How to Mix Graphic Patterns on Your Tabletops and Throughout Your Entertaining Spaces
To dine in chic style all season, work this angle: Invite graphic patterns—checks, plaids, windowpanes, and basket weaves—to the table. The more you layer them, the lovelier.
Thought bold, graphic patterns were reserved for tablescape accent pieces? Think again. It's absolutely possible to curate a nuanced, textural setup that mixes and matches a myriad of your favorite colors and prints. You just need to know how to create a vignette that's upbeat and dynamic, but not visually overwhelming. Luckily, that's where we come in—we'll help you do just that.
For a table that looks cool and eclectic, stick to a soft palette, and add neutrals—or look to this balanced scene, which demonstrates how to meld both. Martha Stewart Living home editor Lorna Aragon used these woven place mats in navy, peach, pinks, and subtle gold as a jumping-off point, then punctuated the scene with pops of yellow (note the lemons and the forsythia). Enlist your white or solid-colored dishware as a backdrop to patterned plates; this will give the eye a quiet spot to rest, as will bone-colored flatware that's the same color as the table. Thanks to a backdrop of neutrals, a collection of distinct patterns, from pointillist-inspired dots and diagonal strips to modern grids, simultaneously act as respective focal points and work together in unexpected harmony. The pièce de résistance? The napkin holders (which we'll teach you how to make shortly!).
Ahead, we share everything you need—from the mismatched dessert plates to the neutral salt cellars—to recreate this tablescape at home. Plus, you'll also discover a few more ways to play with pattern throughout the rest of your entertaining space; integrate stripes, checks, polka dots and more graphic prints through a vibrant chair (which will elevate your porch) or unique pillow (add them to your outdoor dining set for flair). Or take your own approach—how you style these pieces is entirely up to you.
DIY Napkin Rings
Spirally, textured donut knots make nice napkin holders. Grab some bright paracord—you'll need 10 feet for each one. First, shape the ring. Hold the paracord in your palm, with the short end (the standing end) pointing up. Wrap it loosely around your palm three times, leaving the long end (the working end) pointing up.
Then, secure one end. Slide off the loops and hold them so the working end is in front of the standing end. Wrap the working end behind and around the standing end, encircling it, then put it through to the back. Moving clockwise, make tight coils over the loops, going through the center to the back each time. When you reach the standing end, pull the working end through the circle around it. Trim the ends.
Shop Now: Paracord Planet 550-pound Type III Paracord Crafting Kit in Blues, $18.49, paracordplanet.com.
Staple Dinner Plates
Go ahead and mix and match these dessert (or salad!) plates—we're partial to the Pebble, Braid, Taj, and Rattan iterations. A unified cobalt color scheme keeps the "set" cohesive.
Shop Now: Terrafirma Cobalt Dessert Plates, $42 each, laterrinedirect.com.
Rainbow Wine Glasses
Embrace the Idea: Textural Chairs
Take this laid-back, loosely geometric motif beyond your table. Energize your porch or back patio with a vibrant rattan chair in a bold colorway, like this one.
Shop Now: Terrain Havana Wicker & Teak Armless Chair, $448, shopterrain.com.
Embrace the Idea: Pillows
A bold throw pillow adds color and texture to an outdoor dining space—and ups the cozy factor.
Shop Now: Sunbrella Hanbel Fringed Diamonds Lumbar-Pillow Cover in Rust/Natural, $205, restorationhardware.com.
Embrace the Idea: Dinner Napkins
Embrace the Idea: Platter
Embrace the Idea: Dinner Plates
This bold, multi-colored plate set will energize weeknight dinners.
Shop Now: OKA "Herrinko" Patterned Stoneware Dinner Plates in Multi, $80 for four, oka.com.
Embrace the Idea: Wine Glasses
The same goes for this multi-colored wine glass set—you'll have trouble choosing which shade, from the dramatic amber to soothing sage, is your favorite.
Shop Now: DuraClear "Tritan Osteria" Bordeaux Glasses in Multicolored, $90 for six, williams-sonoma.com.
Embrace the Idea: Place Mats
Bring beachy, nautical texture to your tabletops with these round jute placemats, ringed in pom poms.
Shop Now: Serena & Lily "Catalonia" Place Mats in Round Navy, $28 each, serenaandlily.com.