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For most, choosing dinnerware is a necessity for those setting up a first apartment or a nicety associated with getting married. Bridal registries allow the dream of the fancy, as well as the aspirational everyday setup for Food & Wine-type menus or takeout, with all the coordinating elements for stellar entertaining.

But so much about tabletop has changed, particularly in the last decade. And it’s not just that so many choices have made it dizzying to narrow down, but lifestyle shifts are influencing the way we set the table.

“There’s a casualization,” says D.J. Carey, an editorial director for Connecticut Cottages and Living. “The latest research shows there is great interest in food and health. More people are enjoying preparing food at home. Kitchens, in general, are getting larger in square footage, often taking [space] from the dining room. These large open plans include areas to entertain.

“Table settings are more relaxed — a mix of everyday china with formal pieces, fun collectibles used as a centerpiece. Glassware follows suit with crystal wine glasses sitting comfortably alongside everyday water glasses. And shapes are being mixed — square plates stacked on circular. There is more whimsy, more fun — and it’s more comfortable and easy to create. Best yet, color is everywhere on the table.”

See Saturday’s Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for more.

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