How to Mix China Patterns

Nothing satisfies the inner party planner as much as learning how to set a table. A well-set table creates a vibrant backdrop for lively conversation, delicious drinks, and mingling about the dining room. And it only makes sense to outfit such picturesque scenes with equally picturesque dinnerware. 

Though complete fine china sets are a sight to behold in their own right (not to mention stand-out stars for serving meals), the world of contemporary china now caters to a much wider range of aesthetics. With so many different styles, patterns and themes to choose from, the opportunity to mix china patterns allows you to create a more lively and colorful spread than ever.

Combining a contrasting china pattern to another can add depth, texture and intrigue to even the most basic dinner table arrangements. Here are some tips to help you get started.

#1 Maintain a Common Color

Learning to mix china patterns with one another makes your tablescape possibilities essentially endless, each as unique and colorful as the next. But these popular pattern  combinations can also seem a little overwhelming. So, where should you start?

For a first venture into mixing dinnerware patterns, you simply can’t go wrong with a unified color scheme. By choosing one color and sticking to it, you can bring together a whole host of seemingly mismatching pieces into striking harmony. 

If you’re looking for inspiration as you plan your color-themed table setting, feel free to try out one of these fool-proof methods:

  • Mix vintage pieces with new ones – While you may have plenty of your own modern china pieces to put on display, that doesn’t mean that your grandma’s heirloom plate and accompanying dishes needs to be tucked into the back of the cabinet. Layer vintage pieces with similarly colored contemporary styles to keep your table setting ever-fresh and new-fashioned without compromising cohesion. 
  • Incorporate color elsewhere – To elevate your dinnerware, try accenting your chosen color through other aspects of your tablescape. If you’ve gone for an earth-toned color pattern, consider accentuating the setting with green earthenware flower vases or amber wine glasses. Not only will it create a serene dinner scene, but it’ll also make your special porcelain dinner plate set pop.
  • Contrast with opposing aesthetics – What better way is there to highlight your cherished pieces than by posing them against dinnerware that’s wildly different in style? An understated porcelain bowl can be transformed when paired with a fun and quirky hand-painted dinner plate.

#2 Introduce Solid Stoneware Pieces

A bit different from china dinnerware both in terms of material and aesthetic, stoneware’s more rustic look and feel definitely still deserves a spot on the table. Its difference from china is exactly what makes it so worthy; stoneware’s glazed opacity and wide color range can provide plentiful opportunities for mixing and matching with your china pattern collection. 

Though stoneware’s heavy material and rugged durability are usually suited to more casual affairs, stoneware dishes are a perfect pair for mixed china patterns. We recommend layering solid stoneware with a delicately painted china dinner plate. This combination allows you to create a base upon which other patterns can breathe, allowing room for the intricate motifs to shine. 

You’ll notice that mixing dinnerware materials is also a wonderful way to easily add depth and texture to your table. Don’t be afraid to mix in stoneware with a less refined texture—its contrast will set your fine china apart even more.

#3 Consider the Tablescape as a Whole 

Last but not least, this tip is essential for cementing the final touches that will bring your dining room and all its table treasures together. When mixing dinnerware patterns, try taking a step back and assessing your table arrangements in conversation with one another.

If you have a busy china pattern at the place settings of your table, for instance, consider adding items like a floral arrangement, dessert plate  or serving dishes around and in between them, adding a place for the eyes to rest. It also helps to know when to use crystal vs glass vessels to accompany your porcelain pieces. 

Otherwise, simply use the texture, color and pattern of your non-china tableware and flatware to best complement your place settings. This may include:

  • Ornate flatware
  • Table runners and table linens
  • Floral arrangement
  • Decorative candles

Lenox: Cherishing the Past and Present with Household Treasures

Whether you’re a practiced host or a party novice, there’s no doubting that special flutter of the heart when you find the one—that one china set that adorns the dinner table of your dreams. 

However, we also all know that the delightful buzz of a true dinner party is addictive, and new and unique party occasions beg variety to keep that spark alive—both in the party planner and their guests. Using your china collections creatively allows yo