There are two good ideas I took away from this story, the first, obvious tip being to mix old and new. But another way to freshen things up is to mix patterns - both ideas are happening in this picture, as interior designer Jennifer Rowland Clapp puts finishing touches to her table.
Another great idea Clapp incorporates is using linens sparingly - an absence of fine threads makes the setting more casual. The touches of fabric she does use bring her floral chintzes down-to-earth with more serious, subdued colors. I particularly like the mix above with a slate grey bordering on brown.
Another shot of her simple-does-it table. Lining up food, condiments, and decoration on felt rounds in the center replaces the traditional table runner and keeps things from becoming too formal. Kate Spade offers some chic, modern pieces that would mix well with vintage items (left hand) and old standby Crate and Barrel has a variety of linens in sooty shades (right hand). If you want to more closely imitate Clapp's style, just pull the felt rounds out from between your stored china and line them up on the table. Modern AND free!
Finally, if you have a lot of modern pieces, and would like to try this in reverse by adding in some vintage feel, hit up Etsy, your local flea market, or just saunter over to the queen of new-old stuff: Anthropologie (all items above).
All images, companies and magazine as attributed above.