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Tips & Tricks for a Vintage-Inspired, Missoni Designer & Colorful TableScape {Look 2}

I’m no Rachel Zoe, but I could do her job. Con mis ojos cerrados –with my eyes closed (a very Cuban saying, if you’re wondering). If you watch her show on Bravo TV, ‘The Rachel Zoe Project’, then you’ve probably seen the iconic zigzag pattern, strategically placed throughout her lavish rented home in L.A.

She’s made no secret of having an obsession with Missoni, the famous knitwear designer, first made popular in the 70s. Traditionally only seen on the rich, famous, and stylish, Missoni has recently introduced its high ticket priced items to the general American shopping market with a genius collaboration with Target, or Tarjay as I like to call it.

Why the plug? Well, I kind lost of my mind, became an enraged (in the mildest form) women, exhibited all of the classic symptoms of an OCD madwoman and bought approximately 80% of the one-time-only collection that made headlines in Yahoo, The NYT, Huffington Post, The Washington Post and other national media outlets.

It was pure mayhem.

The collection, officially labeled “Missoni for Target” included 400-something pieces which extended beyond their famed zigzag knitwear hoodies, toss pillows, throws and shoes.

If you’re into fashion and design, then there was no escaping the “NEED” to own every piece of the house and dinnerware collection. Yes, I’m into clothes. Major. But, when I saw the espresso set, nesting bowls and stoneware platters, I was in la-la land like I’ve never been before when it comes to pieces for my dining room and entertaining artillery.

I was vexed. initially.  It turned more into an obsession. Had to have it all. And had help in multiple states.

Not only were the pieces of more-than-decent quality (though made in China and not Italy), colorful and true to its original design (for the most part), they were affordable. And, if you know me, you know I’m all about the thrifty find.

Designer duds at 70% of what a “Made in Italy” tag would cost me?? Yes, count me in!

Beyond a desire to experience the thrill of hunting for elusive items like the aforementioned espresso set (which I first debuted on the live CNN cooking segment) and 3-piece nesting bowls, I thought it’d be appropriate for a gal like me to don some fashionable pieces when entertaining at home.

I already have a ridiculous amount of goodies to display, but nothing so flamboyant, vibrant and mix-matchy—the complete antithesis of my last table setting theme.

For this 2nd look I set up, I went all out with color. I wanted it to be playful but still have some cohesiveness. I stopped short of going OCD on myself and didn’t allow for the entire table to be Missoni for Tarjay designed. Instead, I used the more notable pieces (sans the espresso set) and built a tablescape around those.

That was the main trick here: Let the heavily-patterned pieces do the talking but off-set them with solid colors and smooth textures.


Vintage-inspired, colorful, and sophisticated.


Choosing a color palette.  Pick colors that defined a time era, in this case the 70s, hence the yellows, oranges, greens and blues for this one.

Designer at Discount. Obviously, this will require a bit of homework. But not much. Sites like Rue La La, Joss & Main, HauteLook, Ideeli and GiltGroupe all have fabulous flash sales where designer wares are offered at ridiculously low prices. Missoni was recently featured on GILT and yes, I scooped up a pair of $700 shoes for …. yeah, that little ;). Sign up for the sites you like and hawk the sales featuring housegoods. Surefire way to score some timeless pieces.

Knowing what you’re serving. This will help cut down time in searching for pieces and being very selective on what you need. The nesting bowls are perfect for big, robust foods like beans, rice, stews, etc… that’s if I’m going for a family-style dinner. If I were doing a more relaxed menu, they’d be great for rosemary popcorn, tons of candy, muffins, etc… The martini glasses were also incorporated because no party is all the way way without a libation or two. These Missoni ones were the steal of the collection! Gorgeous, solid crystal and etched with the zigzag design. You don’t even want to know what I went through to own 24. ¡Si, veinticuatro!

Layering.  Take patterned pieces and intermix them with solid colored pieces, placing in between the dishes. This adds dimension and height but also breaks that disco-effect that could potentially drive you dizzy.

Complementing the table with flowers. For this look, I could have gone with sunflowers, but I thought it’d be too cliché, so the pink roses and lillies did the job. Thanks to Kara from Village Green Flowers, the arrangements were set in mini orange vases that complimented the main colors and really set an ambient tone. Major flower power!

Using DIY to add texture and dimension. I have gold bricks all over my place that double as paper weights, exercise weights and Christmas décor. They were perfect for adding height the to the floral vases in center of the table.

