I’ve always eschewed the idea of saving china for special occasions. Everyday should be its own celebration! For practicality sake, you may not want the expensive stuff to come out to play every day, but that doesn’t mean you have to fall victim to unstylish table settings, either. You can find wonderful sets of china–ones that were, in their prime, much more expensive–on a budget at flea markets or second hand stores.
Admittedly, finding a full set of china at a flea market may be like finding a needle in the haystack. But here’s a secret: you don’t need a full set!
A fluid table setting maintains a certain air of formality, yet by bringing unexpected elements together, mix-and-match table settings evokes our individual sense of uniqueness and creativity. This flea-market chic look has caught the eye of the high end design world and has been popping up in design magazines and blogs quite a bit lately. Here’s how to make it happen in your own home:
- Let your eye guide you. Pick a palette that you’re personally drawn to. Don’t be afraid of color. It can instantly add a much-needed pop to an otherwise dull table setting. Shoot for cohesiveness, as opposed to straight up matchy-matchy.
- Layering patterns can be tricky. Integrate solid-colored, white, metallic, or striped plates and chargers in with the busier designs to give the eye a break.
- Mix up other aspects of the table setting as well. Silverware, glasses, napkins, and placemats don’t necessarily need to match either! Stylist and Southern Living’s “In With The Old” flea market finds columnist Eddie Ross does a lovely job at this. Here, each of his styled flatware sets have a similar color scheme—browns and yellows–but is comprised of a range of different styles and textures that complement each other (natural bone, horn, tortoiseshell, French Ivory, and Bakelite textures).
- The beauty of mix-and-match place settings is that you don’t have to set the table the same way each time. There is a tremendous amount of flexibility and creativity involved in this concept.
- Remember…with mixing and matching you almost can’t go wrong, so take a risk! Unleash that china from the cabinet or salvage it from a flea market, dust it off, and for goodness sake, use it. Life’s too short not to always feel fabulous!