Back when dinosaurs roamed the earth, we registered for china, crystal and silver when we got married. Have you noticed that doesn’t happen any more? Nobody registers for the stuff any more. What’s going on? Should we get rid of it all?
Okay, as you probably know many millennials just don’t seem so interested in these heirloom pieces, but don’t go throw everything away! Oh no, I have good news for you. There’s still a place at the table for all these goodies. You can still use china, crystal and silver. We use our silver a lot for meals and some people use it every day. I have my tea with a silver spoon every morning.
The silver spoons are much thinner than stainless steel spoons. If I accidentally pick up a stainless steel spoon, I can tell because it feels bulky and heavy. If you are looking to buy a silver-plate spoon you can find one pretty cheaply on eBay or etsy.
And here’s the even better news, you can use these items as decor in your home. How? Let me count the ways.
silver pitchers make great vases
gravy boats can be used to force bulbs
empty silver pitchers are lovely with no flowers
silver champagne buckets can display boxwood balls
crystal is beautiful displayed on shelves
plates shine when stored in a plate rack
display silverware in an ironstone water pitcher
stack platters for a casual look
store pitchers and tureens in glass front cabinets
Silver, crystal and china are gorgeous! If you don’t display them, then how about using them for meals? Make an everyday meal special by using your fancy plates and things.
How do you like to use crystal, china and silver?
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I have always had a weakness for beautiful dishes. My love affair with silver is more recent. Surrounding myself with these lovely things grounds me and turns my home into a refuge from the world.
Love all of your ideas Anita! As a “new” designer, I’ve already implemented many of these uses :). If your on the same page, I must be on the right track!
Kim C says
I love using pieces like these for all kinds of decorating all around my home! My daughters also love the heirloom silver, china, and crystal (early 1900s) that they inherited from their grandmother’s estate and they display these in china cabinets as well as elsewhere around their homes. There is still appreciation for these gorgeous items! I have had fantastic success finding incredible silver pieces at thrift stores due to so many folks “unloading” it for lack of interest. It’s their loss and my joyful gain!
Anita, went to Scotts Antique Market in Atlanta a while back and took a picture of a complete silver tea set. Each piece was filled with a different planted herb. It was stunning and I never would have thought to do it. I have glassed door cabinets around the top of my kitchen cabinets to the ceiling. Each cabinet contains displayed silver. Better than binding behind closed doors.
Love your Blog.
Love old plates and old, lightly tarnished silver. No sense in hiding pretty things.
Deborah Milo says
I can’t thank you enough for the podcast on how to use silver and china. I have several pieces that were handed down to me by my mother and I love to use them. They are especially beautiful at the holidays as they bring grace and beauty as an addition to my decor.
Thanks again for providing such good advice on how to make a beautiful home.
That is fabulous news Deborah!
Marsha Melonakos says
I am just starting to collect some silver pieces. Thx for the great display ideas.
Candy C says
Love beautiful dishes and really need to get some silver pieces. Thanks for sharing.
It slays me that young people do not know what “sterling” or “limoge” etc. If it needs polishing, forget it. I love all my “found” pieces in thrift shops, and antique stores. I use them to decorate just like you. They add a special “lushness” that new store decor cannot add. Thank you, Anita.
We also love and collect china, silver, and glassware. You will find it scattered throughout my home decor as accent pieces, vases, hutch fillers, etc. I especially LOVE to grab a piece to take out to my gardens when I collect cut flowers…..never fails to receive oohs and awws!
Love your ideas!
Great ideas! I use everything, the best linen, the best china (of which I have more set than I will admit here) crystal, silver etc. I save nothing. I collected these items to enjoy them and although most family (men) don’t understand the passion I feel that one must add some elegance to every day life. Not formal gowns and tails at dinner but certainly a respect for the meal provided and the opportunity to discuss lives and plans. No electronics at the table…ever.
Deborah Miles says
Loved the photos & information. I use my silver everyday & China, plus I use some of my jadite collection. I live in Granbury outside of Fort Worth, where on the bayou did you & your daughter go? The photo looked like a nice place.
Love your ideas for using silver pitchers and gravy boats.
Maison De Jardin by Sandra says
Anita: Love this post,and goodness did it hit home. I was born with a china gene, inherited from my mom and grandmother. My first clue that many of the younger folks were not born with this gene was when we sold my mother- in- law’s home. She had a lovely, service for 8 and every serving piece imaginable, of really pretty vintage china. It was the type of pattern that would work with a variety of linens. We priced it to go, as our home is bursting with china. At her estate sale, we did not have one person ask about it or make an offer. To make matters worse, I offered to give it to the young couple that purchased the home – she said, “No Thanks, when we have gatherings, we eat on paper plates.” I was shocked. I do hope this trend will reverse itself.
