Restore shine with a soft, dry cloth and store in an anti-tarnish roll or canteen

Our Cleaning department sells stainless steel polish, while Silverware sells anti-tarnish rolls and canteens, which are designed for larger collections of cutlery. They’re usually lined with a soft fabric like flock to protect the cutlery from scuffs and tarnishing.


    •    Unless clearly marked, all our cutlery patterns are dishwasher safe
    •    Always use liquid detergent, not powder
    •    Don’t use wire wool or abrasive cleaners


table setting diagram

Whatever the occasion, casual or formal, dinner guests will be impressed by your table setting efforts.

For a traditional look, take a look at our infographic.

We have lots of beautiful images of all our tableware ranges and collections to inspire you – just follow the link.