When it comes to table top settings there are beyond zillions to choose from.
Perusing the flea market I am truly a kid in a candy store. I get so excited at the sight of all the rows of antique china, silver, crystal, glasses, linens – oh my. And how about a trip to Sur La Table, Crate and Barrel, Williams Sonoma and one of my favorite treasure troves, Anthropologie – just try to hold me back.
Having to pick just one setting, pattern or design from all these stunning choices simply boggles my mind – I love them all. I don’t want to be defined by or limited to one china pattern or even three. I want my table to be as lively, dynamic, spontaneous and creative as I’m feeling. A table setting is meant to set the stage for the meal that is to come. It is part of the story, the drama, the ambiance, the feel. These are all qualities that give a gathering meaning and the host/ess their own signature style. Which is why developing your own Mix and Match style is important in becoming a confident and fabulous host.
Fortunately for me, my brain has a way of processing the kaleidoscope of shapes, patterns and colors in a convenient light, taking all that I see, scrambling it up and spitting it out into a fantastic compilation of everything I need for my table. From stemware, flatware, dishware, linens and more – it all comes together in my very own ‘Mix and Match’ style.
To Mix and Match you need to throw caution to the wind and break some rules.
This could be a disaster – and I have absolutely had some good laughs at myself pushing the envelope, we must never take ourselves too seriously. But most of the time it turns out exquisitely unique and beautiful.
Here are some fabulous tips and pointers for you – so you too can create your own Mix and Match style.
Reasons to love Mix and Match:
1. You can buy one instead of the whole set of; champagne glasses, plates, linens, napkin rings.
2. Mix and Match allows you to express yourself, be creative and have fun with your table top design.
3. It shows confidence in your style and as a host/ess
4. Great reason to start collecting one of a kind table top accessories from your travels.
5. Makes for interesting conversation as you explain how you found and picked your pieces
6. Allows you to recycle broken and incomplete sets.
Tips for Mix and Match:
1. Pick a Color Theme and Stick to it.
I buy all white plates in different shapes, sizes and shades of white. This makes for a clean style and perfect canvas for adding a pop of color with linens and napkin rings. Or try multi color like orange, pink and blue and repeat the pattern throughout the table.
2. Mix Textures
I have a collection of silver napkin rings. I love to use them all: matte, shiny, tarnished, rippled, they all belong.
3. Stick to a Theme
If your theme is botanical bring in varying pieces like terra-cotta pots, metal buckets, fresh herbs and creative accessories that support your theme.
4. Reinvent what you’ve got
Have an assortment of mis-matched candle sticks? Paint them all one color and make it a collection.
5. Flea markets and swap meets
Are a host/esses best friend. You can go insane with all the gorgeous one-off heirloom pieces and best of all, haggle on the price. Unique table top pieces also make for beautiful wedding or host/ess gifts.
6. Old and new
Combine salvaged pieces with contemporary and you will bring a lovely timeless dimension and character to your table.
Table-top design is a form of artistic and culinary expression. The Mix and Match style makes for the perfect companion to a fun and lively gathering. So the next time you set your table give yourself permission to be playful and try new things. When you enjoy the process of getting ready for your party, gathering or intimate meal, you not only feel good, but you make your guests feel good as well – and that is one of the most admirable qualities of a loved host/ess.