When entertaining at home, I always try to give my guests more than just a meal. To me, it's about the entire experience. If I'm throwing a themed dinner party, the food, music, and table settings should all flow together. One of my favorite things about entertaining is setting a beautiful table. I love mixing things up and creating interesting vignettes for guests to ponder. Often times, the tablescape is the first topic of conversation and acts as an icebreaker for people who aren't well acquainted.
If you're like me, you probably have a standard set of china that you eat off of twice a day. But who wants to look at the same place setting 365 days a year? Don't be afraid to buy multiple sets of salad plates or soup bowls, that way you can mix and match them when setting the table. I'll often pair a standard white dinner plate with a patterned salad plate. Then I'll pull colors from the patterned plate into my cloth napkins to achieve a cohesive look. This color palate then influences my choice of flowers for the centerpiece.
You might make it a point to only buy red and white china or pieces with some sort of red in them. Then, no matter what the pattern or size, red becomes the unifying element. Any combination of plates would work as long as they were in the same hues. Then you might add red goblets to complete the look. The idea is to think of each table setting as a world within a world.
I stopped at Garber's Interior Design in Elkhart to check out their new tabletop lines. I was drawn to a beautiful table they had set with a fun mix of colors and textures. A sparkly place mat was topped with a sand colored plate which they paired with a funky shell looking salad plate. The blue/green color from the place mat was picked up in the leaf patterned napkins which were held in place by a brown textured napkin ring. They finished the look with green striped wine glasses. It was such an interesting mix and proved that mixing textures, colors, and patterns on the table is a great way to get a designer look.
So why not pair a set of antique china with a set of new graphic patterned salad plates? Mix and match and have fun with it! I think it's time to throw a dinner party!