Mix and Match Table Settings

Set a vibrant table for your next dinner party by mixing and matching your table settings. Do what's pleasing to look at and what goes with the theme of the party for success. When you follow a few rules of thumb, you can come up with endless appealing place settings that will come together in a striking display of table art.

Theme. Choosing a theme for the dinner party will help you select appropriate items for the table and give you guidelines for what works and what doesn't. From modern urban chic to casual country fun, the right theme will help you make your vision a reality.

Plates. Combine patterns with solids for the best effects on the table tops. When you match a bold floral or geometric pattern with a solid, you can create a vivid look easily. While choosing the same patterns of place settings is more traditional, today's modern designs allow for more flexibility.

Glassware. It's fine to mix and match glassware for more casual gatherings. Consider pairing a smooth wine glass with a more heavily etched water glass, or blend colored glass with crystal clear. Be sure to have separate wine glasses if you'll be serving both red and white wine.

Linens. Consider pairing a variety of textures and colors to create beautiful table settings. Set out a neutral-colored tablecloth, and have two alternating colors of place mats. Set the opposite color of linen napkin on the place mat. Even if the colors seem to clash, the coordination of colors will pull the table together. Mix up textures as well, using a black silky tablecloth and bamboo place mats or a lace tablecloth and thick, colorful linen napkins. Patterns can really make a table setting pop, so consider bold polka dots or stripes.

Centerpieces. The centerpiece should tie in elements of the whole table setting, with color and flair. Consider using candles and flowers in the dominant color for a visually appealing centerpiece. Rather than using one large piece, consider several small and low items to decorate the table. No matter what you choose for a centerpiece, make sure the guests can still look at each other across the table. This table could feature a patterned salad plate on top of a contrasting dinner plate. A charger isn't required for such a casual setting. This table could feature a patterned salad plate on top of a contrasting dinner plate. A charger isn't required for such a casual setting.

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