Nowadays there are very few occasion that really need a formal and classic tableware.
The trend is very much mix and match even when we’re talking about table. This is great because, as nobody of us is an heiress, we can get new pieces of chinaware little by little, buying them at flea markets, open air markets, and even on ebay.
Mixing and matching successfully needs some rules, as things should look combined, not casually put together. If you do not pay attention, effect will be not stylish, but mismanaged and uncoordinated.
When I started making photos of my meals I understood that some plates work together better than others.
The matter is that combining different things requires the effort of finding a theme, a common thread or denominator that can tie up all the elements. It can be a color, a style, a theme….
To keep it simple, while adding pieces to your pottery collection, preferably buy total white ones: they can differ a lot in size and style but it will be easy to combine pieces together.
In case you have a total white collection, you will find easy to add new pieces. And when you need a hint of color on your table, go for colored table cloth, candles, flowers and details. This is the easiest and cheapest way to create different effects, and atmospheres.
Another easy tip is to choose your favorite color and use it as main color. You can buy, along the years cups, bowl, platters, cake stands etc… in your favorite color. Some pieces will be rimmed, other totally decorated, some in transfer ware but, as before, it will always be easy to combine them. When I got married I bought a white and blue bone chine set and little by little I started adding English white and blue transfer ware, as they give a romantic Victorian accent to any table.
The mother of a dear friend collects Murano glasses. She has a terrific collection, and she loves preparing the table with a different glass for every guest. She selects the most bizarre pieces, in a variety of shapes, colors and sizes. Her table looks opulent, and perfect dressed on a white tablecloth, with total-white-very-simple-dinnerware, but we can easily imagine that the effect would not have been the same if she had mixed and matched anything else then glasses. Another friend collects desserts plates, and uses dozens of spare plates at her parties. With less she creates a glamorous and shabby chic atmosphere. Of course in this case she limit the mixing to the desserts plates and all the rest of table ware is really simple and coordinated. Maybe you too have a favorite china piece… go on collecting and using it, but be careful, be simple with everything else, and the result will be stylish for sure!
Some of us have a special life long theme, a favorite animal, or preferred historical period. I have a token flower: pansy, and I like everything with pansies: tablecloth, chinaware, tea mugs etc… My really best friend adores deco’ art. She has an impressive cabinet of pottery from the beginning of the last century, that contains real pieces of art, bought for few cents over the little flea markets she knows.
It does not matter what you collect, and what you prefer, please use it.