Dinner time is extremely precious and it can really bind a family together forever. When everyone gathers around food and drink at the end of a long day, there are some lovely moments and an opportunity to strengthen lasting bonds. A charming table, set with elegant linen, tableware and serve ware, can brighten up the mood and get the conversation flowing pleasantly.

For family dinners it is best to keep things casual and non-fussy. Lightweight plates are great if your family often eats outdoors or buffet-style. Heavier stoneware and porcelain work better for sit-down family meals. If you have young kids around, consider a material that is break-resistant or shatter-proof. Whatever be the type of tableware you opt for, ensure that it is dishwasher safe and does not stain or scratch easily.

Tableware can be purchased in sets with four, six or eight place settings, based on your needs. A place setting typically consists of a dinner and side plate, a cereal bowl, a cup and saucer. This type of set will take you from breakfast to dinner, with a dish for every kind of food.

Accompanying glasses, water jugs, serving platters and bowls, cutlery, soup and dessert bowls are not to be missed. These can be purchased as add-ons to the main dinner set, or you can look for items that don’t exactly match, but complement the look that you have in mind.

An important element of the table setting is a pretty tablecloth. There are plenty of choices here – solid colours, stripes, checks, prints and weaves. Runners can be used to add a layered look to the table. Plastic table mats are very practical and guard the linen against any spills. These can be just wiped off and reused. Don’t forget trivets for setting hot dishes and pans on the table.

A bowl of fresh flowers or fruit looks welcoming and cosy when placed as a centrepiece. Setting a beautiful table does not take too long but once you’ve done it, it becomes the heart of the home, inviting the family to linger long after the meal is over and cleared away.

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