Metallic Mix table setting

Credits: Photograph by Bob Hiemstra, styling by Sam Cook

Metallic Mix
Gold accents signify luxury and warmth, whether the look is traditional, modern, or somewhere in between.

Pictured above:
  1. Gatchina Palace flatware, Fabergé
  2. Torse wineglass by Nason & Moretti, Michael C. Fina
  3. Gold Aves dinner plate and soup bowl, both Royal Crown Derby
  4. Tablecloth and napkin, both E. Braun & Co.
Traditional table setting

Credits: Photograph by Bob Hiemstra, styling by Sam Cook

In classic patterns, modest bands of gold rim the edges of plates and glassware, and symmetrical floral designs are set off by a white background.

If you are going to invest in china service, "nothing equals the lush warmth of a table set with gold adorned china," says Meryl Gold of Michael C. Fina Co. Pick what you love, she advises, then be sure to use it often, for more than just fancy occasions. "Even pizza tastes better when you eat it off a gold plate."

Pictured above:
  1. Brass dome, Burke's Antiques
  2. Vera Lace Gold salad plate, Vera Wang at Wedgwood
  3. Rivoli decanter, Baccarat
  4. Golden Inspirations salad plate, Sears
  5. Victoria Strawberry Gold bread-and-butter plate, Minton
  6. and 21. Laetitia salad fork and spoon by Odiot, Bergdorf Goodman
  7. and 20. Elysée dinner fork and knife by Puiforcat, Bergdorf Goodman
  8. Splendor di Tavola buffet plate, Villeroy & Boch
  9. Westchester dinner plate, Lenox
  10. Geranium dish, William Yeoward Crystal
  11. Place-card holder, Smythson of Bond Street
  12. Vetro Gold tumbler, Arte Italica
  13. Lady Hamilton champagne flute, Moser
  14. Gold Optic wineglass by Nason & Moretti, Bergdorf Goodman
  15. Saltcellar by Buccellati, Michael C. Fina
  16. Cup and saucer, Bernardaud
  17. and 26. Antique Baroque forks and cake server, Wallace Silversmiths
  18. Gosford dinner plate, William Yeoward Crystal
  19. and 27. Arabian Nights dinner plate and cake plate, both Meissen (Michael C. Fina)
  20. Tablecloth and napkin, E. Braun & Co.
Transitional table setting

Credits: Photograph by Bob Hiemstra, styling by Sam Cook

Historic patterns appear on new shapes pepped up with bold doses of color.

To bridge aesthetic or regional styles, pick a unifying thread such as color, says tableware designer William Yeoward, who's also the author of Perfect Tables. Moroccan tea glasses can tie in with Grandma's delft tureen if their blues match; putting a bright orange charger under Yeoward's Gosford plate (No. 24)—inspired by a Marie Antoinette-era design—would draw attention to the plate's pattern and give the table an exotic jolt.

Pictured above:
  1. Tesoro lidded bowl, L'Objet
  2. Brass tray, Hadley Antiques
  3. Torse sugar bowl, Haviland
  4. Gold Bamboo flatware, Ralph Lauren Home
  5. and 35. Avington charger and Escot round dish, both William Yeoward Crystal
  6. Glamour dinner plate, Haviland
  7. Wave Edge napkin, Dransfield & Ross
  8. Arabismo glass, Berber Trading Company
  9. and 39. Thistle tumbler and Baalbeck goblet, both St. Louis Crystal by Hermés
  10. Pagoda salt-and-pepper set, L'Objet
  11. Lotus candle stand/incense holder, Odegard
  12. Pond lily tray, Burke's Antiques
  13. Aegean Collection dessert plate, L'Objet
  14. Laque de Chine cup and saucer, both Haviland
  15. Foglie tablecloth, E. Braun & Co.
Modern table setting

Credits: Photograph by Bob Hiemstra, styling by Sam Cook

Modern gold designs attract even the most ardent minimalist: The metal can be center stage or one small element, matte or gloss, saucy or sublime.

TableArt's Walter Lowry uses gold to signal serious fun. "The more gold you add—whether it's a glass-beaded mat under a plate or a stemless goblet—the dressier the table looks." His shop sells single-pattern five-piece settings, but Lowry sees more people mixing and matching patterns to fit their entertaining styles. Festive doesn't have to mean finicky, he stresses, in either aesthetic or upkeep. Plates like Bodo Sperlein's Motion (No. 48) can go in the dishwasher (use the china cycle and turn off the heated dry), though Lowry says no fine china, with or without gold, should be placed in a microwave.

Pictured above:
  1. Linen napkin with gold hemstitch, Kim Seybert
  2. Pegasus Aureus flatware, Villeroy & Boch
  3. Motion buffet plate, dinner plate, and small oval dish, all by Bodo Sperlein (TableArt)
  4. Brella bowl, Umbra
  5. Serving set, Austin Creations
  6. Northern Hemisphere stemless wineglass, Marc Blackwell
  7. My China! Teapot, Sieger Design
  8. Small bowl, Anthropologie
  9. and 55. Gold Scribble salad plate and dinner plate, both Calvin Klein
  10. Pear by Victoria Hagan, Target
  11. Minéral Gold Star dish, Raynaud
  12. Sferra linen tablecloth, Gracious Home