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Design: Update your table with linens, flatware and china

Fiestaware table setting with tarragon flowers.

Fiestaware table setting with tarragon flowers. Photo Credit:

We may repaint, recover and renovate -- but then we still use the same old napkins, place mats and dishes in our refreshed dining rooms and kitchens. A few careful switches can help you create a new look that will have you and your guests dining in style.


If you have a set of solid-colored dishes, you can create a multitude of fresh arrangements. By adding just a few dishes in contrasting colors or patterns, like salad plates, you can make a splash.

Today's table is all about mixing and matching. A great way to stretch your dinnerware options is to add a set of coordinating salad plates that harmonize with your current china. Great examples are Pottery Barn's appetizer and dessert plates. Make your dinner-scape more interesting, too, by mixing round and square plates.


Whether you want to just add a spot of new color or create a more versatile collection, think about how you like to dine. If it's out by the pool, choose colors that can take you from spring into summer. In the fall and winter, look for accent pieces that focus on autumn themes and colors.

Cutlery also comes in a variety of styles and colors and can really change the look of your table. Add a stylish feel with Anthropologie's Resplendent flatware that can coordinate with both summer and fall place settings. Vintage is also all the rage now. Try flea markets and swap meets to find coordinating and contrasting pieces.


Don't forget about making some changes in your drink ware, too. Whatever your favorite libation, try to have appropriate glasses, like cool margarita glasses. Adding a bright, shiny set of Moscow mule mugs will bring some sparkly fun to the table. Instead of cups and saucers, try a coordinating set of coffee mugs for dinner gatherings.


Tired of the same old place mats? Slip them under the cat's dish or line your refrigerator vegetable drawers, then swap in pretty tea towels or rattan chargers for a change of pace. Use table runners spread across the table as shared place mats. If you use tablecloths, try layering them, with a large cloth on the bottom and a smaller square or round contrasting one layered in the middle.


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