I’ve had a bit of a thing for table settings for a long time now. I’ve always had a respect for vintage china and my love of design makes tablscaping something I really enjoy. But it wasn’t until I fell down the steps while holding my grandmother’s china, breaking an entire set of salad plates in the process, that I felt free to explore collecting and using tabletop pieces in new and different ways. This was actually quite liberating…
I’m delighted to be joining with 5 of my favorite bloggers to bring you a new monthly series focused on creating beautiful and unique table settings. In today’s offering I illustrate mixing old and new in a seasonal tablescape for spring, while displaying some ideas for approaching your table in a completely fresh way.
Let’s revisit that set of dishes that wound up in a million pieces inside the little quilted china storage case. Up until that point, I approached every event at my dining table in exactly the same way, with a complete set of matched china in the one and only pattern I owned, with the same formal flatware, same stemware, and every piece laid out according to proper dictated etiquette. Lovely the first few times, but predictable if not bland henceforth. Once my china set was shattered, so was my rigid approach to tablescaping. I was suddenly free to buy china in any pattern I wanted, rather than feel obligated to use the china passed down in our family. That freedom unleashed an open-minded perspective and I threw all the rules out the window. I haven’t looked back since.
These days my tables tend toward a more relaxed and inspired mix, driven more by what I love than what I think I’m supposed to do. On this quintessentially spring table graced with formal and casual alike, my florals marry pink tulips with perky green mason jars. I had gone to the market looking for peonies but it was a little too early in the season, so my ‘roll with it’ attitude regrouped and tulips became the flower of the day.
This wonderful confection sweetens the center of my table and to create a suitable presentation, I picked one of my favorite vintage serving plates and simply mounted it atop an inexpensive no-frills cake plate.
Perhaps the best example of my flouting of the rules is the tablecloth used for this setting. I’ve been wanting a washed linen tablecloth with a homespun vibe for a while but haven’t had the chance to get one yet. My tablescapes are built intuitively these days and a walk past the valet hook in my closet brought this voluminous white scarf to my attention. Recently purchased on a shopping trip with my daughter, I sensed it would be the perfect underpinning for my table. Indeed it fit the table and the lovely crocheted edging adds a note of country flavor.
My plate stack showcases my concept with the ideal mix of old and new. The dinner plate at the bottom is Mikasa English Countryside, the plates I use for my everyday dishes yet a wonderful foundation for what comes above. The simple china patterned plate in the middle is from Haviland Limoges and is the dinner plate that was left from my ill-fated china set. The irony is, I never really loved the pattern when it was used by itself, but it makes a fabulous complement to a more decorative piece, such as the salad plates I have on top. These charming delicate floral plates were found recently at an antique market and I hadn’t thought to mix them with my existing china until I was playing with this table setting.
I so enjoy a sun kissed table and the tulips opening to greet the light remind me of a cherub with pursed lips.
I’m a big fan of candlesticks with bobeches and these rose colored samples worked nicely with my theme. I normally use them with unpolished brass candle holders but I enjoyed the surprise of the silver on this table.
Among my favorite napkins and an excellent choice for this tableau are these blush pink ruffled linens from Pom Pom at Home. I stayed low key and simple with the napkin rings to let the linens take center stage.
Champagne flutes in a pale rose add a wonderful glow to the table.
These delightful demitasse cups are another favorite, purchased at an antique market in Paris when I took my daughter there for her 16th birthday. They are particularly special to me as I always think of that trip when I look at them.
One of the most frequent comments I get from people looking at my tablescapes is that my flatware is often placed together on the right side of my plates, breaking all kinds of etiquette rules. I do this to allow room for my napkins which I like to cluster together in a ring and I feel the table looks prettier this way. Yes, I know where the flatware belongs but you won’t find it there any time soon.
Thanks for visiting with me and letting me share my spring tablescape with you. If I’ve inspired you to break a few rules then I will consider my post a success. I guess I’ve always been a bit of a rebel…
I’m joining with 5 other bloggers to bring you this monthly tablescape series.
I invite you to enjoy the wonderful posts below celebrating spring at the table…
Stone Gable (coming tomorrow!)
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