Raise your hand if you have a bunch of mismatched tableware.
Now, raise your hand if you’d like to know how to make it work.
Well, you’ve come to the right place.
Over the years, I have collected tableware in all colors and shapes. It’s all odd pieces and nothing matches, but somehow it all seems to come together. Recently, one of my friends asked if I’d show her how to use some of these pieces. So I made a few settings for one or two. If you find these tips useful, we will expand to bigger tables. And yes, I use the exact same mismatched pieces for larger tables, they just have to be set up a bit differently. But for now, let’s have a look…..
Tip 1: Push Color to 110%
Back in the day, there was a hard and fast rule for color balance in a room called the 60-30-10 Rule. Break it to your decorating peril. But now, things have changed. And while this rule is still the foundation ratio from which to start, there is now some wiggle room.
It happens when, after adding one accent color (10%), the room still needs a little something. Nowadays, it’s a-ok to go 110%. This means another accent color can be added to the ratio, making it 60-30-10-10. This ratio works great for this table setting. Blue is 60%, white is 30%, terra-cotta is 10%, and lime green is 10%.
Tip 2: Build On a Bold Pattern
I made this houndstooth tablecloth from fabric designed for women’s clothing. This is because I couldn’t find a ready-made tablecloth in a print that was bold, but not busy. I love the houndstooth print with the black chairs. It’s exactly the foundation I was looking for.
From the tablecloth, solid-colored pottery pieces and a vintage linen napkin are stacked. At the top is a fine china bowl in a different pattern and color, but in a pattern that is sized to compliment the houndstooth. Notice that all of the background colors are the same color (white). By using all white background colors and topping the stack with another pattern, the table setting works with the tablecloth instead of just sitting on top of it.
Tip 3: Add Dimension
Before we leave this set of photos, one more thought. Do your table settings have dimension? To me, this just means that they are not flat. To create lift from the table, I try to use plates with texture on the edges and top the stack with pieces that stand up rather than lay flat. Notice the patterned china bowl on the top has edges and handles that curve up. Then the crystal candle holder adds the final lift.
Tip 4: Use Different Shapes
Notice the same charger and dinner plate is now staged on a polka dot background with a whimsical salad plate. The salad plate shaped like a cupcake is the star of the show. This setting is a bit flatter than I like, but for a casual and fun setting, the salad plate is perfect.
Another salad plate in this set is round, but has ruffles on the edges. And….. I do believe that a striped linen napkin placed just under the salad plate would finish this stack nicely.
Tip 5: Combine Opposites
On this table, a crystal pitcher is paired with a rustic cutting board.
Or combine a fine china bowl with a vintage lace tablecloth, a wooden place mat, and a pottery salad plate.
And last, but not least, is a simple topper made with a paper napkin. A red checked tablecloth can be made of fabric, vinyl, or plastic. To this, stack pretty stoneware and top with a colorful paper napkin to tie it all together.
And that’s all there is to it. Five ways to look at your mismatched tableware with new eyes. I do hope you’ll leave a comment letting me know if this little post is helpful AND if you’d like to see these types of combinations expanded.