The New York Times Magazine just published a helpful guide on how to mismatch china--new and vintage.
Fritz Karch, an expert on collecting, demystifies the art of setting an elegantly mismatched table below. We love that he mixes new and old and try to make use of the random pieces in your cabinets.
1. Choose a color palette and limit yourself. "We have four completely different place settings," Karch notes of his table, "but basically it’s two compatible colorways": reds and oranges, and metallics.
2. Patterns should differ in scale. "Stagger the dense versus the not so dense," he says. "Some are bolder, some are more subtle."
3. Some repetition is good. "Everything doesn’t have to be different," Karch says. Here, glasses remain uniform, and napkins match up by color. Certain patterns and textures show up twice. "Buy in pairs," he suggests. "You can get the effect without having 30 different things."
4. Find serving pieces that work with a busy table. Karch loves the simple glass carafe, shown at top left, at right; it’s neutral enough to be used in multiples. "You want to have quantity at the table, so you’re not getting up all the time," he says. "You want to participate in your own party."