Design 101: Mixing High and Low

You often hear in fashion magazines about the benefits of mixing “high and low” with high meaning expensive, designer pieces and low meaning everything else.  It’s a good practice because it keeps the total cost of your outfit lower and also ensures that you have an interesting mix of pieces rather then looking like you stepped out of the pages of a specific brand’s catalog.

Mixing high and low also applies to home decor.  I use second-hand pieces bought at a thrift store alongside collector’s items when setting my dining table.  But which is which?  A-ha…that’s the great part about it! Many times the “low” pieces look just as good as the “high” pieces.  All three of the platters were purchased for a couple of dollars at a Goodwill.  Two of them happen to be crystal.  The white pieces are original mid-century ceramic pieces by well-known designers Eva Zeisel, Ben Seibel and Russel Wright.  But all of the pieces “play well” together and make my table look more interesting than if I just used clear glass or just used white ceramic.


One other tip: I like to use only clear glass and white ceramic on my table because I feel like it allows the colors of the food and flowers to really be the stars of the table.  Also, by using color or material as your unifying factor, it allows you to play with the shape, pattern and texture.  All 6 of the pieces in my picture are by different designers/companies, but they have a cohesive look on my table because they all share a neutral color scheme.  Even though the 3 clear platters have different patterns, they still “go” together because they are unified by color and material.  It’s also very economical to use clear and white for tableware because you can easily find pieces to fill-in when something breaks (which they eventually will!) Have fun setting your tables!


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