Mix-match the settings. Similar to the 1st Look, I took liberty and had fun with switching up salad plates, bowls and demitasse sets for each of the four settings, but in a less contrived way. The point was to give everyone something different, add some serious whimsy, but still stay within the collective theme. It worked!

{Bargain Buying: Hit up stores like TJ MaxxMarhsalls and Target (of course) for super cute single entertaining pieces and full sets at a fraction of the cost. Most TJ Maxx’s are coupled with a HomeGoods department where they offer designer and brand name items at deep discounts. No reason to ever pay full-price. Be okay with buying one season behind. Who’s really going to know anyway!?} In this case, I bought textured glass plates in all kinds of colors in sets of 4-6, which is how they’re packaged. It’s normally a better deal that way vs. buying individual plates.

This look was a bit pricier than the 1st Look, but for a designer look, the end result was a true bargain and super fly steal!

Missoni for Target: 

Stoneware nesting bowls s/3: $30

Stoneware zigzag platter: $25

3-piece stoneware appetizer set: $10 (on clearance)

Martini glasses, s/4: $20

Salad plates, s/4: $14

Appetizer plates, s/4: $10

Cereal bowl, s/4: $14

Colorful napkins, s/4 at World Market: $2/ea.

Colorful demitasse, s/5 at World Market: $10

Textured salad plates, s/4 at TJ Maxx: $6

Yellow and green handpainted dish, local Goodwill: $.99

Spray painted bricks: $2 for paint

“Peace” and “Love” accent stones $1 at Michaels

Flowers: 2 arrangements c/o Village Green Flowers; Estimated at $15/each

Total Cost: $147 (not including flowers)!! I’m a happy gal and can’t wait to set up this very look next time I have friends over for a more relaxed, fun, throwback party! Throw on some Marvin Gaye, Joni Mitchell and rock some platforms with wide legged jeans! 

A super stylish and chic look accomplished for a lot less than you could have imagined!

If in Atlanta, visit Village Green Flowers  to order fabulous arrangements for any occasion. 770.435.9393

Eat well, love unapologetically, pray with true intention, and take care of yourself.

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Don't forget to check out my debut cookbook!

103 thoughts on “Tips & Tricks for a Vintage-Inspired, Missoni Designer & Colorful TableScape {Look 2}

  1. Eliana: thanks, woman. It was a fun look to put together! It will be that much more fun eating from it all!

    Pieces of Anarnia: Thanks, thanks! Very doable for sure. I was frugal and didn’t suffer from buyers’ remorse for spending a few hundred dollars on dinnerware, entertaining pieces and serveware that are designer!

    Rosa: Thanks! Is it too bright for yoU!?! 😉

    Comiendo en LA: thanks!

  2. Looks fabulous, B! Right up your fashionable ally. I like your budget, too. And having seen the entire collection, I like that you didn’t use everything.

  3. muy muy bello .si me gusto la blanca esta me gusta mas .los colores son vivos y alegres felicidades tienes mucho talento y sobre todo muy original gracias por compartir con nosotros tus bellas ideas

  4. Michele R: Thanks. Yeah, I wanted to highlight the staple pieces though as you know there are so many lovely ones not even pictured! Doesn’t it all making eating so much more fun!?!

    Itzel: Thanks for visiting and enjoying it! I’m glad I successfully reflected my style.

    DuoDishes: No doubt!

    Nicky: Thanks. Glad you like, too! Seems to be a hit!

    Magic of Spice: Thanks, thanks. No overboard crazy here! 😉

    Mami: Verdad que esta bonito todo… se que te gusta las tazas de café, pero no los enseñe esta vez… la proxima…

    Missy: hey baby… glad you like it honey. your mami probably thinks it’s too much color! lol. I bet you cookie monster would like it.

  5. While as a typical man I’m not really into this kind of fashion (you know, Misonni and the like), I can appreciate your distinct, exquisite flair to adorn and decorate anything with great style and perfection. I’ve always said it: you can cook a mean rabo encendido al molcajete and present it to your readers in an amazingly attractive way, but your true gift and calling is not cooking but, first and foremost, fashion; you can be a star stylish to the stars, and second, entertaining. Think about it! Great piece.

  6. You know I love white plates but I also love mixing and layering pieces like you. I read not sure where that the trend for 2012 was to mix and layer dinnerware pieces. So you are setting the trend for all of us. The table looks absolutely fabulous. Good job Bren!

  7. muy bella mesa. todo precioso. me encantan los colores que usa! de veras te felicito por ser tan original y creativa! 🙂

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