Nothing is more elegant than a dinner table set with all-white linens and chinaware. A white linen tablecloth sets the background against which you might place a crocheted or lace cover in an eggshell shade. This doesn’t have to be an heirloom from your grandmother. There are lots of inexpensive machine-made versions, and you can’t tell them from the real thing. This will provide texture with the white background showing through. Creamware plates are lovely with damask napkins. In fact, white patterns of chinaware are classic and some never go out of style. Of all the tableware, whites are usually the most economical. And it’s easy to mix and match patterns with white chinaware for an interesting look.
Add to this setting wooden, silver or white ceramic candle holders with white candles and, in the center, a white pitcher, bowl or clear glass vase with white tulips, a few freesia stems, white roses or white lilacs. The greenery from the stems and leaves is all that’s needed for a touch of color. Dress the sideboard (if you have one) with a white eyelet-edged runner. This is a common item found at flea markets, but you can find new, inexpensive items like this at bed and bath shops. If you rummage through your mother’s or grandmother’s linen drawer you may find something similar.
I collect napkins. They are inexpensive and provide color easily when I want to create a theme. For fall I use my rust-and-moss-green-plaid linen napkins on a brown tablecloth. During the holidays I have Christmas napkins in bright green and cherry-red checks. When I’m serving an Italian meal, I use my red-and-white-checked napkins, and sometimes I like a black-and-white theme. I have black napkins and candles that look great on a white tablecloth with my ornate silver candlesticks. Pale pink damask, blue and white stripes, beige and white checks, and a mix of pastel colors and floral patterns are included in my collection. When you have a variety of napkins and a few basic tablecloths or place mats, you can easily set a table to match your mood, a theme, the weather, the season or your meal. Try it. It’s a lot of fun..
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