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Photo above: Habitat Block print 12pc dinner set, £42

Article by Nicole Swengley

Contemporary ceramics offer a boldly brilliant way to bring colour into your home. You don’t necessarily need to use them in a functional way – although you can if you wish. Just enjoy the simple pleasure of living with cheerful and pleasing designs while creating visual interest by adding bright pops of colour wherever you want – on tables, shelves and even walls.

High Impact

Vibrant colours are the hallmark of London specialist, Ceramica Blue (ceramicablue.co.uk). Tucked away near Portobello Market, founder Lindy Wiffen supplies high-octane ceramics to on-trend members’ club, Soho House, and world-famous chefs, Yotan Ottolenghi and Gordon Ramsay, as well as savvy home-owners.

Coastal Explorer Fine China Tapas Bowl, Set of 4, £12

Never out of fashion are the sizzling colours of hand-made, hand-painted terracotta from Ceramiche de Simone in Sicily (pasta dish, £33; dinner plate, £33). Or for a calmer look, choose the ocean-blues and greens of dishwasher-safe Seaspray earthenware (serving bowl, £45; platter, £48) – perfect for family pastas or salads. Extra-large eye-catchers include Tunis (£95), a 43cm bowl patterned with stunning geometrics and Lorna (£165), a 28cm bowl blooming with zany, contemporary florals. Being hand-made and hand-decorated, no two pieces are identical with the maker’s hand evident in each design.

Equally appealing are Emma Bridgewater’s lively, hand-decorated ceramics (emmabridgewater.co.uk) which have done so much to revive Britain’s formerly moribund pottery industry in Stoke-on-Trent. The key to their success lies both in their heart-warming designs and their usability.

“Everyday kitchen china sits right at the heart of our lives,” says Emma Bridgewater. “Each cup, bowl, jug, plate holds our personal stories and reflects shared moments, enriching us as we eat and drink together.” Latest additions to her extensive range include the charming Strawberries French bowl, £21, vibrant Chillies bowl, £42, Vegetable Garden Tomatoes bowl, £42, and half-pint Blue Iris and Tulips mugs, £23 each.

Tip: British Ceramics Biennial 2023, the UK’s biggest contemporary ceramics event, takes place in Stoke-on-Trent from 23 September to 5 November (britishceramicsbiennial.com).

Power of Pattern

Fresh patterns in cheerful colours brighten the kitchen instantly. Artistic blue and green spots characterise Habitat’s Abstract stoneware (12-piece dinner set, £42; set of four pasta bowls, £17) while sunny Block Print stoneware features an Art Deco-style radio-wave pattern (12-piece dinner set, £42). On-trend stoneware Grid mugs (set of four, £12) are defined by a bold, monochrome, grid pattern. All are microwave- and dishwasher-safe (habitat.co.uk).

Habitat Abstract pasta bowl, £4.25

Thinking of entertaining? John Lewis (johnlewis.com) serves up a new selection of fine china with attractive patterns and bright glazes. Its Levantine Mezze range (set of four plates, £10; 30cm serving bowl, £15), inspired by geometric Middle Eastern designs, are perfect for nibbles and dips. Its seaside-inspired Coastal Explorer fine china with wave and shell-like patterns on soothing blues and greens (set of four tapas bowls, £12) is also microwave- and dishwasher-safe.

Budget Buys

Looking for visual dash without the cash? It’s worth checking out supermarket homewares departments. Asda’s Enchanted Forest 12-piece dinner set, £23, depicts monochrome silhouettes of woodland creatures. Fox & Ivy’s bold Blue Leaf collection is a budget-conscious find at Tesco (plate, £6; serving bowl, £8; jug, £12) while Tesco’s WWF Wildflower series includes a pretty serving plate, £7, and teapot, £12.50.

The House Beautiful Abstract range at Homebase features a paint-splash design on microwave- and dishwasher-safe porcelain (side plate, £4; dinner plate, £6; serving platter, £10) while High Street stalwart, Marks & Spencer, also offers good value tableware. Amberley stoneware dinner plates (set of four, £28) have an attractive deep-blue glaze with a speckled finish while ‘StayNew’ protection adds strength, making them chip-resistant and more resilient to temperature changes. The collection includes cereal bowls, side plates and mugs.