Tips for Mixing and Matching Tableware

Tips for Mixing and Matching Tableware

Sam Chun

Hello Smarties! Let's talk about table setting today, shall we? There is two main table setting methods. When planning a party and setting the tables, some people follow the standard method, opting for perfect harmony between each item on the table: all guests must have the same flatware, drinkware, plates, and placemats, all in the same color palette. But that can be a little boring to some. Mix and matching is the second table setting method suitable for our non-traditional table setters. 

A little creative variety, done well, can showcase your spontaneity and be even more eye-catching than following the rules to a T. Walking the line between mismatch and mix-and-match can take a keen sense of balance, so follow these tips for mixing and matching tableware beautifully.

Select the Main Color

Even though you will mix and match the table elements, it is easier to do so when you select a color you will stick to. For example, we used a pastel pink tablecloth or a table runner for a spring party, a white charge plate, a pink floral rim plate, a pinkish clear salad plate, and white napkins. The utensils were silver in color. We matched every color utensil, and we liked silver the best. As you can see, pink was our main color. So we brought in silver and white to compliment the main color. And before we forget, the bowls we used were in two colors. As you must have already guessed, they were pink and white. The white bowls had a floral rim to match the theme and the pink color. 

Contrast Counts

In filmmaking, there's a rule called the 30-degree rule. This states that the camera must move at least 30 degrees from the previous shot when cutting between camera shots. This is important because a too small variation won't look like a conscious decision but an error by the director. This purposeful variety applies to matching tableware, as well. While you don't have to move 30 degrees on the color wheel when pairing different colors, ensure you have enough variation between colors to appear intentional.

For instance, a plate and a charger in slightly different shades of light blue will probably look like a failed attempt to match. But don't overthink separation and insist upon complementary colors only—blues and greens can pair just as well as any two colors. Black and yellow, red and black, pink and black, gold and black, red and green, and brown and green are some color combinations you can try to bring contrast to your table. We love to mix and match yellow and blue dinnerware to create a look. For a party, we had a blue printed tablecloth, yellow charger plate, blue and yellow printed white plate, yellow salad plate, and blue napkins. The utensils were gold-colored. 

Monochromatic Approach

Some of you love the idea of mixing and matching but want a traditional look too. Mixing and matching dinnerware of the same color but with different shades will help you achieve that. Let us explain with an example. We were hosting a black-themed party. So obviously, the tablecloth was black. The charger plate was a black and gray marbled one. The plate was carbon black in color. The salad plate used was jet colored. The soup bowl was Davy's gray. The napkins were black, and so were the utensils, but they were a bit light in color. 

Tetradic Approach

This approach is suitable for bold smarties who love the pop of colors. With this approach, you can mix and match 4 different colors into your tablescape. We tried this approach with a purple tablecloth, yellow charger plates, orange plates, yellow transparent salad plates, and teal napkins for one of our birthday parties. And we were surprised by the beautiful look. 

Embrace Patterns

By filling a table with a smattering of patterns, no one will even think about attempts to match in the first place. Instead, their gazes will be drawn to the different designs at the table: some guests may have geometric patterns on their plates, while others have free-form designs, stripes, or speckles. By taking the emphasis off solid colors and the ways they interact, you can embrace the chaos of mixed-and-matched patterns. Animal patterns, floral patterns, leaf patterns, marbled patterns, fruit patterns, and vegetable patterns are some other patterns you can use. 

Make the Most of Details

Perhaps the idea of clashing patterns and contrasting colors on your plates is a little too daunting for you. That's okay—there are still elegant disposable party supplies that are a bit more low-key. You can still find room for tips for mixing and matching tableware with restraint. Consider an approach that allows getting creative and unique with the details, such as flatware or napkins. Using these more minor parts of the table settings to add bursts of color can help you mix and match easily. Adding printed napkins and gold or silver-colored textured utensils to your normal dinnerware can bring subtle yet beautiful pop to your tables. Investing in table mats is a good idea too.

And who said you can't bring plants and flowers onto the dining table? They do an excellent job setting a mix-and-match vibe to your table. So, what if you don't have a table runner or table mat? Use any exciting fabric that's lying around in your home. Fold it, place it on your table, and let it do the job. 

The Ambiance

Depending on the casual or formal nature of the event, you can mix and match in different ways. For example, if you plan a get-together with friends, instead of a charger plate, you can use a rattan charger and then mix and match. On the other hand, if you are going for a contemporary mood, you can use marbled charger plates. 

We would like to hear your mix-and-match tablescape ideas. So, let us know on our Facebook. But, till then, with love, Smarty had a party! 


Party on, Smarties! With love, Smarty had a Party!

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