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How-To: Build a Set of Mismatched Tableware

When we're talking fine china and silver, we don't all have the luxury of having complete matching sets of dinner and serving pieces. Luckily, mixed sets can still look just as chic. Whether it's a tea set, antique silverware, or a mismatched set of dinner plates, there are a few things you can do to make building a mismatched set look purposeful, while still keeping your costs down.

First of all, in-store sales at home décor shops are a great place to find bargains on fine china and silver on pieces that don't make a full set. For instance, you might find two dinner plates at a great price, but you'll have to come up with four more to serve a party of six. You can also find great bargains at flea markets and thrift stores, but you'll have to do more sifting to find good quality pieces.

Read my essential tips for building your own set of mismatched tableware.

You might have noticed that the tea set above incorporates pieces from different lines. There are a few crucial things to keep in mind when doing this: palette, pattern and scale.

  • Choose plates and serving dishes that share a palette, such as the purples and greens in my set. White pieces make a foolproof set, even if they have different patterns.
  • Next, your pieces should have the same scale. For instance, when mixing dinner plates, make sure they're all the same size, like 10", not one plate that's 9" and one that's 12". Having two sugar bowls in a tea set may even make it appear more complete, but again, make sure they're about the same size.
  • Another thing to keep in mind is pattern. For instance, don't mix florals and botanicals with geometric patterns or solids. A bold plaid will stick out like a sore thumb against a delicate flower pattern.
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