Setting the Spring Table: Leafy, Flowery Dishes

The onset of spring weather always makes me want to pack up my plain white dishes and break out plates adorned with petals. A botanical print plate can set the tone for a dinner party or picnic all on its own, with very little other decoration needed. We've gathered up some favorites and compiled a few tips for using them in a spring tablescape.

A few things to keep in mind when you're setting a table with these ornate designs:

• Keep linens simple and possibly neutral in order to allow the pattern of the dishes to stand beautifully on its own.

• Consider a white or other solid-color charger plate to create a "frame" for the pattern.

• A monochromatic flower arrangement in white or green pairs elegantly with botanical prints without competing for attention.

• Think about avoiding "extras" like salad and dessert forks, bread plates, and so on, which, when combined with a bold-patterned plate, are likely to make the table feel cramped or cluttered.

Some of our favorites on both ends of the price spectrum are pictured above. From left to right:

1 This lovely photo from Elle Decor shows the Jardin des Orchidées presentation plate from Hermes. Available from China Royale.

2 Raynaud Verdures dinnerware, designed by the amazing Parisian florist Christian Tortu. (This was our wedding china! We use it every day.) Available at Gracious Style.

3 Another one from Elle Decor features a Vera Wang by Wedgwood Floral Leaf dinner plate and a Kate Spade Gardner Street salad plate. Love the mix-and-match look!

4 For the look of china on the cheap, try these fun tin picnic plates from Mottahedeh.

5 Anthropologie's always good for some not-too-expensive floral-pattern dishes. The bright watercolor motif of these Verdant plates would look lovely on natural linen placemats.

(Images: Elle Decor/Sang An; Gracious Style; Elle Decor/Sang An; Mottahedeh; Anthropologie)