This ain’t your mother’s china pattern: Where can we find offbeat china?

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I got married about a month ago and ever since, my mom has been insistent on buying us china. But my husband and I can’t agree on what type. I want something nice and elegant while my husband (who is a chef) wants something modern and not traditionally shaped (so anything but circles).


I really don’t mind so long as we find something nice, but all the modern plates I find are a bit boring. Do you know of some companies that have offbeat china sets? -Stevie

Stevie! I’m so glad you asked this question, as I JUST had an epiphany about how amazing china is after breaking yet ANOTHER one of my (cheaper) ceramic dinner plates while washing it. (Yup, I work out.) That’s when I sat down at my computer and ordered more of my nice wedding china plates — those babies are TOUGH, sexy, and, as far as I’m concerned, worth every penny. I decided to never mess with anything but.

Yes, I, Offbeat Bride’s Megan Finley, did something as traditional as register for china. But I went for a simple and modern pattern that matches all my funky home decor! So you’ve come to the right person to help you out.

One (yes, one) of my china patterns was New Wave Acapulco from Villeroy & Boch. I say “one of my china patterns” because, unlike your hubs, I’m not-so-much into the square dinner plates. But I AM a fan of their squared-off bowls, serving platters, and that rocking casserole dish.

But if this pattern is too loud, New Wave also comes in white AND with a fancy platinum accent.

I accented that New Wave Acapulco with Villeroy & Boch‘s Dune Lines Collection. Aside from the fact that it has a beach-y look (and name) I love that each plate has different striations, so it’s simple without being a snooze-fest. AND it’s a pretty great compromise for those who want round and not-round dishes.

But your hubs wants “anything but circles” so how about Villeroy & Boch‘s Urban Nature collection. Check out that top plate aka the “fruit bridge”!

Charter Club’s Platinum Silhouette Square Collection is accented with the coolest silver wildflowers! That’s what I’m talkin’ about — floral patterned china that doesn’t make me wanna barf.

Mikasa’s Autumn Frost set is an eclectic blend of softly squared and round shapes, with a fun blue nature-inspired pattern.

The Mikasa Cameo Platinum Square Collection is basic yet outstanding with its platinum border.

Now I’m throwing out a round-y for the anti-square crowd. I have been a fan of Lennox’s Chirp Collection for a while now. No worries, it also comes in a square pattern. Plus, there’s a red option. Ooh ahh.

Oh holy crap, I just discovered Villeroy & Boch‘s Flow collection, and now I’m sad that I didn’t register for THESE dishes. Every single item in this collection blows my mind, from the plates with the cool peek, these insane salad bowls with handles, and this plate on plate action. BLARG, I love this!

Of course, you can always take your time and mix and match china patterns over time. Or register for different patterns at the same time and mix and match THAT way.

Now it’s your turn. Homies, what are YOUR go-tos for funky china and tableware?

Comments on This ain’t your mother’s china pattern: Where can we find offbeat china?

  1. Ee are saving up to buy Herend porcelain. My grandma had some growing up, and I loved it. It is expensive, but it’s not traditional from a US perspective. Some of the patterns have a new kitsch feel. You can see them at It is made in Hungary and has been around for over 150 years.

  2. I found that I didn’t like most china patterns, so I went with all-white round dinnerware. I decided I’d prefer spicing things up with place mats, chargers, napkins, serve ware, or by splicing in a random set of funky soup bowls. The fact that its white will also make it easy to expand or replace pieces with patterned pieces or just similar white dinnerware, since I don’t have to match any existing pattern.

    • You can also have fun with the “all-white” theme by mixing up shapes. Like you can serve your guests dessert on white plates that are all different shapes and see if anyone notices. I have vintage green-striped restaurant ware for dishes, and I’ve noticed that the teacups came in several different shapes. Originally I tried to just collect one shape until I realized it would be more fun to serve tea to people in different shaped, matching cups.

  3. I agonized over finding the right china because I wanted something funky but also classic. Then I found and fell in love with the Rosenthal A La Carte line. Of course the two patterns I loved and the two patterns my husband loved were not the same. But the beauty of the A La Carte is that you can mix the different patterns together. So we have half Scoop (for me) and half Tatami for my hubs. We use these for our every day dishes and they set a beautiful table.

  4. We registered for Denby’s Jet in a variety of patterns. We didn’t get a ton but I’ve since picked up some pieces here and there when it goes on sale. The best thing is that it goes together but isn’t matchy and as Denby rotates colours and patterns through we can mix and match but still have things feel similar. That way we aren’t locked in to a single pattern which we would then have to hunt down when it goes out of production. Plus it’s primarily black and grey which makes my dude happy and it is sturdy enough that I’m not breaking or chipping it all the time, unlike my cheap plates and bowls.

  5. Pffft, I am too clumsy to own china. Corelle all the way! (Which does break, however, if it, say, gets really cold in the fridge and you drop it on the floor. Um, just sayin’.)

