Heirlooms are an important part of every family and every home; I receive questions regularly from people asking how they can integrate their family heirlooms into their décor. But heirlooms aren’t just decorative pieces that can be used as accessories or wall art, there are also utilitarian heirlooms that tend to get tucked away if the family that inherits them already has their own crystal, china, or silverware.
This doesn’t have to be the case. I received a question from a woman who had inherited her grandmother’s silverware and wanted to know if there was any way to use both her own and her newly inherited silverware at her holiday table. Her grandmother’s set held wonderful memories for her, but she didn’t want a chaotic-looking table. With the holidays upon us once again and holiday tables being planned, this question is particularly relevant now.
Mismatched silverware used in an aesthetically appealing way can add a lot of character to a table at family gatherings, especially when one or more pieces hold memories or have special meaning to your family.
One way to use two different silverware patterns together is to use the place settings from one set and the serving pieces from the other pattern. You can also alternate the patterns at the place settings around the table – every other place setting will have grandmother’s silverware, and alternating settings can have your own silverware. This also works well with china patterns; my daughter selected a china pattern that would coordinate with mine so that when she took over hosting our large family gatherings, she could easily intermingle each set with the other. In addition, her total number of place settings doubled when added to the coordinated second set. This is something new brides may want to keep in mind when registering for their china and silverware selections.
Besides inherited and handed-down silver, some people enjoy finding unique and beautiful serving pieces in their vacation travels or at antique shops. Each piece then has a story and a memory behind it and becomes a part of your own personal history.
Personally, I love the idea of mixing silverware patterns – when done correctly, it can create a very charming, interesting table.