The items no home should be without
A DOZEN WINE GLASSES
Quality blown glassware has aesthetic appeal, looks and feels good, and is nicer to drink from.
According to Wheel & Barrow store manager Amy Jobber, while men tend to prefer heavier glasses, women often prefer lighter ones.
For style and substance, you can’t beat Riedel stemless crystal glasses, which can be used for water or wine. “Crystal glasses are stronger, ” Ms Jobber says. “They make a ringing noise when you run your finger around the rim and a satisfying chink when you say cheers.”
A FULL CUTLERY SET
Ms Jobber recommends checking the feel and the weight of the cutlery in your hands before purchasing a set.
“And most customers buy individual pieces rather than a set nowadays. Not many people use two different-sized forks and often a dessertspoon can double as a soup spoon, ” Ms Jobber says.
She suggests buying at least eight of each utensil and 10-12 for families. Brushed handles are a wise choice if you have children because they show fewer fingerprints.
A GREAT VASE
A classic vase is a must-have to do justice to a beautiful bunch of flowers.
Florist Wendy Starling, owner of Lime Flowers in East Fremantle, suggests a tall glass vase with a diameter at the top of no more than 10cm.
“Avoid a large-mouthed vase because it can be expensive to fill, ” she says. “And clear glass is good because it goes with anything.
“You can always change the look by wrapping the vase in fabric, or putting leaves inside the vase. For more impact, you can even use food colouring. Try red food colouring with red roses for a bold look.”
She recommends soaking your vase in hot water with white vinegar for a really good clean.
A GENEROUS FLOOR RUG
Rugs define a space in a room and help to anchor furniture. They also make for comfort underfoot and help with noise reduction.
According to Freedom stylist Diane Cocksey, a rug is often a dominating factor in a space. “Always be generous with the size of your rug. You want to see and feel the beautiful colours, design and textures you are adding to the space, ” she says.
A WHITE DINNER SET
A full dinner set is always nicer than a hotchpotch of assorted crockery.
Fran Buccini, store manager of House in Fremantle, says cheaper porcelain often has a grey tinge so it is worthwhile investing in fine bone china. “White is good because you’re less likely to tire of it and you can always accessorise with brightly coloured napery or glasses, ” she says.
Look for an 18-piece set with six dinner plates, six side plates and six soup bowls that can double as dessert bowls. This will prove more economical because you can then add additional pieces such as mugs, noodle bowls, platters or a teapot.
A COMFORTABLE GUEST CHAIR
While virtually every home has a sofa, additional seating is often forgotten.
The best guest chair, Quinces owner Christine Little suggests, is a firm, fully upholstered carver with arms.
“Be kind to baby boomers and give us a chair we can get out of, gracefully, ” Ms Little says. Struggling to get out of a low soft chair deflates the ego and perching on a bony wooden chair is no better, she says. A carver chair with low arms can also double as a back-up dining chair.
She recommends choosing a patterned design, vibrant colour or texture.
“Choose something different from everything else in the room, nothing sensible. Think of it as an opportunity for a wow factor.”
A STYLISH LAMP
A lamp is essential to create ambience and to banish stark, one-dimensional lighting.
And according to interior designer Judith Barrett-Lennard, it can also be a piece of sculpture in a room and a chance to reflect your personality.
“Place lamps in areas that require added interest, especially in a dark corner or next to a chair so it can be used as a reading lamp, ” Ms Barrett-Lennard says.
She also places them on sideboards to balance paintings or a vase.
Keep in mind the height, width, colour and texture of a shade to complement the furnishings you have already, she says.
“I like shades that give a goldish glow and usually avoid blue shades because of the cool colour it gives to a room. Globes need to be frosted and 60-watt maximum.”
BEAUTIFUL BED LINEN
There is nothing like crawling into a bed made with crisp sheets and luxurious linen.
Sheridan general manager Paul Gould says quality bed linen can make you feel like you’re staying in a five-star hotel.
White is the most common colour choice, though silver and earthy tones too are becoming popular.
He suggests customers feel store samples to appreciate the difference.
No table setting is complete without napery, says Dandi founder and designer Caroline Davis, who considers it an important part of the dining experience.
“Imagine going to a top city restaurant and sitting down to a bare table. Napery sets the scene for the meal. Think of it as the entree for the senses, ” she says.
She suggests laying tablecloths and fabric napkins for formal settings, and managing spills with a spot cleaner before you take the cloth off the table.
“It’s much easier to see marks when it is on your table, ” she says.“And when ironing your tablecloth, position the ironing board alongside your table so you can slip it over the table and it won’t get crushed. Store it folded lengthways on a clothes hanger.
“When folding napkins take things a step further and embellish each setting by wrapping the napkins with colourful ribbon or natural twine.
“Then place a flower or a leaf on top. It’s a great way to personalise each setting.”
© The West Australian
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