By Claire
October 3rd, 2014

Let’s be honest…one of the best parts of hosting a dinner party is the ritual of setting the table.  There’s luxury in those calm moments right before friends arrive, when the house is still pristine, and the night is yet to begin.  I love to unleash a bit of creativity right about then, and the table is the perfect place for unbridled bursts of color, or that perfect neutral restrain.

In this series, we will explore two different ways to design a home tabletop, using one item as our central piece.  Much to my husband’s dismay, I’m always on the hunt for great new home elements.  Whether it’s a Goodwill find, or a versatile new line from a favorite shop, I can always come up with a way to add it into my collection.  By figuring out multiple ways to work with a piece, you are of course saving money on new set ups, but also giving yourself freedom to try out different styles.  I have a hard time deciding whether I am a girl that loves bright poppy vignettes, or one that favors soft, clean whites, so this method allows me to be both, which of course, is always more fun!

A couple of weeks ago, I found these lovelies at a garage sale….



A set of six small plates designed by the Japanese porcelain company, Koransha, in their original packaging for a real steal!  The company was founded in the 1870s, and makes gorgeous hand painted original designs.  This particular set really spoke to me with it’s deep indigo-violet hue, and bright gold rim.  Modern in it’s simplicity, but rich and warm in color.



A pretty gold Japanese logo stamp on the back lets us know of it’s origin.



Our first table is a take on desert neutrals.  Succulents take a stand next to dip dyed linen napkins, and a sand colored runner anchors everything in it’s place.  Our new little plates are perfect for an appetizer on the side of the main course, and pair well with a classic white or ivory china collection, something most of us already have in the cupboard.  Always fun to refresh what we own!

One Table, Two Ways - Indigo Blue with Neutral Accents


And now for a bit more of a pop!  This bright floral tablecloth is such fun to work with.  Although it seems busy at first glance, you’d be surprised by how many different pieces work here.  If you treat it as a neutral, and draw from the colors within the pattern, you can create a lively setting that still has some harmony to it all.  I chose to bring in multiple shades of blue…starting with our indigo plates, I worked down the rainbow until I hit that pale robins egg blue base plate, only throwing in a small pink floral note for variation.  Easy and perfect for outdoor entertaining!

One Table, Two Ways - Bright and Floral with Indigo Blue Accents


Play around with what you have, and slowly add small, interesting pieces to your collection.  You’ll enjoy being able to change your look from time to time, without breaking the bank!

Similar plates found here, here, and here.


Images by Carlton Canary for “That Pleasant Surprise”


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