Saturday, May 28, 2016


Like most folks, for years, I believed that the best way to set a table was with matching sets of linen and china. But times have changed. I now find it a bit boring to set an entire table with all the exact same elements. Also, over the years, I’ve lost several of my prior uniform-looking plates and linens. And I’m not willing to toss the things I’ve had for a quite a while. So, for the recent past, as often as not, I've ended up with mismatched table settings. And why not celebrate it?

Maybe you consider this kind of mismatching to be rustic, bohemian, whimsical or just crazy. But I think the mismatched table is totally suitable for most any occasion and, most of all, practical.

So, here’s the reasoning for this post. I had four red place mats that I bought for my Christmas three years ago and continue to use for casual table setting. They were a bit faded from washing and worn around the edges. Nothing wrong with them but I was bored with their appearance. I had also gotten tired of the coordinating red cloth table napkins that I’d bought for the Christmas table. Being a Bluebird, red-on-red - mats and napkins - was not my favorite look, so I gave them away.

But I still had three black napkins and two dark blue ones, parts of sets that I had acquired  over the past few years. They were all in fairly good shape and in colors that I liked. With my anti-consumerism banner held high, I wasn’t about to give into an impulse to go out and buy more table things.  I decided that I’d go with what I had.

I remembered reading somewhere that there were a couple of effective ways to approach your table setting mismatches.

Basically, these ways involved color and pattern. When you choose table elements that  are part of the same color scheme, they don’t seem to be so much mismatched, Your eyes read them as  coordinating because they’re all similar shades. In the same way, similar pattern, even with different colors also helps to bring together a nice mismatched look.

Here's how I pulled together my mismatched table linen using my skills in crochet.
Similar crocheted stitched bring together my mismatched look.

My plan was to  create a similar element that would bring together the red mats and the black and dark blue napkins.

I did that with one skein of bright blue sock-weight worsted yarn, thus playing down the Christmas red look.

I crocheted around the edges of the red mats with the blue yarn using a simple shell pattern and a double thickness of the yarn. Each mat took me about two hours to crochet.

Using the  same yarn, with a single thickness, I worked on the napkins. First, I took an embroidery needle and sewed a blanket stitch around the edges. Then, I was able to add a simple crochet edge. Because the blanket stitching was a bit slow, I took as long finishing each napkin as I had for each mat.

You can see the results in the pic. And I think it’s quite nice for my all occasion table.

Maybe you’ll want to try to do just what I did. Or you might like to experiment with another kind of mismatched table setting. Whatever you do, be confident that you’re decorating instincts are going to help you carry off mismatching with pizazz. So be bold and play with with colors, patterns and shapes. You can be sure that you’re setting a one-of-a-kind table that others will notice (and, more than likely, appreciate).


Mary Wood said...

I did the same with what had been dubbed 'Christmas table decorations.' But I used colors that coordinated with several of your paintings. I love the bright colors and waiting for Christmas seemed like a shame. Two of your paintings are framed and, at the moment, (they get moved around)live above my kitchen table.

GrandmaS said...

Thank you, Mary Jane for your kind words and your willingness to take up the challenge of my sometimes useful, sometimes, whimsical recommendations.