Have you ever looked at a pile of your recent purchases and been like, “uh…wait…am I okay?” Because that’s been my internal monologue recently, and I’d like to talk about it. Historically, I’ve been a little early to new trends, but this one may just be a little too left field (even for me). We photoshopped a few of my latest vintage buys together – maybe you can take a peek and then hit me with your diagnosis, yeah?
Because guys, here’s my initial diagnosis: I’VE LOST IT. The past year and a half has broken me, and now the only thing that can make me feel joy are 1950s lamps shaped like poodles made out of broccoli and 1960s soup tureens shaped like rabbits made out of cabbage. Do I need to drink out of a glass shaped like a waffle cone? Apparently, the answer is ABSOLUTELY. And like…who wouldn’t enjoy using Pierre the Sommelier to open up a bottle of wine? (Please don’t actually answer that if you hate him – my ego is fragile. I’m feeling vulnerable!!!)
See, I’ve been lusting after true antique furniture pieces lately – please throw all your tiger oak and marquetry and cabriole legs my way – but the vintage decor pieces I’ve actually been buying exist in a WHOOOLE other kitschy, fun, whimsy universe. But this whole identity crisis really got me thinking about something Erik said in his dining room reveal about a year ago: “Dressing the table is my love language and it really shows who you are dining with how important that time together is. If you come over for dinner at my place and there are paper napkins and no candlelight, you better eat and run because clearly I’m not your fan. Take the time, especially for supper, and dust off your grandmother’s china and use the nice crystal serving ware. Life is too short to not use your very best stuff. You are worth it.”
And not to get too sentimental over my new/old bowls shaped like cabbage leaves and a cookie jar that looks like a lamb – I know they’re no grandmother’s china or crystal dinnerware – but I think there’s really something here, you know? After all this time dining by myself, I’m SO looking forward to delivering a fun experience for the folks who visit my home. (Even if that experience is them driving home being like, “woah, why is every surface in her home covered in vintage painted ceramics? She does know that she can just buy a regular pitcher, right?”)
As it turns out, though…I don’t actually think it’s just me. See, a lot of these things never actually went out of style – lettuceware, majolica, and ceramic dinnerware are classics for a reason – but I really feel like they’re picking up steam in a way that we haven’t seen before. WHIMSY IS IN THE ZEITGEIST, FOLKS. I’m willing to take a huge risk to prove it: go open Chairish, and check out the New Arrivals page. I guarantee you’ll see at least a few bowls shaped like not-bowls or plates shaped like not-plates. (And BOY, will I feel dumb if you don’t. I’m really gambling here, friends!) Since my word can only go so far, let’s look at some inspo, yeah?
These Bordallo Pinheiro plates are a welcome surprise when you approach the table – they’re perfect for a party but casual enough for daily use, too. I love how lettuceware looks when it’s layered with these more simple pink and white plates, too – it keeps it from feeling too campy. This is definitely the vibe I’m going for in my own home. (And can we talk about the way it echoes the color scheme of the art in the back??? DREAMY.)
Speaking of color schemes – you can’t go wrong with pink, blue, green, and white. While this definitely skews more traditional with the scalloped placemats and matching napkins, I really like how the playful dinnerware means that the rest of the tablescape can be kept nice and simple. Like a breath of fresh air, yeah?
You may recognize Cassandra from her recent kitchen reveal here on EHD, but I’m obsessed with this bright and happy dinner table she designed. As an additional bonus, this is my actual dining table – it’s this one from CB2 in case anyone is interested and I *love* it – so it’s really helpful seeing how vintage pieces can shine on a glossy, modern surface. It’s a mix that still looks really natural, which makes me feel like I’ll be able to pull it off in my own home, too.
Switching it up a little and breaking out a new shape: the flower!!! I wrote about the Italian plates I grabbed on our last EHD team trip here, but I’m excited to try layering them on top of a complimentary plate like I showed ya in the first photo. But the real reason I wanted to highlight this one – how sweet are those little tiny ceramic vegetables decorating the table? There’s a tiny radish on the left above the napkin, a tiny eggplant near the top right, and I’m like 60% sure that’s a pickle directly above the knife. Beyond that, how special are the engraved wine glasses? They really do add a little something special.
