Tinted, translucent glassware is having a bold and beautiful resurgence this season
When it comes to adding a luxe touch to a dinner table, for too long now glassware has lurked in the shadow of its seemingly more swish cousins, ceramics. While beautiful plates, bowls and mugs abounded, glass has been kept simple and functional, firmly in the background.
But coloured glassware has been steadily growing in popularity for a few seasons now, with pretty jewel-bright pieces popping up on tablescapes, mantles and windowsills. Like with so many other trends this season, it’s all about finding ways of adding fun and colour into our spaces.
“There’s just something more cheerful about coloured glassware,” says John Adams, owner of Dublin design store Article. “After a decade of grey and neutrals, there’s definitely a move towards a more eclectic mix of colours. And while you may not want to cover your whole room in bright colours, adding a dash of colour to a table is a great way to bring in brightness.”
Coloured glassware was hugely popular in the 1950s and ’60s, with designer ‘mid-century glass’ — known for its organic, sculptural lines and bright hues — still fetching high bids on online marketplaces. Simpler vintage pieces — from cheery striped tumblers and stemware to vases and candlestick holders — can still be picked up relatively cheaply on eBay and Adverts though, making it easy to create an eclectic mix-and-match look when combined with current high-street finds.
Tableware company Peacock and Co, run by friends Elaine Mackenzie-Smith and Monique McGahon, has been incorporating coloured glassware into many of its tablescapes. “It adds personality, and you can use it to bring your own individuality to a table in a way you just can’t do with crockery,” says Elaine.
“What we’re seeing is that people are putting colour into every aspect of the table, from glassware and vases to candle holders,” adds Monique. “We’re also being much more mindful of making the effort to set a really nice table.”
Eye-popping tablescapes showcasing layered crockery, napkins and tablecloths are booming on social media, but Elaine and Monique recommend a more pared-back approach at home.
“When you’re looking at Instagram, it looks amazing, but it’s quite hard to achieve that maximalist look at home,” says Monique. “Instead, try to choose a colour and design around it, using it as a theme.”
Another mistake to avoid is opting for coloured wine glasses: “Keep them quite neutral — you want the glass to complement the wine, and you want to be able to see the colour of the wine too,” says Monique. The trend is set to grow even more popular as we (hopefully) head into warmer weather, restrictions ease and we start entertaining outdoors. “There’s a spring-summer feel to sipping water from a coloured glass,” says John.
“Especially this year, if we’re not going to be going away, we’ll be spending more time in the garden, eating outside, and coloured glass looks so lovely when the sun catches it. You may not be in Italy, eating off a linen tablecloth with gorgeous local glassware, but you can still do things in a nice way. It doesn’t have to be plastic beakers.”
Sustainability is another reason to opt for glass, as it is infinitely recyclable. Dublin-based Glint Glass Studio turn waste glass into beautiful tumblers, vases and home accessories and a growing number of brands, including H&M and Avoca, have been using recycled glass in their collections.
Unlike its clear counterpart, the bright hues of coloured glass also means it works just as well empty too.
“It adds something to a room,” says John. “The light catches it, so you can put a piece on a window ledge and it will still look attractive even when there’s nothing in it. Whereas a clear glass vase, unless it’s a really unusual design, will spent most of the time tucked away in the cupboard.”