The Essentials: The time Dinner party The place Your home

An evening with good food, wine and friends is the ideal way to while away dark autumnal nights. But before planning the menu you'll need the right crockery, cutlery, glasses and table accessories. To help you lay the perfect table we went shopping and selected the following items:

Place mats pounds 3.95 (available in orange, green and beige) and white linen table cloth pounds 50, both from Habitat

These simple but stylish napkin rings cost pounds 1.75 each from Boots. Glasses (right) pounds 5.95 from Habitat

Plain white china crockery like this set from Debenhams looks chic on any table. Plates cost pounds 3.50, cup and saucer pounds 5, coffee jug pounds 8

Satin wave cutlery fork and knife, pounds 6.95, and spoon, pounds 5.95 from Ocean. Mail order 0800 132985