Don’t have a complete set? Just mix it up and adapt.

Pin It

What do you do if you don’t have a complete set of vintage flatware?

First, don’t worry about it and second just use it.

Perfectly matching place settings for 12 don’t come along every day! And best of all you don’t need them to. Don’t be afraid to work whatever pieces you do have into your daily life.

Vintage silver flatware

Don't worry if it doesn't all match. Unless you point it out, no one else will even notice.

If you are just starting a collection of silver or have inherited a few pieces from a loved one, don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can’t use them until the set is complete.

Many, many magazine articles and design books have been dedicated to showing us how chic an eclectic, non-matching style of design is. The same principle applies to silver.

Nothing is out of bounds on my personal table. I mix sets, sizes and styles with abandon.

My silverware is the little black dress of my home’s decor.

You can dress it up with heels and some jewelry, or equally dress it down with flats and sunglasses.

Even on the most formal of occasions I rarely use an entire “set”. Mainly this is because I don’t have one that will accommodate everyone at the table.

Vintage silver

Fork is Christina by Gorham, Knife and Gumbo Spoon in Louis XV by Whiting Mfg. Co.

Vintage silver, English sterling silver

English Georgian Fork, Knife is Christina by Gorham, Spoon, Louis XV by Whiting Mfg. Co.

English sterling silver, vintage silver

Louis XV fork, Christina knife, English Georgian Berry Spoon (Victorian era decoration)

My collection has…evolved…over time.

Some of the pieces are lucky single finds, long since separated from their companions. Other times you might be fortunate enough to find 6,8 or 12 of something…say a fork from a single pattern, but then you can’t find the knives. Or you might really love the salad fork in one pattern but don’t really like the rest of it.

One of the most beautiful tables I’ve ever had the fortune to sit down at is in the home of a good friend and a frequent commenter on this site. I won’t say her name without her permission, but she can make herself known in the comment if she wants to be identified. Her “set” is simply stunning. She’s mixed individual pearl handled pieces, in with exquisite Georgian silver, and fantastic art deco pieces. Every piece has been chosen because it speaks to her. She has also incidentally, put together a complete service for 12 for what you might expect to pay for some stainless steel services.

So mix and adapt with abandon.

When the table is set, no one notices. Really, do you inspect the cutlery of the person next to you, let alone down the table at a dinner party!


Do you mix and match? Let me know, I always love to hear from you!

Pin It

8 thoughts on “Don’t have a complete set? Just mix it up and adapt.

  1. IvetteNo Gravatar

    Great post. I do this myself and actually prefer it.

    Can we post pics? I have some….of beautiful things YOU helped me source!

  2. Jane F @ AtticmagNo Gravatar

    I actually bought an intentionally mixed set of stainless. It would be easy (not to mention thrifty) to do that with sterling. Oh my, now you’ve given me a dangerous idea.

    1. SilverMagpiesNo Gravatar Post author

      Dangerous thoughts! I love it…

      And you’re right you can compose a set very inexpensively this way.

      Thanks for commenting Jane.

    1. SilverMagpiesNo Gravatar Post author

      Hi Alex –

      Welcome to Silver Magpies, thanks for commenting. 🙂

      I’m glad you like the idea. Really it doesn’t matter what you do or do not have, just enjoy it!

Comments are closed.