A Summer Table with The White Company

I’m very excited to be teaming up with The White Company today for a post sharing their high summer collection. I promise the sun was shining as I wrote this. Now I don’t know about you, but I feel The White Company has been around for so long bringing its classic style to homes and gardens that sometimes we forget about it and yet it’s a timeless look that can be updated and refreshed and never goes out of date. I was thrilled to rediscover it for this piece.

summer tableware from the white company
white vase and striped napkins part of the summer range from the white company

It seems amazing to remember The White Company was founded in 1994 (nearly 30 years ago – for those at the back who think it was about 10!) by Chrissie Rucker as a 12 page mail order brochure. There are now more than 70 stores and the collection has expanded from bedding to homewares and clothes.

In 2008 I interviewed her for a piece in The Independent in which she said: “Everyone thinks I have a house that is white from top to bottom but there are punches of colour. Yes, a lot of my home is white, but you can wipe down cupboards and floors and you don’t have to wash white bedlinen any more than any other colours. You can also layer throws over sofas.”

summer tableware from the white company
striped napkins, napkin ring, serving bowls, platter all from the white company summer collection

She has a point. She also echoed my own sentiments when she said she couldn’t cope with bright colours as “it makes me feel manic. Home, for me, is somewhere I can switch off and relax. It’s about escaping from the hectic pace outside.”

And talking of white, last week Sophie and I interviewed Jonathan Adler for the podcast and he spoke about his love of white walls and a white background to make everything else stand out, something The White Company does really well in a more muted, layered way.

summer tableware from the white company
scalloped bowls from the white company

On a table white crockery allows the food to take centre stage in the same way that white walls can showcase your furniture.

In rooms you can go all white as long as you mix up the textures. So cotton bedding, a linen throw, some wool and velvet cushions. This brings in personality and creates layers to stop a room feeling too one note.

summer tableware from the white company
marble serving board from the white company

Add in some natural elements – rattan (see Monday’s post), natural wood and marble and you can create a comfortable and sophisticated look that is both timeless and complex. But, and I must stress this – I don’t make the rules but I do occasionally feel I have to enforce them – the key is in the layers. A white bed in a white room looks like a hospital until you build up more layers.

When it comes to laying tables, where white plates are still the classic for many of us, think about the shapes as well as textiles. I love these scallop bowls which look so pretty with with either savoury (olives and nuts) or sweet (fruit) in them. And mix it up with an oval plate in the middle so it’s not all round. Another great table styling tip – this time from the cook and renowned hostess Skye McAlpine – abundance. Fill a large bowl with just lemons or oranges (even red onions she suggested) rather than mixing lots of different things together. It will have much more impact that way.

summer tableware from the white company
summer at the white company

Flower arranging has recently embraced this trend too with vases of single flowers rather than mixed bouquets. There is, of course, no right or wrong, but if you tend to white plates and want to make it look more interesting then these are some of the simplest tips and tricks to use.

It’s the same when it comes to food. Italians will often serve a green salad and a tomato salad on separate plates rather than a mixed salad in one bowl. It looks like you’ve done much more work too as well as having more visual impact. And, a trick for the fussy eater, separating ingredients means everyone can find the parts they like and help themselves rather than having to pick through it and leave an ungrateful pile on the side of the plate.

summer tableware from the white company
tea towel from the white company

Now all you have to do is decide if you are going tonal with white flowers and simple greenery or bringing all the colour to sing against the white background. Here’s to a long summer of lazy lunches on beautiful tables. And to get you in the mood:

Here are Chrissie’s secrets for making a house a home as told to me in 2008 and still relevant today:

1: Scent it with flowers, candles or diffusers.

2 Soften it with lots of different textures and textiles.

4 Seasonalise it with different colours and materials according to the time of year.

And from me the secret to a super refreshing non-alcoholic cocktail (let’s not say mocktail)

Throw several large ice cubes in a tall glass and pour over some tonic water. Add a generous (no a bit more than that) splash of angostura (I promise you it’s not bitter) and squeeze in a wedge of lime. You’re aiming for a sort of pale Aperol spritz sort of colour. Now you can drink all through lunch and you won’t need a nap afterwards. Unless you want to, of course.

With thanks to The White Company for the product loan. 



Kate Watson-Smyth

The author Kate Watson-Smyth

I’m a journalist who writes about interiors mainly for The Financial Times but I have also written regularly for The Independent and The Daily Mail. My house has been in Living Etc, HeartHome and featured in The Wall Street Journal & Corriere della Sera. I also run an interior styling consultancy Mad About Your House. Welcome to my Mad House.


  1. Definitely the London one, Glyn. Love the table dressings but then I love the White Company, and I’m in the soothing colours camp. Also re Angostura. A good refresher is a TT Mishmash, half orange juice, half lemonade, good shake of Angostura, over crushed ice. Or sub out some lemonade for pomegranate juice.

  2. I love the White Company, an absolute favourite and now wondering why I didn’t pick up those scallop bowls! Beautiful table settings, no scaping here!

  3. Surprise surprise this has all been styled at your new London home! Nice to have a taster Kate. A

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