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Pistoulet, from Pfalzgraff

It’s no surprise that 2010 will see more of us eating at home rather than going out. And it seems the tableware folks are coming to the table, so to speak, with new patterns and colors in dinner dishes to make it all a little more exciting.

Here are a few 2010 tableware trends to look out for…

More ‘wow’ pieces. Gone are matching place settings where dinner dishes vary only in size. We’re starting to see more variety within a place setting, with each piece making a design statement on its own. A 5-piece tableware setting might include variations in shape and a different pattern on each piece.

More personal statements. With dinner dishes, bowls and mugs within a place setting each being unique, there’s more freedom to mix things up a little and pull together the table in our own way. With a wider variety of patterns, we’re also able to pick patterns that say something about ourselves as a person. Call it eclectic or eccentric… it’s all about creating options, or doing things our own way.

Casual looks. A less disposable generation is driving a desire for beautiful dinner dishes they can be used every day… and simpler flatware with less decorated looks (cleaned up a little rather than outright contemporary). Metallic finishes are also being toned down from bright silver to burnished, brushed and hammered finishes.

Folk influences, especially from Europe. From Provence to Uzbekistan, western and eastern Europe are inspiring everything from flowers and fleur-de-lys patterns to embroidery-like stiches and densely packed swirls. Less-known locations around the world are inspiring new decorative ideas that are proving quite Bohemian.

Redefined formality. A more casual lifestyle is entrenched today, but there are traces of a growing desire for a little more formality.  The trend is less about ornate patterns on dinner dishes and more about a growing appreciation for quality and interest in the right way to serve and eat food. For example, we’re spending more time and money finding the right glass for the right wine or beer, the right serving platter… and wine decanters are becoming a must-have for a growing generation of educated wine drinkers.


For a change from the red and green color standards for the Christmas dinner table, try a silver and gold holiday table instead this year!

It’s easy to do because you may already own more of these colors than you realize. Dig through old boxes of Christmas ornaments  for some Christmas table decorating ideas – you might be surprized what you come up with!

Start with a white or cream-colored dinner plate (lined with gold or silver is nice, but not necessary) and polished silverware.Then just start adding. Here are a few ideas:

Scatter some white snowflakes on top of a white tablecloth. You can buy these at a craft store, dollar store or make them by cutting folder paper. (They don’t have to be super well made – they’ll just add a layer of texture.)

Add white napkins, plain or lined with gold. (Layering white on white is a good idea – it’ll tone down all the glitter!)

Fill glass bowls or glasses with silver and gold round Christmas balls. 

Add a silver or gold charger plate underneath the white plate, or an accent bowl or smaller plate in either color.

Look around the house for simple silver, gold or white anything – candles, candle holders, decorative boxes, ornaments, angels and add them to the table. Freely mix all three colors. Nothing doesn’t match in this scheme, as long as you stick to these three hues.

Curl a thin strand of silver or gold ribbon around the base of your wine glasses.

Add a white wreath in the center of the Christmas table. Tie gold and silver Christmas ornaments to it and put a large candle (or several smaller ones) in the center.

For more ideas, click on the christmas table settings tab (under tags) on the left-hand column.

For more home decorating ideas, visit

Trip to Kitchener Sept 09 008

Autumn is a great time to rethink not just our menu, but how we present it. With Thanksgiving around the corner, most of us tend to be captivated by the rural country. Even if your tastes don’t run along the rustic country lines, your dinner table might be the one place you rethink that. Bringing a little of the rural countryside to our dining table decor is akin to eating comfort food. It’s good for the soul.

Here are a couple of ways to add some country warmth to your dinner table this fall…

1. Dress for the weather.  With cooler temps, we tend to pile on heavier textures and warmer fabrics… so adding extra clothing to our tables isn’t so far fetched?!

* use heavier textures such as jacquard weaves, wool and heavier brushed cottons for table linens
* layer it on… now’s the time to use it all –  the tablecloth, placemats,  runners and napkins. A rich layering of coordinating fabrics feels warm and cozy. 

1. Mix and match your table linens. Autumn is all about abundance and dinner tables look more abundant when we layer on a variety of patterns in a variety of  colors.

* layer checkered cloth napkins with a plaid tablecloth or vice versa. If that sounds too country for your tastes,  invest in a set of checkered napkins (they’ll work in the summer too) and mix them with solid colored placemats.
* instead of mixing patterns, mix a variety of solid colors in rich, autumn shades. Try a pumpkin-colored table cloth with mustard-colored placemats, rich tomato napkins and moss-colored plates… or something along those lines.

