The last two months of the year are usually filled with dinner parties, reunions and catching up with friends and family. And it’s the perfect season for it: breezy summer days for long lunches, and warm, slow nights enjoying everyone’s company for hours.
While the focus is usually on the food, drinks, music and activities, nothing sets the tone for a party as much as your surroundings. Simple touches on the table can start conversations and keep them going all night. We’ve got you covered with this excellent list of local labels to shop.
Carlotta & Gee tablecloths, from $100
Sydney bedding label Carlotta & Gee launched its range of homewares and table linens to bring the experience of dining out into our homes. Best friends Georgie Cavanagh and Carlotta Casals are committed to sustainability, using 100 per cent flax linen, which keeps its shape better than other fibres and requires less water than cotton or wool.
The tablecloths come in three sizes and seven colours, while there are nine designs for the napkins, ranging from soft cloudy hues and natural stripes to bold terracottas and dusty olives. They’re great for intimate dinners indoors – though the durable pieces can also be used for garden parties and outdoor dining.
In the Roundhouse dinner plates, $29 each
These modern and colourful plates are designed for mixing and matching, and can be an excellent talking point. Sydney artist Daimon Downey designed a collection of seafood-centric prints for the brand and there are floral prints by fashion designer Michael Lo Sordo, plus plates with Italian or French words, minimalist designs and geometric lattice prints.
KAH barware, from $88
Designer and maker Katie Ann Houghton’s delicate glassware is inspired by 20th-century design and made with ancient Venetian glassblowing techniques. Encompassing decanters, carafes, glasses, vases and pendant lights, the Sydneysider’s pieces are functional but can double as works of art thanks to their curved lines and subtle colours. The barware in particular is perfect for an evening of drinking and chitchat.
Corey Ashford, brass cocktail coasters, from $145
After a decade as Dinosaur Designs’ head of retail and visual merchandising, Corey Ashford started a studio where he makes a range of lifestyle products by hand. His latest creation is a series of hand-polished brass cocktail coasters in shapes inspired by spills. In our opinion, the mirror finish is the perfect juxtaposition for a bold-coloured drink (Negroni anyone?). Ashford tells Broadsheet he sees his label as “luxuriously lifting the everyday”. He also makes linen beach throws and frayed linen napkins dyed and sewn by hand in Melbourne.
Krof cutlery, $349 per set
Is there any action as intimate but overlooked as putting food in our mouths? Melbourne-based label Krof is on a mission to make sleek cutlery worthy of the all-important task, carefully designed with consideration of the best angles, shapes and volumes for everyday eating – from spooning cereal and slicing bread to twirling spaghetti. The debut collection features sets of 24 pieces in brushed or polished silver, matte black or brushed gold.
TS Makers serving boards and trivets, from $69
No two items by Sydney’s TS Makers are the same. The husband-and-wife team sources salvaged Australian timber – such as red jarrah, mahogany and spotted gum – for these modernist pieces, each one crafted by hand. The latest collection features serving boards shaped like arches or undulating waves, geometric trivets and two-wood coasters.
Tojiki Room ceramics, from $20 for chopstick holders
When Victoria’s restaurants temporarily shut their doors this year, the small-batch ceramicists who supplied their tables had nowhere for their products to be served. Tojiki Room was created in response to that, connecting artists and makers to Aussies looking to spruce up their tableware. There are speckled mugs, octagon plates, ash-hued platters and glazed bowls on offer, but it’s the dumpling-shaped chopstick holders by Room23 that consistently sell out.
Maison Balzac wine glasses and flutes, $79 for two
Un rêve is French for “a dream” – an apt name for this fragrance brand’s latest range of playful homewares. The collection draws on sensory escapism, from the snail-shaped incense-holder to an opulent smoked-glass fruit platter and pastel candles. The stout wine glasses and long-stemmed flutes come in shades of grey, pink, orange and teal, with each individually mouth-blown in borosilicate glass.
Bed Threads table linen, from $50 for four napkins
When founder Genevieve Rosen noticed customers on Instagram were cleverly using their Bed Threads flat sheets as tablecloths, she figured it was time to enter the kitchen and dining space. The result is Spreads, a new line of linen tablecloths, napkins and placemats in the label’s signature colours, such as rust, oatmeal, sage and lavender.
Alex and Trahanas homewares, from $39
Sydney-based lifestyle label Alex and Trahanas has always been inspired by Italy’s penchant for la dolce vita, and it’s once again tapping into the sweet life with its summer 2020 range, La Famiglia. Add a handpainted fruit bowl, a dinner plate, a large sculptural candle or mismatched champagne flutes to your table, and you and your dinner guests might feel you’ve been whisked off to the dazzling blue Adriatic coast.