Pointers for Mixing & Matching China
Mixing and matching china has become a creative form of self-expression. If you’re getting ready to register for formal china or already have a set, there are a few simple ways to add some splash to your table without making a huge investment.
Choose your main china pattern, if you haven’t already. With formal china, you’ll probably register for 8-12 place settings. (A standard five-piece place setting includes a dinner plate, salad plate, soup bowl, and coffee cup and saucer.) Some stores require you to buy an entire place setting instead of each piece individually, which makes it a little trickier to mix and match styles. But you still have several options:
- Get creative with add-ons: If you must purchase your china in sets, the simplest way to start mixing and matching is to go with a single style for your basic place settings and then choose a set of accent pieces — such as dessert and salad plates — in a different style. This way you’ll end up with extra dishes, which is a plus — your extra salad plates can double as appetiser or a dessert dishes.
- Split it 50-50: Pick two different patterns and register for 4-6 place settings in each style. The choice takes quite a bit of confidence on the bride’s part, according to Nina Bostick, a director at Wedgwood. She suggests sticking with creative add-ons unless you’re 100% sure of your choices.
- Choose a piece at a time: At a store that lets you buy place settings separately, choose your main china pieces, such as the dinner plate, soup bowl, and coffee cup and saucer, in one pattern. Then purchase any accent pieces, such as salad plates or charger (underplate), in another style. Bostick thinks this is a viable option, but notes that china manufacturers often make the salad plate the most artistic and ornate piece, so you may lose out on your pattern’s shining star.
What Pieces to Pick
According to Jean Moses, a tabletop design expert at crystal maker Waterford, when choosing accents, salad plates are a great addition, as are chargers or service plates, which sit under the dinner plate — all great ways to inject a new colour to your table.
If you’re worried about your guests purchasing accent pieces instead of your main place setting from your registry, relax. “Your guests know that the first thing you’ll need is the place setting,” says Bostick. Still, if you aren’t comfortable doing this, register for the additional accent pieces only after all the place settings have been bought.
Dos & Dont’s for Adding a New Style
Once you’ve decided which setting pieces to use to weave in a new style, then comes the tough part: picking that accent pattern or colour. We talked to some experts for advice and here’s what they had to say:
- DO stick to the same background colour for your china. Most fine china has either a white or ivory body, so stay with one or the other.
- DO pay attention to the band colour. Platinum is usually paired with platinum; gold with gold.
- DON’T be afraid of colour. The colours you love to wear or decorate your house with look equally good on the table. A platinum-banded dinner plate would look stunning against a cobalt blue underplate.
- DO use one colour in varying shades. If your main design has different hues of blue, pick another blue tone for the accent piece.
- DO pick complementary colours. Blue pairs wonderfully well with orange and red, as pink does with green.
- DO mix complementary colours of the same pattern.
- DON’T pick three busy styles. Instead, pair two ornate patterns with one simple style. Or, mix two plain patterns with one busy one.
- DO express your own style.
- DO experiment and enjoy.