    My boyfriend and I have “Simple Lines”, which goes with everything and I think they’re going to make for like, forever. But a few months ago I saw the “Twilight Grove” pattern and thought it looked pretty nice, and I was bummed for a minute. Then I thought, “Eh, fuck it”, and bought two dinner plates that are now the plates I use for putting cookies and cakes on when I bake. Since we have two, (and there’s two of us) I could use them for dinner too if I wanted. So I don’t have to stress about how maybe one day they’ll have something amazeballs and I’ll be disappointed in what I have. They’re cheap enough I can always just snag a couple of plates.

  6. If you’re looking for something colourful and offbeat, Finnish design might be your cup of tea. For instance, china by companies such as Arabia or Iittala is eye-catching and fun. I myself have three Iittala Taika 13.5 oz mugs, Arabia Apila coffee set, and two of the Arabia KoKo Roses mugs (two latter ones apparently are not sold at the Finnish Design web store, boooo.) The products are durable and high quality. They last from mother to daughter.

    Check them out at:

    PS. I just love this site! Me and my fiance are planning a very offbeat Christmas-pallooza wedding. Since offbeat weddings are still quite rare in Finland, we’ve gotten a few raised eyebrows when we’ve revealed bits of our wedding plans. I’m not worried though, they’re going to love the party when they see it. 😉

  7. I’m getting my grandmother’s fine china, which I’m super excited about even though it’s pink and girly and nothing like me. It’s just special, you know?

    So, for our everyday china I went with Fiesta cobalt blue for the standard plates and bowls, and we’re mixing it with Ten Thousand Villages blue and white china. They have mugs and serveware that pretty much match the cobalt fiestaware.

    I love hearing about everyone’s choices in china! I feel so southern!

  8. my fiance and i just registered for fiesta ware! i am so excited for all the bright colored dishes and to mix and match with vintage fiestaware pieces.

  9. My fiance and I are registering for the “Eat Your Heart Out” dinnerware by Etsy artisan, Foldedpigs: It’s not china, but restaurant ware that has been screenprinted and re-fired. I don’t think the MIL approves but honestly at this point in our lives we have no place to store china, much less a reason to use it. If we ever end up being that couple who host dinner parties and holidays in their fancy home (which I doubt) we can always buy some then.

  10. The irony of this post is the Acapulco china actually *is* my mother’s china. Note: you can order round plates through the V&B website. The original pattern from the 60’s was for round plates.

  11. We registered for plates but doubt we’ll get them.

    But, when I met the FH, we discovered he had about 8 of the old Johnson Bros Coaching plates hidden up in his cabinet, left over from his grandparents.

    It was funny cuz MY gm had the entire dish set and left it in a box in the attic for me when ‘I got older’, but forgot and left them in her attic when she moved.

    If we don’t get the dishes we registered for, I’m completing this set off of eBay.

  12. I know a couple who registered for offbeat china in a different way. They went to the regular china place and asked for one place setting from each pattern! The staff were really confused by that, but the ended up with a fabulous collection of eclectic dishes. Very bohemian.

  13. Chirp is what we registered for… I love the colors, it lends itself so well to a colorful kitchen. Be warned, though, the square ones are more expensive than the round!

  14. I had the hardest time finding china to register for! I originally had Target’s “Jade Moon”, which I bought for myself out of college (post college splurge), but since then so many of my roommates had dropped scratched, threw away (yes, seriously) so many of them, I thought we should pick a different (which kind of breaks my heart- I loved jade moon!).

    I had the HARDEST time finding dinnerware that wasn’t, in my opinion, stuffy or boring. I almost got chirp, but in the end I decided it was too plain. I ended up with this:
    I found that almost everything that I ended up liking was American Atelier; I even bought matching sugar and flour canisters. I also just loved (and so did my guests- this is what they overwhelmingly bought me) the Simply Designz servingware from BB&B. I asked for pretty much everything in turquoise.

  15. For offbeat china options I definitely recommend checking out local clay artists and potters. Handmade dishes always have a unique style to them.

    When we got married we registered for traditional china and my mother, who is a potter, made us dishes as our wedding gift. We ended up not getting of the china we registered for, and a friend have us some really nice everyday dishes so my mum’s dishes became our china. And they are fantastic.

    When it’s been fired, porcelain clay is similar in quality to machine made china, if a little thicker, and handmade items always have a unique feel to them. There is also a wide variety when it comes to colour, texture, and shape. Most pottery is made on the wheel which makes non-circular dishes less of an option. But if the dishes were made using a slab building method there is a lot more variability. My mum uses the slab method and the plates she made for us are square. Also, some clay artists may be willing to work with you to find something that suits your tastes within the limitations of their craft. Different types of clay, building methods, and glazing methods, create a huge amount of variety.

    If you’re in the New England area feel free to check out my mum’s work. She lives and works in Vermont under the name Peregrino Art. (

  16. I am a non-traditional, but vintage loving girl who loves to throw dinner parties. When I started thinking about wanting fancy china, I wanted something classic but also unique. I now have a beautiful collection of vintage plates that I’ve picked up one at a time from yard sales, flea markets, charity shops, and my great-grandmother’s home. The fact that they’re mismatched adds a little funk and mad hatter tea party feel to the traditional patterns.

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