I have written in an earlier post that one of my goals for a room and house is to balance gravitas with light and bright. That post is here.
Another tension to resolve is between harmonious and eclectic. If a room is too matched, the effect is sterile, brittle, and flat. If a room is too eclectic - if nothing matches and too many styles are represented - the effect is unsettling and distracting.
As a result, I have matching club chairs, for example, but not a dining room set. Bookshelves are a perfect example of this approach, where almost any combination of books reconciles variety and alignment.
Dishes are a nice place to put this approach to practice. When the right balance is struck, family and friends don't even think about it.
Portmeirion for me is a great base for dishes, with an emphasis on the pattern Botanic Garden. I love both the pure white background and, having dabbled with perennials, the botanic drawings with both the Latin names as well as the common names.
The various other Portmeirion dishes have other natural patterns that are both harmonious among themselves and provide a perfect backdrop for many other dishes as well. Two examples:
Birds of Britain