If You Have Blue-and-White China…
Create French-country enchantment, pairing casual glasses with fancy dishes around a glitzy centerpiece. Alternating two complementary china patterns promotes a loose but still pulled-together vibe. A nubby linen cloth in chocolate brown is unexpected against fine china and feels relaxed—no one has to worry about spilling gravy. Soft napkins (they almost look like chambray) host everyday stainless flatware. Goblets are chunky and homey, making this setup sweet and inviting, and not the least bit intimidating. And gold-leaf fruit inspires oohs and aahs.
How to Gild Fruit
1. Clean and dry fruit. If you’re using fresh fruit, the firmer the better. You can get the same look with fake fruit, if you want it to last.
2. With a disposable paintbrush, apply a thin, even coat of water-based gilding adhesive like Rolco Aquasize ($16, freestylephoto.biz). Let dry until tacky (about 15 minutes).
3. Press sheets of faux gold leaf (available at crafts stores) onto the fruit with a soft cotton cloth. Overlap sheets slightly, and remove any loose pieces.
4. To give the fruit an antiqued look, use another soft cotton cloth to apply brown or black shoe polish. Buff to a high shine.
To buy: Taste Blue Flat dinner plates by Reichenbach, $125 each (hatch marks) and $145 each (blue fade), 888-535-6590; Taste Blue oval platter, $295, tabulatua.com; and Taste Blue Candlestick bowl, $50: tabulatua.com. Reed & Barton flatware. Festival dinner napkins (similar to those shown), $55 for four, sferra.com. Pottery Barn water goblets. Bess wineglasses, $55 each, williamyeowardcrystal.com for stores.