The best antidote to cold weather is really good home-cooked food, and the best way to enjoy good food is seated at a fabulously dressed dining table.

Whether you are hosting an elaborate festive dinner party, or just cooking for family and friends, this winter you want to make sure your dining room is as delectable as the culinary delights you are serving.

The basis for a divine dinner party is a table which comfortably seats all your guests – there’s nothing worse than being forced to sit too close to someone you barely know because there just isn’t enough space for both your meals.

Marseille monastery dining table

The Marseille monastery table from Barker and Stonehouse is a beautiful, French inspired solid oak dining table with a rustic farmhouse style which oozes mid-century charm. Available in three lengths, with cross legs and bar, it’s a stunning and practical piece of furniture which will age naturally over the years.

Alternatively, you don’t have to be King Arthur to enjoy a round table. The gorgeous mahogany Charentes round dining table with curved legs and lacquered finish is impeccably complimented by the beautiful balloon back chairs, perfect for smaller gatherings.

And as with all good decorating, it’s all in the details.

Make your table a feast for the eyes with simple but stylish touches such as personalised place settings and favours which instantly make your guests feel special.

Low level lighting over a dining table creates an intimate and warm feel which will help guests to relax and is safer than having lots of lit candles on the table.

The Celeste dinner plates feature a dazzling platinum or gold band design to give a sense of occasion to any meal and matching tumblers and wine glasses will give your table a co-ordinated and polished appearance.

You can also give your guests the option of both water and wine with a stylish water jug. Barker and Stonehouse has the clear glass Serve large jug with a sinuous shape to grace any table.

Napkins made into swans or roses may impress your guests, but if, like me, you have neither the time nor the inclination to learn such techniques, keep it simple and elegant with a traditional napkin ring or tie a bow with a pretty ribbon in a contrasting colour.

But if all this decoration leaves you cold, you can achieve minimalist dining without feeling the chill. A table runner in a rich red or wine tone is simple but effective and will give you a pop of colour without any fuss. And when Christmas is over, deep purple or midnight blue will always look stunning.

Dressing your table is a chance to show off your creativity and experiment without permanent results. If something works well you can always recreate it and any ill-advised colour combinations or table decorations can be quickly consigned to history.

Above all it shows you have made an effort for your guests and gone to the trouble of creating a truly warm dining experience.

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