Love your ideas for using different pieces. I try to use our pretty things as often as possible. This post has reminded me that my mom’s silver tea service needs polishing.
Thank you again!
Paper plates, no!!!!
Linda Plemons says
Love the No Paper Plates. I never buy them or paper napkins. Always use cloth napkins. Your display of Crystal and Sterling is simply beautiful. On another matter. Love your kitchen counter barstools. Would
it be possible to have
source where to purchase. I saw your beautiful home in Country French Magazine.
M Damen says
I love Corrine’s comment that “silver and nice dishes add elegance to everyday life.” I love looking on my counter at my vase full of silver spoons that I have collected at estate sales and antique shops. It is so much “elegance” for such a little money. As mentioned before you can find so many nice and unique silver pieces at such a reasonable price because people are “unloading” it. Thank you for all the suggestions for use and please keep them coming!
Jackie B says
I too love using a ironstone sugar bowl filled with silverware. About 5 years ago I found a complete set of engraved silverware with the beginning letter of our last name for 9.00!
Deborah McReynolds says
My lovely daughter, Caitlin, registered for china and crystal for her October 2014 wedding. Friends said they loved that a young woman registered and she received everything. I think people were refreshed to see a lovely registry.
She will be inheriting her grandmothers china that I have so when she picked her china pattern, she said she wanted it to compliment “Grammy’s” china when she adds it to her china cabinet.
I use my china, crystal and silverware for all holidays, showers, girlfriend parties etc. My mother always said if she could she would have 7 different sets of china so she could use a different set everyday. I guess we got our love of a pretty table from her.
Elizabeth Logan says
Thanks Anita for the inspiration. I have my Mother’s wedding china and my Mother-in-law’s silverware along with her silver coffee service. I need to dig that service set out of storage and find a way to display it. I’m old enough to love these items but I can see that my daugher-in-law probably will not cherish them like I do so I might as well use them! If I live long enough maybe one of my Granddaughters will love them. 🙂
I have lived in Europe since 1974—we love the “elegant” things of life. I have faithfully collected & carried around the world things a lot of Americans think of as foolish—but I am grounded by them. My grandmother in law came from Sweden & I inherited a lot of her stuff—I am holding on to it also—and fine crystal from Prague & Budapest from the days when it was reasonably priced. The only problem is the silver has to be cleaned once in a while & that takes a few days! Love finding out how others use this good stuff.
Paper plates are for funerals. Where is the class in that?
I inherited all of my mother’s beautiful cut glass pieces, because my sisters didn’t want any of them. They said their children wouldn’t want them. I am hoping that is not the case with my daughters! In the meantime, I have them beautifully displayed with my red and white transfer-ware dishes that came from my grandmother. When I look at that cabinet, I can’t help but think of those two beautiful ladies and all the wonderful times we had using those pieces as a family.
I’m surprised that you said millennials aren’t registering for crystal, china, and silver. Our daughter, one of her cousins, and two of her friends were all married in 2014. Three of the four couples registered for all of these beautiful things. Our daughter and her fiancé registered for the crystal and china, but not the silver since I have inherited four generations worth of silver flatware, serving pieces, and trays, etc. When they get back from a job assignment, they will be making their choices from the pieces I have as they decided they really didn’t see any new silver that they liked. She will also have access to many pieces of inherited linen of all types.
I can’t imagine being without any of these lovely things in a home as they make even the most causal dinner feel even more special and according to our friends, make guests feel extra special because we went to the “trouble” of using them.
My grandmother used to store her pretty things–lingerie, linens, pretty dishes in drawers or closed cabinets where none of it was seen or used. She always had the idea that it was too nice to use and she put it safely away–saving it…for what??? After her funeral, I learned that we are worth using the best and prettiest nice things–that each of us deserve their beauty and pleasure right now! Right now, because every day is a special occasion and we are special enough to enjoy them. I love my pretties and have them out to be seen and used joyfully….
I don’t have any silver but I really do enjoy the few platters that I have and I love, love, love crystal. I have a few pitchers and I collect sugar and creamers. I agree with you that these items are all beautiful. Millennials don’t know what they are missing – HA!
Julie B. says
Thanks for the post and ideas, Anita. I have a question… I have a very small place (400sf) and my living space is even smaller (200sf). My style is very similar to Yvonne’s, but I’m not sure she is going to post about this. 🙂
I have two sets of my wedding china (never recv’d more than the two, and never felt inclined to purchase more). I have only used them once, and I’m no longer married. Any ideas how I could implement these in my decor? It’s a Noritake pattern from 1987. 🙂
Love your ideas and tips. I use my’s maybe 2-3 times a year. Wish life was not so busy that we could slow down, sat the table and use these items throughout the year. Nice post, thanks!
