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Basic White Dishes. Don’t Replace them … Revive Them!

Create Your Registry Design Style Glossary of Tabletop Terms Home Inspiration Registry Essentials

Three Steps To Revive This Registry Essential.


Was it Billy Idol that sang, “It’s a nice day for a white place setting?” White dishes are and should be a wedding registry essential. They are timeless, neutral and great for any occasion. We all want to invest in versatile and enduring tableware for our home, so we aren't constantly updating and replacing our dinnerware with each passing trend. Blueprint Registry published an article The 5 Best Dinnerware Sets of 2019 and they. were. all. White.

White dishes are and should be a wedding registry essential.


Most of us have a basic set of white dishes in our cupboards that we use every day. White dinnerware is a top choice for chefs who prefer to frame their culinary creations against a stark backdrop. It's no surprise so many of us have gravitated to this classic choice. They are the consummate workhorse of the tabletop. But it's a new day and The Dowry is here to explore all the colorful possibilities with you.

Color: The 2023 Trend

White-hues have taken over home interiors {and exteriors} from the all-white kitchen to the all-white bedding dominating Instagram. My once colorful neighborhood dotted with blue, green, red, burnt orange and {even} pink homes has transformed into tree lined streets with homes absent of color. It looks clean and uniform, but feels a little . . . Stepford-y? 

Just like any good trend, white is headed out the front door, and color + pattern is headed in. Rachel Street, host of Philly Revival on the DIY Network, predicts that “people will return to creating visual interest through color” and Claudia Guthrie of The Spruce says we can expect to see “. . . unconventional ways to add color and make your space more joyful." This makes us all giddy with excitement at The Dowry.

We are here to help you evolve and update your kitchen tables with color and patterns so your place settings tell a fresh new story.

Color Psychology

Emotions are tightly connected to color. You can use color to create particular moods for different rooms in your home; a relaxing bedroom, a spa-like bathroom, a cozy family room, etc. Kendra Cherry, psychology writer for Verywell Mind, and Steven Gans MD, a board-certified psychiatrist and supervisor at Massachusetts General Hospital, remarked in their article Color Psychology: Does It Affect How You Feel?"Artists and interior designers have long believed that color can dramatically affect moods, feelings and emotions." For a handful of years the all-white trend has provided us with the peace and calm we needed. But now it’s time to infuse our homes with the colors that bring us joy.

Color Exploration

In the interior design world, neutral means without color making them a wonderful design foundation. Neutrals are like a blank canvas. If you’ve already registered or invested in white dinnerware, don’t worry, we’re here to walk you through the steps to elevate those neutral place settings with a fresh new look. Adding color, pattern and texture to a base foundation of white {and it's variations} is a good place to start. You can spruce up your plates, bowls, mugs and serveware with color to create dynamic tablescapes with very little effort {and expense}.

Today we are going to focus on the tabletop, specifically your dinnerware and place settings!


STEP 1 :: TAKE INVENTORY. Take note of what is currently on your wedding registry or in your cupboards. Pay close attention to:


When you are looking to add new accent plates and bowls to your current dishes, you will want to make sure that they stack nicely together to show off each piece whether it is your new blue striped dinner plate {10 inch diameter} stacked under your classic ecru white salad plate {7.5 inch diameter}. Measure your plates for diameter and your bowls for diameter and depth so you know each piece of your place setting will still be visible on the table.


Is your current white dinnerware trimmed with a plate rim or bowl lip? Do they have soft curved sides or modern straight lines? Pay attention to whether they are truly round, or if they are more oval, oblong or an interesting square or hexagonal shape. When adding to your traditional whites, keep the shape of your tableware complementary.


Not all white is white, thanks to the many shades of the Pantone rainbow. As mentioned earlier 'neutral' is categorized by all shades of white. So your 'classic white dinnerware' may actually be ecru, cream, beige or gray. Determine if your white is a cool neutral or a warm neutral. Knowing this helps you pick the right coordinating accent color(s). Cool neutral colors have blue or green undertones and warm neutral colors have brown, red, orange, or yellow undertones (Corey from Hey There Home).


We normally think of the basic white place setting as crisp, clean and without much detail, but that doesn't mean your go-to, everyday set doesn't have some subtle markings. Make a mental note of your dinnerware details as you pick a compatible accent pattern. Does it have beadwork dotting the rim? Or a ringed indention around the lip? Are your bowls footed or your plates scalloped?


