‘Tis the Season to Set the Table

By Cindy Coopwood and Cordelia Capps
Photography by Austin Britt

Whether heirloom silver, basic white, or grandmother’s hand painted porcelain, use what you have and have fun mixing it up!

BEAUTIFUL PLACE SETTINGS WILL ADD A CERTAIN AMBIENCE TO ANY MEAL, but winter-time and holiday dinners really call out for those special touches. There’s no better time to pull our little-used treasures out of the cabinet and create a gorgeous table mixing old and new patterns and stemware with fun accessories, found objects and fresh greenery and flowers. First we gathered some old standbys from our shelves, gold-rimmed Pottery Barn dishes from the mid-1990s, McCarty plates and bowls, and sturdy white stoneware. Then we scoured our hard to reach upper cabinets that hold the really good stuff, the funky stemware from generations past, tarnished silver and random sets of precious dessert plates and such. Throw in modern chargers, napkins and rings and find a little something to make each place special. We hope these combinations, using the same patterns, but in different ways, will inspire you to try something new on your table this season!

1. Christmas breakfast has never looked so festive! A classic white plate is set off by a cork charger and textured placemat. The red ticking napkin looks fresh with the antique Johnson Brothers Christmas dessert plate. Then we added a dollar store Santa coffee mug, a clipping of greenery and some ornaments for a little extra holiday spirit.

2. For a casual dinner use your white plates again, but find a unique element—like this Burberry ribbon (love ribbon!). We mixed silver mint julep cups for water with blown glass wine goblets. Then wrapped heirloom silver in linen napkins and used rustic twine to tie them with kraft paper tags with each guest’s name written in gold.

3. All it takes to make this oh- so-simple, but elegant setting seem “Christmas-y” is the plaid ribbon. The white dishes (twenty-year old box set from Pottery Barn) and glass charger rimmed in gold create a bare palette to have fun with. New brushed gold glassware and a funky napkin ring are up-to-date accents.


4. Passed down and well loved, the heirloom silver water goblet, charger and Francis 1st flatware mix well with Sologne Pheasant dessert plates. A seafoam snakeskin charger is unexpected and keeps the combination from seeming too serious.



5. This gorgeous vintage dessert plate rests on a simple gold- rimmed plate and the same placemat as above. The gold stemware, Reed and Barton matte-gold flatware (a new favorite!), and other gold accents make this setting shimmer for any special occasion.



6. Olde Avesbury is a fall and winter favorite. We paired it with dainty vintage stemware which plays nicely with modern elements here, such as the inexpensive gold charger, textured placemat, and teal agate napkin rings.



7. Classic Blue Willow pops against our indispensable white plates and snazzy placemat. Plain brown burlap ribbon and a miniature pumpkin tied with the name card lend an autumn touch. Vintage sterling flatware and blown glass goblets complete the setting.



8. Annie glass salad plates add a sophisticated touch to this casual composition. McCarty dishes are layered with the salad plates and a live- edge charger to give a hi-low effect. The red and neutral animal print napkin adds a casual festive flair.



9. A placemat of pheasant feathers is the perfect backdrop for traditional Woodland by Spode. We paired it with brushed gold stemware and flatware and a collection of interesting natural elements for balance.



Special thanks to Rosson Co. and Neysa’s Fireside Shop of Cleveland for generously providing the additional dishes, accessories and tableware used in these photos.


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