In this post: Do you love to collect antique dishes? If you have unmatched pieces of vintage china, mix them in a beautiful table that’s both casual and elegant.⇒
A table setting has the power to take you back in time.
Many of my tablescapes have specific themes, often seasonal or following a holiday concept. But every now and then you just want to set the prettiest table you can with your very favorite pieces, just to make you smile… 🙂
If you’ve been reading my blog for even a short while you know I love to collect and mix vintage china and so the question I’m most often asked is how to set a beautiful table with vintage china. The answer, in short…
is any way that makes your heart sing!
Setting a Table with Vintage China
When combining patterns, I typically work with a white backdrop, then highlight with gold and/or silver, clear crystal and then mix away.
I’m partial to pinks and lilacs, so most of my china is in the same color feeling. I think as long as you stick with similar tones you can really take some liberties when putting unmatched things together.
I definitely pay attention to which pieces are placed next to each other and I tend to put bolder florals next to simple ones to aim for balance.
When my plate stack is complex, I keep my napkins clean and pure.
I’m a huge fan of white embroidered linen (it’s one of The 6 Defining Style Elements I Use In Every Room) and because I was going for sheer pretty in this table setting, I chose these exquisite crystal napkin rings that are among my faves.
Once my china is selected and the elements around it are neutral and elegant, I next work out my florals.
For this table, I used vintage china pitchers to continue the theme, then highlighted the pattern colors with purple stock and pale green mini hydrangeas.
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As I said at the beginning of this post, the goal for this table was to make me smile and these sweet little demi tasse cups do just that.
They are among the loveliest things I’ve ever spotted in the dark recesses of a dusty antique market, in this case, in Paris.
No joke… my heart flutters every time I look at them!
I know you’ve seen these goblets before because I use them quite often, but it bears mentioning that the gorgeous glen plaid crystal pattern does a beautiful job of bouncing the abundant light around the room, adding to the charm of the tablescape.
If there’s one thing a table set with vintage china needs it’s to be crowned with an antique crystal chandelier. I found this one at a local market and then spent a good bit of time bringing it back to life by polishing up the brass and rewiring the crystals, many of which were missing.
(You can read about that project in: Reviving an Antique Chandelier.)
The underpinning for the whole tableau is actually a laundered white scarf with lace trim that I’ve taken to using on my table more than my neck.
Another favorite find from an antique market are these stunning silver candlesticks that I found in a London market, although the seller told me they originated in Prague.
The smoky crystal bobeches are new and are from a lovely boutique in Mougins, France.
The varied places that these pieces are from are part of what makes me smile so much when I look at this table, because each item represents a wonderful memory.
The dinner plate in the stack above with the delicate floral border is a Limoges pattern than was passed down through our family. It is one of the few pieces left from the set I broke when I fell down the stairs
(I’ve told the story of that mishap in: Mixing Old and New in a Seasonal Tablescape.)
Ultimately, however, the one thing at this table that most makes me smile is the brilliant sunshine gracing the table and dappling the flowers!
And I don’t even need to go back in time to capture it.
To get the look, click on the items below for direct links to the products. Where actual items were no longer available, I’ve provided similar options. If an item is out of stock but may be restocked, I left it on the list.
(This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.)