BETTY ASHTON says
Your kitchen is big beautiful and I love it. You are brave to have all the see they glass! That is a true commitment to keeping everything neat and tidy. I love it. I’m very excited to be entered in the February giveaway!
Marcy Leonard says
I so love china–had two great aunts who ran the china and silver departments at Hertzberg’s in San Antonio. When I was 5, I tried to sell my baby brother for a quarter and a Lennox teacup.
I have a beautiful sterling service for 8 of “Sir Christopher”, inherited from my grandmother, plus a large number of serving dishes both sterling and silverplate. I love your ideas for using them both in traditional and whimsical ways. Do any of you have suggestions for a good, EASY-to-use silver polish? We used Johnson’s Glasswax for years, but I can’t find it now.
Julie ann says
I have a serious weakness for all China, crystal, glassware and more recently, silver. I love all your photos and suggestions for using all these things in daily life!
Kitsy Keel-Smith says
I so agree with you, my silver, crystal and china are so precious to me because they were my mothers. I use them often and my granddaughter (age 20) says please not to leave my silver to her. One day she may change her mind. Love your blog and read it daily, so inspiring.
I also love to collect, display, and use China, crystal, and silver!! My husband loves it too.
Denise Culbertson says
I have a weakness for Crystal… I LOVE IT !!!
Inspiring post, Anita. My 3 sets of China, two that were inherited, are stored in those quilted protectors with zippers and not easily accessible. This post has me thinking how to display some of the pieces. Perhaps displaying the large platters as part of the centerpiece on my dining room table? They could be used as a tray with silver serving pieces on them. Hmmm, I like that idea! I could change them out seasonally, too! They could be used on the coffee table, too!
I absolutely love heirloom pieces. We received some silver from my husband’s side of the family — including wedding chalices with the initials of his great great grandparents engraved on them. I LOVE your ideas of how to use them with plants! Would make me so much happier than just storing them away until Thanksgiving.
Christina Maze says
Just admire the way you show how to incorporate heirloom (and here in the south, most always family pieces handed down) into a faster paced world. I love displaying my few pieces. Reminds me to slow down and enjoy!
As always, thanks for all the inspiration!
I love, love, love pretty things but unfortunately does not. I decorated our master bath “pretty and fancy” with lace curtains and floral urns. I also used my crystal perfume bottles. This makes me happy. No one else needs to like it. I am also a china fanatic so I mix pretty serving pieces in with more casual table settings and everyone enjoys it. Young marrieds today don’t want
China and silver because you can’t put them in the dishwasher
Beth Pozzini Putz says
Ever since I’ve been following you, Anita, I have suddenly become addicted to collecting new pieces of china, silver, ironstone, etc. i have a set of china that I’ve used maybe 10 times at best since I’ve been married. I love it, but I don’t love caring for it, pulling it out, putting it away. I have many sets of dishes, and most recently, I’ve acquired a set of Sweet Olive in white. I love the look of them, but they are not antique, nor are they great quality (they don’t make them like they used to), so more realistically, those will just be for show?I also found out that my silverplate pattern that my husband and I registered for, but did not receive any, has a stainless counterpart. I WANT THEM! But I’m going to have to get rid of something, and convince him we NEED those…LOL. Happy entertaining!!!❤
Teresa Anthony says
It’s a shame that many, both young and old, have lost an appreciation for fine china, crystal and silver. Even those who profess not to care for it always seem to feel “special”. When they come to my house for a meal and it is all elegantly incorporated into a beautiful tablescapes. I, too, like displaying things in unusual ways. Silver teapots and pretty teacups can make beautiful planters for a few spring flowers. Silver champagne buckets are beautiful at the holidays filled with poinsettias. There are endless possibilities. I love mixing the old with the new!
Where did you get the China holder or if you built it do you have the plans? I have been wanting to display mine, (down sized house so no china cabinet ☹️). I have several sets and they would look great displayed on end of cabinets (perfect place!) but I would like plans or to order this one!! I have been looking at Pinterest forever to find the perfect display design and I have finally found it!!!
Dawn, if you are talking about the plate rack on my wall, I do not have any plans for that. I had my carpenter make it when we built our house.
Love all of your ideas Anita! This question is a little off subject. My question is did you use Agreeable Gray throughout your home in Houston? It looks amazing!
Yes Nancy, my entire home is done in Agreeable gray! I still love it. It’s really more of a putty, so it doesn’t look harsh or too gray at all.