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Buying dishware is tricky. All too often, we rush into buying a set of dishes to avoid living off takeout eaten off paper plates—or decide on dishes that are all one color. If you’re looking to spice up your dinner table (or are moving into a place with glass kitchen cabinets!), you’ve come to the right place. Here are 16 tips to mull over before you start your mismatched journey.

same pattern, different colors

If you prefer uniformity, buy dishes that have the same pattern in different colors.

muted minimalism

If color isn’t your thing, mix and match muted pastels, neutrals, and metals.

opt for wood

No matter what mix you’re going for, wood boards for chopping and serving are a necessity.

gradients are good

Fan of the ombre trend? Take it one step further and buy a complete set of dishes in all different colors. We love the rainbow spectrum pictured here.

stick with one color family

This is a cool way to blend a bunch of different patterns and designs together without your collection looking too all over the place. This collection of blue dishes is the perfect example.

collect at random

The first rule of collecting the perfect mismatched dish collection: There are NO rules! Buy whatever design, color, size, and shaped dishes you desire.

hybrid designs

Seletti makes these amazing dishes that feature two split prints. Two prints for the price of one!

same dish, different colors

Buy the same style of dish, but in a variety of colors. They’ll layer well and look alike without being exactly the same.

mix a solid with a design

Stackable dishes are the perfect opportunity to accent a patterned dish with a solid color. Bonus: You’ll have a built-in collection of solid-colored dishes if you’re feeling more of a classic table setting.

don’t be color shy

Your dishes will shine in the summer and cheer you up in the winter months.

envision the stack

Whether you buy your dishes all at once or are building off of a current collection, visualize what different shapes, colors, and designs will look like stacked on top of one another.

go subtle

These white dishes with varying textured patterns make for a great—yet subtle—mix.

let your glassware do the talking

If you’re not ready to mix and match your dishes, play with your glassware and opt for a color instead of clear.

stick to two colors

Black and white is chic and a great go-to if you prefer that minimal, modern vibe. Dare to go bold and play with primary and bright colors if you’re looking to make more of a statement.

buy one-offs

If you choose to go the antiquing route, you probably won’t find the exact number of dishes you’re looking for. Don’t be afraid to buy a single dish or an amount that doesn’t match your current collection. The extreme mismatched nature of your dishware will come with memories, stories, and result in a super fun look.

not ready to take the mismatched plunge?

There are so many other ways to bring color and personality into your tablescape. Simply add accessories like napkins, place settings, table cloths, and centerpieces.