 3. Opt for country colors. Take a look outside your window, then bring those earthy, autumn colors inside. Choose a color palette around any earthy vegetable color… tomatos, squash, peas, corn, etc.. These earthy, autumn colors feel warm and woodsy.  If you stay within this garden palette, you can mix any variety of colors.

* put a handful of dry, colorful leaves in a simple glass bowl in the center of the table.
* place a simple fall wreath in the middle of the table and place a wide round candle in the center in a complementary color.
* bring in some yellow – turns out we all feel instantly warmer and more content around a harvest gold-colored pitcher, napkins or placemats.

4. Add rustic textures. Replicate some of the dry, rugged textures of autumn on your table. Not sure what it is about those rough hay bail-type textures, but we all seem drawn to touch them. 

* place pine cones in a glass bowl as a centerpiece, or place a few of them on each dining plate prior to serving dinner.
* spread a few dry branches in the center of the table and place votive candles among them 
* put a few serving dishes inside rustic baskets; it’s a whole different experience to pass aroun a straw or woven textured dish than one made of ceramic or glass.

Fall clothing can be a great inspiration for dinner table schemes. Observe the way textures, patterns, fabrics and colors of popular autumn wardrobes are mixed for inspiration!

Fishs Eddy - window display (2)

Fishs Eddy is my favorite dinner dishes store in NYC. Located at 889 Broadway (at 19th), this  is exactly the kind of charmer you’d expect in this part of town. Plank flooring, wood-beamed ceiling and large display windows with  imperfect (actually even dirty) glass. From the sidewalk, it’s like peering into an old attic. Awesome.

The store’s slogan… we do dishes (how funny is that?), perfectly describes this haven for foodies and kitchen conoisseurs, especially those who love commercial kitchen-inspired eating rooms. In other words, if you’re looking for (1) bone china or (2) floral patterns, this probably isn’t the place for you.

 Fishs Eddy -interiorCluttered floor to ceiling with stuff (and more funny slogans to go with feature groups), you could spend some serious time- though not necessarily money – in this quaint shop. The prices seem reasonable and the wholesale atmosphere is deliberate.. some of their products are overruns or discontinued patterns from restaurant suppliers, allowing them to offer wholesale dinnerware  prices and looks to the public.

Their restaurant-supplier credentials explains the variety of heavy-duty dinner dishes, platters, bar glasssware and stainless steel flatware.  Also the kind of bright fiestaware dinnerware you’d find in Mexican restaurants. But they seem to have found a market for people who wanted the same look at home.

You’ll find entire Mother Daughter May 09 040displaFishs Eddy - interior 2 (2)ys of diner white dinnerware inspired by 50s diners.. but the looks are so simple that they’ll go with a lot more than diner furniture. Some dishes are theme inspired… from dinnerware inspired my the New York City Skyline to memo pads to my personal favorite… an architectural floor plFishs Eddy - napkins (2)an-inspired graphic on plates, mugs and coasters.

They’ve also just introduced a collection of wood bowls and bamboo plates with colorful, textured linens… befitting the trend to woodsier looks without completely giving up color.



 If you’re in Manhattan, it’s a fun place to visit for a little inspiration… or a dinnerware overhaul! Or check out their web site at

It seems the days of owning one set of good china for life… may be coming to an end.

New patterns for tableware are coming out at a faster rate than ever before…. partly to entice us to spend money in a tough economy… partly because more of us getting a little more eclectic when it comes to our dining tables… partly because dining is less formal and fancy china just isn’t used (or even bought) as much anymore. 

Tableware companies are showing a bigger variety of patterns and colors in 2009  introductions than they ever have, so there’s a lot to choose from. (But patterns have shorter life cycles today so you may not be able to add pieces in the future.)

Here are a few 2009 kitchen trends and what you can do to give your kitchen, table… or both, a facelift.

1. Mix new tableware with your current china. If you’ve got solid colored china, add serving dishes, chargers, bowls or luncheon plates in a coordinating pattern. Or layer solid-colored luncheon plates or bowls plates on top of your existing patterned china.

2. Look for kitchen counter accessories that pack a punch. Canisters, colanders, spoon rests in a bright color, or slick stainless steel can add color, polish and practicality.

3. Add more color. Tableware has never been more colorful than it is today. Even adding a colored serving dish or a set of bowls can lift our spirits and add life to an old set of dishes.