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TABLE SETTING & TABLEWARE

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.

CHOOSING YOUR TABLE LINEN

Discover your options to protect your table and add colour to your setting

stain resistance symbol

Polycotton

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

CHOOSING YOUR PLATES, BOWLS AND DISHES

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

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

dining ranges

Bone China

Bone china looks delicate but is tough. It's our whitest, strongest and most translucent tableware

stoneware

stoneware

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

bone and fine china

Fine china

Fine china is delicate yet tough, creamier in colour compared to bone china and more affordable

terracota

Terracotta

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

porcelain

Porcelain

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

 

earthenware

Earthenware

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

china table setting

WHY CHOOSE WHITE BONE CHINA?

Apart from its classic versatility, discover other benefits of keeping things simple.

Beautiful & tough

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

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

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

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

CHOOSING YOUR GLASSWARE

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

Champagne

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

Tumblers & highballs

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

Beer

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

Cocktails

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

TYPES OF GLASS

The type of glass used makes a difference to price, weight and durability

Soda glass

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

Crystal

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

SON.hyx

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

Sparkx

Ultra-clear and durable, Sparkx glass is lead-free and particularly resistant to cloudiness

Handmade

Every piece is unique, with natural quirks that add character

cutlery setting

CHOOSING YOUR CUTLERY OR CUTLERY SETS

Our cutlery selection is available in a wide range of prices from affordable to premium. Here's what makes the difference.

Handle types

  • Metal - a classic choice, metal handles give cutlery a satisfying weight. Hollowed handles offer a lightweight option
  • Plastic - lightweight and available in a variety of colours and design features
  • Wood - a premium feel and natural look. Consider wood that has been sustainably sourced

Stainless steel grades

Stainless steel grades show the chrome and nickel content. 18/0 contains 18% chrome and no nickel. The highest quality, 18/10 contains 18% chrome and 10% nickel. The combination of metals used affects its strength, corrosion resistance and shine.

Grade Corrosion resistance Shine
18/10 High High
18/8 High Good
18/0 Good Good
13/0 Used specifically for knives which need more strength and longer-lasting sharpness but are more vulnerable to corrosion

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

Silver cutlery

Our sterling silver cutlery (available to order online only; on display at John Lewis & Partners Oxford Street) is 92.5% pure silver, with every item hallmarked to guarantee quality for 25 years.

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 yolk or lemon.

You can wash silver cutlery by hand or in the dishwasher, but it mustn't be mixed with stainless steel in the basket. Avoid detergents containing lemon, and remove as soon as the cycle has finished and hand dry.

Knife serration and sales

In order to maintain their sharpness, knives aren’t plated with silver and need to be cared for slightly differently to other cutlery. See the Caring for Your Cutlery section of this guide.

Our steak knives are micro-serrated which means less force is required to cut through your favourite meat.

The sale of certain knives is subject to age-restricted sales by law and in support of the government initiative to tackle knife crime, we no longer sell kitchen knives and blades of a certain length online. You can still browse them online and buy them in our shops.

 

CARING FOR YOUR CUTLERY

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. Follow these tips to keep it looking its best.

  • Wash stainless steel separately from silver and sterling silver-plated cutlery, as contact while wet can result in a chemical reaction that damages silver
  • Cutlery with wooden, plastic or ceramic handles should be hand washed unless stated as dishwasher safe
  • Rinse cutlery of any food remnants before placing in the dishwasher. Do not soak
  • Take special care with knives, as the higher percentage of chrome makes them more prone to corrosion. Do not use rinse and hold dishwasher cycles when washing knives. 
  • All tap water contains mineral salts. To prevent this leaving a thin layer on your cutlery always wipe it dry thoroughly straight after washing or when the dishwasher cycle has finished
  • Most stains can be removed with a soapy cloth but occasionally you may need to use a more vigorous treatment on your cutlery such as polishing with a stainless steel cleaner

 

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. 

  • Always wash silver cutlery separately from other metals
  • Rinse cutlery of any food remnants before placing in the dishwasher. Do not soak
  • Use dip or polish on a silver cloth to clean tarnished silver, following the manufacturer's instructions
  • Restore shine with a soft, dry cloth and use cutlery cleaner. Store in an anti-tarnish roll or a fabric-lined cutlery canteen for larger collections to protect the cutlery from scuffs and tarnishing

Tip

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

WHAT SHOULD A TABLE SETTING LOOK LIKE?

Here's an easy guide to the conventional way to set a table

table setting diagram

We have lots of beautiful images of all our tableware ranges and collections to inspire you 

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