Hostesses With The Mostest > Entertaining and Hospitality

Mismatched china

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Not china, but crystal goblets.

I was getting a set of six Baccarat wine glasses for Christmas many years ago. The saleswoman at the store told us that she once had matching sets but over the years many pieces had broken. So what she served were different glasses from those broken-up sets plus a few other miscellaneous ones, and that her guests always claimed "their" glass at dinner parties.

I've never forgotten that as my gift set eventually all broke  :-\ so it helped to give me something to aim for. And I have to say I am rather pleased at my "mismatched" look. It just seems to make the table prettier than a completely matched set of silver, china, and plate settings in the same way that having a home or an outfit not match looks more personal, interesting and intriguing.

I agree -- there's nothing wrong with mismatched china (or crystal or flatware).  If you're choosing chargers, maybe choose simple ones, especially if the china is a more elaborate pattern.

When we have a very large group, especially at holidays, we have to use two or more patterns.  If there is more than one table, sometimes I put one pattern on each.  But sometimes I alternate patterns, sometimes I just put them wherever, and sometimes I even mix pieces at each place, if I like the way the patterns look together, or if I'm stretching with glass dishes.  Even if you think it looks funny when you first put down the plates, if you can't make it come out even or something, don't worry -- when you put all the other things on the table, like centerpieces, salt and pepper, water pitcher, etc.,  it won't even really be noticeable. is usually so expensive.  Sometimes eBay sellers have things.

I agree that matching isn't always best.  I'm not crazy about serving pieces that match the china or flatware, for example, sort of like a hotel or restaurant, and the other ones you have are usually more interesting.  Besides, even if you do have a few matching serving pieces, you're probably going to have to use a few non-matching ones as well anyway.  I have a few serving pieces that match my silverware and I often choose to use others instead just to mix it up.

Any entertaining professional ( Martha Stewart, Colin Cowie, Caroline Roehm) will tell you to mix to your heart's content - it adds visual interest. I do it all the time.  I may be having 30 for dinner and, while I have 30 plates, they don't all match.  Why rent matchy matchy when I have enough?

Mismatch away. However the colors should somehow complement each other. I often have large formal dinner parties and use Aunt Fannies wedding china from 1910 (my mother in-laws Aunt) plus some gorgeous china found at an estate sell. Both sets are white with pink flowers.

I like to joke that none of my china matches as I have Fiestaware.

I do have some more formal china that I don't have all the pieces too, but it is white with a silver border and I have picked up complementary pieces everywhere from high end department stores to tag sales and thrift shops.  Surely you can find a modern pattern that will complement your mother's china to fill the set out when needed.  Ebay and replacements ltd are also good places to look especially if you know the pattern or at least the manufacturer.


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