Just tint it

ALL of those clear crystal glasses we insisted were necessary to show the glossy red of our glass of claret, or the grassy tints of a pinot grigio, are having to share table space with the new vogue for tints.

Now, before you tut-tut at pouring your favourite tipple into a pink glass, this trend doesn’t look to replace your current stem ware, but enhance how it’s styled for dinner parties and special occasions. So keep your red and white wines in their appropriate clear glasses but add in a water glass with a tint.

When it comes to glass tablewares in general — and there’s a fashion for glass plates too — if you use too much of it, the overall effect will create a weak, almost watery look on the table, and one where the food appears to be sitting on the tablecloth and not on the plate.

On the other hand, coloured glass can dilute the heaviness of pottery tablewares.

Even an all-white cloth, napkins and plates can, with the inclusion of tinted glasses and a water jug, make the table come alive.

Coloured glass last got a look-in during the 1970s so there are bound to be some ornamental pieces at the local vintage shop with affordable prices to match. Or maybe you consigned an heirloom piece to the back of a cupboard, not wanting to display it but feeling guilty about sending it to the charity shop, so now’s the time to climb into the back of that cupboard to retrieve it.

Tinted glass rather than frosted is the easiest to live with as it gives just a little colour that can pale or intensify depending on where it is placed and how natural and artificial light penetrate its surface.

Another option is solid colour which creates a bolder aesthetic. The colours can range from palest pastels to jewelled tones of ruby red, sapphire blue and emerald green, and then dense opaque black and even silver and gold-finished glass.

Displaying these on a kitchen shelf or a bookcase or mantelpiece can create a visually arresting vignette, but there must be method in how it’s put together so it doesn’t look like a disjointed assortment of bric-a-brac you’d see at the jumble sale.

Consider creating an ombré effect which is a graduation of colour, so you might have a pale yellow-tinted object, another graduating into amber, and another in deep brown. Add different heights and shapes for extra visual interest, making sure you have some tall and thin objects and some short and wide.

If your assortment is made up solely of glass with tints, consider arranging them in front of a window and let sunlight refract through their surfaces for a gorgeous colour wave.

If you already have a vignette of books, photographs and ornaments, or sculptural pieces which together look a little clunky, the addition of a piece of tinted glass could dilute the look and give it a feeling of lightness.

But remember to create your vignette of objects in uneven numbers — one, or three, or five and so on — and to vary the heights. This will avoid a clutter of knick-knacks on the mantelpiece.

* Next week we’re introducing the rough luxe look.


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