Looking for guidance? Download The Dowry Glossary Of Tabletop Terms. It provides images, dimensions, descriptions and uses for each type of place setting dish, and where it goes on the table. Remember you don’t have to match the shape, color and detail of your existing white dishes . . . just complement them!


You have 10 white dinner + salad plates, bowls and mugs, but you want to infuse some color for weekend dinner parties.
Remember from Step One you need to determine if your neutral place setting has a warm or cool undertone. Knowing this will help you select the accent color that coordinates with it from the color wheel. The above image, of the m.bueno Classic White Dinner Plate, has blue undertones so you know that this dinnerware set is a cool neutral.


Whether you go bold with colors across from each other on the color wheel, like navy blue violet + orange or pick a more soothing palette by pairing colors next to each other on the wheel, like green + blue, stick with colors that have similar undertones. See examples from Shannon at Home Made Lovely.


Step Two: Time to pick your accent color(s) to compliment your classic white dishes.


You can brighten up your place settings by adding a colorful charger under each white dinner plate, or swap out white salad plates for a patterned set and alternate white + pattern + white as you stack plates and bowls at each place setting. Adding color this way is less expensive than replacing all your dinnerware, and allows you to create lots of different looks with just a few new tabletop essentials. Don’t forget to enhance your new look with linens and glassware to pull it all together.


Add the soothing color combination of blues and greens to your white place settings.

How to register and shop by color palette on The Dowry


You can search for wedding gift registry items by color on The Dowry. From the navigation bar, click 'Collections' then 'By Color Palette', and then select the color that you want to explore! This will help you refine your search and keep you within your chosen palette.

 Step Three: Add accent patterns to truly express your design style!

This is where it really gets fun. Pattern is an easy way to add color and express your design style. To explore ideas, check out The Dowry style curations: boho + eclectic, classic + traditional, fresh + prep, rustic + industrial and Scandinavian + minimalist.

Patterns can be lumped into two broad categories: organic {reflective of nature} or geometric {polka-dots, triangles}. Just like a professional designer, you can blend patterns from both categories as long as you follow a few general rules.

  1. Pick a base pattern. This is what you’ll use to build the other patterns around. Find a color or color combination to keep consistent throughout. 
  2. Your second pattern should be the opposite pattern type of your base pattern. For instance if your base pattern is organic, choose a simple geometric pattern for the second. In terms of pattern size, your second pattern should  be a similar scale to the base pattern.
  3. The third pattern should be the opposite pattern size to the first two. If patterns one and two are both large, choose a small pattern for the third (If patterns one and two are different sizes, match the size of pattern three to either of the first two). Rule of thumb: work with only two pattern sizes per look.

When combining patterns, focus on matching the colors, not the patterns themselves. If you stay inside your chosen color palette the different patterns will have the consistency they need to work together.
Add playful pattern to your chosen color palette to create consistency and a sense of cohesion.


At The Dowry, we advocate for getting the most out of what you already own. Whenever possible we look for ways to upgrade an existing look by adding a few new design elements. Of course it’s always okay to start over from scratch, too. There are lots of different ways to freshen up your table. 

Whether you’re reading this to get ideas for updating your existing white dishes, or you’re putting together your wedding registry and want some basic guidance, The Dowry is here. We love what our artists create with color and pattern and we love bringing these special, handcrafted items directly to your table. Bon appetite!  

xoxo, The Dowry

Create Your Complimentary Wedding Gift Registry On The Dowry Today!

Extra Tips:

Q: What about my flatware?

A: Contrary to what your grandmother might say, it is perfectly fine to mix and match flatware on the table. We’ve seen beautiful tablescapes with miss-matched utensils. It definitely creates an informal boho or farmhouse vibe. 

Q: Does my flatware have to match the other metal decor on my table?

A: It’s okay to mix metals. Choose a dominant metal ~ probably coming from your flatware. Play with finishes or add a few table decor details like serving in your copper pot, copper serving spoons, or a hammered silver salt spoon to mix things up and convey a story of your very best family heirlooms.  

Q: Should I stick with clear glassware?

A: Clear glassware is considered a neutral, like white dishes. If your stemware is "neutral", consider choosing a colorful or patterned tumbler to change up the mood of your table. Glassware is a great place to add color and pattern. Browse our beautiful glass tumblers in every color found on the wheel

Q: Any advice for the linens on my table?

A: Linens are like couture for the table. A patterned cloth napkin in your chosen color palette, can pull the whole tablescape look together and give your place setting that designer’s touch. Check out the table linen section on The Dowry for lots of colorful choices.

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