If you have not yet jumped on the “Escape to the Chateau” bandwagon, it’s time to hop aboard. Nothing has gotten me through the darkest days of the pandemic like the antics of the Strawbridge family – intrepid Brits who have revived a derelict French chateau and turned it into a stunning (if quirky) home and event business. Dick and Angel Strawbridge have tackled everything from banal basics such as installation of utilities, to breathtaking design projects such as the patchwork of hundred-year-old wallpaper that now covers the inside of one of the chateau’s turrets. Angel, in particular, has a wonderfully refreshing “take” on what a historic French chateau should include. You can only ever expect the unexpected, and delightful mismatched china is one of her signature looks for weddings and events.
I’ve long been a fan of the look. When my friend was planning her wedding many years ago, she chose a tiny, quaint inn on the Historic Register. It was the very definition of quirky and oh-so-charming! The welcoming atmosphere was evident in each detail, including an entire wedding feast for 100+ served on mismatched china! It was the first time I’d ever seen it done, and ever since, I’ve been a fan of the vintage, mismatched china look for its homey, cottage-y feel.
Of course, in order for your mismatched tablescape to succeed, a bit of forethought is required. Here are 8 guidelines to get you started. But, mismatched china is all about personal expression, so feel free to throw these “rules” out the window, should you choose!
- Start with a base. If you already own china – you’re on your way! I have a gorgeous set of bright white fine china with a simple gold band, which pairs with almost anything.
- When mixing styles, try to stay within a theme. For example, all charming florals in varying pastels OR bolder, more graphic pieces in blue and white. Use one or the other, not both.
- Ditto with mixing types of china. Generally, ironstone or pottery will not pair well with very fine porcelain.
- Start slowly by simply adding mismatched serving pieces to your existing china. I like to use Depression glass or milk glass accents to add a vintage feel. Or, you can pick up all new dessert plates for a more coordinated look.
- Plate sizes should be approximately the same. For example, a luncheon and a dinner plate are not even close in diameter.
- For teacups, I personally prefer my cups and saucers to be mates and to have just one of each design. If all the cups and saucers do not match, it begins to look like a bit of a jumble sale. (Angel Strawbridge uses sweet teacups to serve champagne and drinks. I have not tried it yet, but plan to post-pandemic!)
- A solid colored tablecloth often works best and allows the eye to focus on the beautiful designs and details of each piece. But, a patterned tablecloth that loosely coordinates with the overall color scheme can be very effective. Vintage patterns from the 1940s and 1950s are some of my personal faves and are easily found at estate sales, antique shops and resale stores.
- If china is mismatched, keep other elements the same (matching glasses, silverware, and napkins) to add a bit of consistency
Searching through antiques shops, estate sales, and even the Goodwill is an inexpensive way to add to your collection. Of course, there are entire shops on Etsy and dealers on eBay should you need an instant fix.
But, I think that half the fun of using mismatched china is finding it! Click here for thrift shopping tips and secrets to success. Angel Strawbridge would be proud!
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DISCLAIMER: No financial compensation was received in exchange for this “Mismatched China” post. I did, however, receive a sample of the mat in order to test it and provide an honest review. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will be good for my readers.
Susan Said…WHAT?! was named one of the Top 50 Beauty Blogs in the World by RebateZone.com and is your guide to a life filled with style. Inside, you’ll find everything from must-have fashion and accessories, to gorgeous gardens, stunning interiors, plus the latest products for parties, weddings, and events of all kinds. Susan Conforte McNeill is an author, entrepreneur, and co-founder of the literacy organization Success Won’t Wait!