How to Use Classic China Alongside Contemporary Pieces When Designing Your Holiday Tablescapes
We now have proof that several generations can get along beautifully at your holiday dinner table. Ahead, Living home editor Lorna Aragon shows how four classic china patterns—similar to ones you may have collected or even inherited—can be gorgeously refreshed in modern place settings.
Ripe for a Redo
Shop Now: Tory Burch "Oiseau" Dinner Plate, $128 for two, toryburch.com. Nickey Kehoe South African Wineglass, $28, nickeykehoe.com. Mepra Dolce Vita Vintage Bronzo Flatware, $165 for a 4-piece setting, theluxuryartmepra.com. Carolina Irving & Daughters Multi Tile Tablecloth, $120, ci-daughters.com. Crate & Barrel "Marin" Linen Napkin in Blush, $10, crateandbarrel.com. Ann Ladson Bronze Finishing Spoon, $75, annladson.com. Land of Belle Rattan Cage Carafe, $60, landofbelle.com.
Inspired by blue-and-white Chinese porcelain that was imported to England in the 1700s, the toile-like landscapes on Wedgwood Blue Willow transferware were all the rage three centuries ago—and are still prized today. Don't fret if you've dropped a few over the decades, Lorna says. You can find many old patterns at Replacements Ltd., Etsy, or eBay. For a bold reboot, Lorna combined the iconic chinoiserie style with structured and loose patterns, including plaid napkins, a bohemian block-printed tablecloth, and splatterware chargers and salad plates. Patinated stainless steel flatware counterbalances the dishes' luster, and cobalt glasses echo the saturated blues.
Shop Now: Wedgwood Blue Willow Dinner Plate, $50, and Salad Plate, $40, replacements.com. March Splatterware Dinner Plate, $60, and Salad Plate, $40, marchsf.com. Farmhouse Pottery "Shelburne" Flatware, $85 for a five-piece setting, farmhousepottery.com. Juliska Vienne Tumbler in Blue, $27, juliska.com. Heather Taylor Home "Glen Plaid" Napkin in Cornflower, $82 for four, heathertaylorhome.com. Dotter Block-Print Tablecloth in Trellis Blue, 60" by 60", $50, dotterstore.com.
Historically, the oak tree symbolizes strength, longevity, and hospitality—which makes the delicate garlands of acorns and oak leaves that grace Bernardaud's Constance dinnerware a perfect fit for holiday entertaining. The well-loved pattern, which also features rings of gilded laurel, recalls the French Empire style of the early 1800s. Taking a cue from its watercolor-like greens, Lorna chose a verdant charger from Bordallo Pinheiro resembling another type of leaf—cabbage! The side of veg adds a whimsical note to a formal design, while geometric glasses and checked gingham napkins offset the round plates with crisp angles.
Shop Now: Bernardaud Constance Dinner Plate, $160, and Salad Plate, $130, replacements.com. Bordallo Pinheiro Charger, $52, and Dessert Plate, $28, westontable.com. Degrenne French Verlaine Flatware, $82 for a five-piece setting, food52.com. Tory Burch Pressed-Glass Water Glass in Green, $148 for four, toryburch.com. Heather Taylor Home Mini Gingham Honeydew Napkin, $82 for four, heathertaylorhome.com. Pomegranate Phlox Tablecloth in Green, $68, pomegranateinc.com.
Haviland has been around since 1842—and became even more popular in the U.S. post-World War II. But its Wedding Ring pattern has become exceedingly hard to find, perhaps because the simple, sumptuous gold around the circumference goes with anything, much like a wedding ring itself. Since the design is classic and understated, Lorna introduced a soft and organic motif, with a salad plate spotlighting a colorful warbler. The birds and branches on CB2's "Chelsea" plate look like traditional chinoiserie, but silver edges give the bone china modern flair. Precious metals also shine through in the gold-threaded tablecloth, mirror-finish utensils, and rimmed stemware. As Lorna says, "pick one element that speaks to you, and go with it."
Shop Now: Haviland Wedding Ring Dinner Plate, $80, replacements.com. CB2 "Chelsea" Salad Plate, $17, cb2.com. Crate & Barrel Ellenore Gold Flatware, $60 for a five-piece setting, crateandbarrel.com. Martha Stewart Clear Optic Wineglass, $72 for four, macys.com. Cultiver Linen Table Napkin in Natural, $45 for four, cultiver.com. Kalamkari Fabric (similar to shown), $3 a meter, itokri.com.
Introduced as a tea service in 1962, Royal Albert's Old Country Roses quickly became one of the world's most beloved heirloom patterns. The milky bone china evokes an English garden border filled with its mother country's national flower, and the elegant gold rim elevates the design to regal status. "When combining different pieces, pick up on common threads," suggests Lorna. Here, she riffed on the pattern's ruffled rims and pink and orange petals. Rose tones in the tablecloth nod to the original plate's blooms, while playful polka dots in the napkins and acrylic-handled flatware "keep it all from feeling too stuffy," she says.
Shop Now: Royal Albert Old Country Roses Dinner Plate, $30, and Salad Plate, $28, replacements.com. Adam Lippes Coquille Side Plate, $225 for four, oka.com. Marumitsu Barbarie Bread Plate, $54, rwguild.com. Sabre Paris Classic Collection Flatware in Ivory, $95 for a five-piece setting, landofbelle.com. La Rochere Bee Goblet, $78 for six, williams-sonoma.com. Les Indiennes Fanny Napkin in Madder Red, $20, lesindiennes.com. India Hicks Home x Pomegranate Carnations Tablecloth, 60" by 90", $120, pomegranateinc.com.
Styling by Lorna Aragon