GAH. LOVE. So maximalist, so fun. I know it may be a little much for every day, but wouldn’t it be a treat to eat here with friends? Again, the layering of the plates is just sublime and it’s SO CREATIVE to use a few table runners across the length of the table instead of the width of the table. Put that tip in your back pocket for Thanksgiving if you have a huge family, yeah?
What an impactful collection – it’s clean without feeling cluttered. MY ACTUAL DREAM – bumping up the impact while limiting the amount of dusting needed. Even though there’s a shelf in front of the window, the lettuce ware really brightens up the whole area, right??
So sweet, so fun. This is ~technically~ an Easter setup, but swapping out that tablecloth would make it work for any holiday. I also love the look of using your decorative plates on the bottom – it feels really clean and thoughtful, despite being pretty easy to achieve at home. Plus, why NOT try dipping a toe in the majolica waters with some sweet little asparagus salt and pepper shakers?? They’ll be sure to bring a smile to all your guest’s faces 🙂
The marble fireplace surround, hand-painted wallpaper, super gorgeous moulding, and dark wood marquetry dining table could make this space feel super formal, but the bright green dinnerware REALLY brightens it up and makes it feel much less precious, right? With fine china, I’d be terrified of spilling or breaking something in this room. But when the plates made outta fake lettuce? I’m ready for a fun brunch with pals!
Again, nothing more classic than pink and blue (and catch that green glass in the upper right!). The bowl is such a happy and bright touch and it’s SO easy to mix and match with your existing dinner sets.
You see that wall? It’s not wallpaper – it’s a mural that was hand-painted in the 1930s. This is another case of the table settings really brightening up the space – nothing says “come relax for a while” like a big cabbage-shaped tureen filled with soup/mac and cheese/other foods you put in a tureen.
I had to drop these two in here for some holiday inspiration. Like, nothing says “ready for summer” like a whole buncha lemons, right? And I love how the lettuce plates on INSTANTLY holiday-appropriate when paired with red and tartan plaid. Am I winning you over yet? They feel a little less niche to me, and hopefully to you, too 🙂
Just had to do ONE more lemon tablescape for you – that ceramic napkin ring is so simple but so graphic, especially when mixed with those sweet clippings in a variety of glass vases. It’s like dining on the surface of the sun, but in a nice and happy way. So much life and cheer!!!
Please look back and take a note on HOW MUCH MIXING is going on here. We see the rug, the seat cushion, the tablecloth, the charger, the lettuce ware plate, the dinner plate, the salad plate, the napkin…and almost ALL of them are different colors. Let this be a lesson (mainly to me, TBH) that when you mix what you love, it’ll always turn out.
And I had to close with these shots from Tory Burch – she launched a line in conjunction with Dodie Thayer, the potter who originated the Palm Beach lettuceware trend in the 60s after being inspired by 18th century majolica pieces – and man, aren’t they just stunning? I’m a vintage gal at heart – I love the hunt – but if you’re the type to prefer your dinnerware new, you can’t go wrong with any of these pieces.
But I actually *did* want to pull a few of my favorites for y’all, straight off my own Etsy and Chairish favorites. These are the pieces I’m dreaming about adding to my collection – do any strike your fancy?
1 Strawberry Majolica Plates | 2. Vintage Strawberry Jar | 3. Geranium Plates | 4. Ed Langbein Melon Bowls | 5. Italian Cherry Topiary Lamp | 6. Italian Rabbit Tureen | 7. Italian Lemon Pitcher | 8. Vintage Flower Plates | 9. Watermelon Slice Lamp |10. Italian Zebra Covered Dish | 11. Italian Lemon Bowls | 12. Mid-Century Glassware
Fun fact: that’s the cabbage version of #6 up at the top of this post – I actually found mine after favoriting this one on Etsy, which made my in-person purchase feel even more special. For what it’s worth, these are all a little pricey, but I SUPER encourage poking around Etsy for a second – maybe search for “(your favorite food) + (dish/bowl/pitcher/jar)” or just “vintage dinnerware” or “vintage barware.” There are a TON of affordable options out there – these are just the ones that I’m obsessed with right now, ya know?
So now, I rest my case. What say you – have I lost my marbles, or are you hopping on the whimsy train with me??? LET’S DISCUSS, PLEASE.