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Decorating Ideas with Plates

June 30 2010

China or pottery plates are not only fun to collect, they make beautiful displays that give individuality to your home. Whether you collect souvenir plates that reflect your travels, or you are saving your grandmother’s china pattern, or you enjoy certain styles and periods such as Majolica, your plate collection can be showcased in a number of ways. 

Decorate your walls

A beautiful plate is a piece of art. Grouped with similar or other favorite collectibles, plates can make a wonderful statement.  In a kitchen where grease, soot, and smoke accumulate over time, you certainly don’t want to hang an oil painting that could get damaged.  Plates need only be wiped off or washed periodically.

In a kitchen, the fir down (usually about a foot tall) above your cabinets can be a great place to show off a plate collection.  Colors can complement or contrast with your cabinets, wall colors and countertops.  You can hang plates of similar size straight across or vary the heights to draw the eye in a wave. 

Plates that feature red colors, for instance, can be a great accent instead of painting a wall red.  Plates of a similar color or of a similar type reinforce your kitchen’s design elements. 

A fun trend that adds interest to any kitchen is open shelving, which allows you to display plates in racks.

For a larger wall in the dining room, plates can be grouped together in a variety of patterns.  They can also circle a painting or a mirror, or they can be hung in pairs or stand alone.  Depending upon the plates’ designs and colors, you can conjure a Country French, English cottage, Tuscan, American heartland, or contemporary feel in any room.  

Decorate your table

A dining table looks lonely without a centerpiece, whether the table is being used or not.  Use a beautiful plate in the center of the table to hold fruit or colored glass balls.  Small salad plates can be decorative candle holders.

When you are setting your table, you don’t have to match all the plates.  A less formal approach is to mix and match your plates in layers.  Stack a charger of one color, add a dinner plate of another color or pattern, and even add a salad plate in a third design. 

Many china and pottery manufacturers are offering chic alternate coordinating pieces that accent the basic pattern.  A unifying element such as color, style, or design should keep the table fashionable instead of flea market. 

Decorate your furniture

China cabinets are a traditional way to display plates.  Arrange your collection to accent the beauty of the color and pattern.  Mix in other tabletop pieces that enhance the look, such as vases, candle holders, stacks of napkins, and napkin holders. 

A china cabinet doesn’t have to be stuffy.  Create some whimsy by draping colored beads across a stack of plates.  During holidays, decorate your cabinets with seasonal fun items such as ornaments, dolls, and candy canes.

Emphasize your architecture and décor

If you have architecturally interesting details such as arches, niches, and moldings, plates are a great way to emphasize the design.

Plates tell a story – where you have traveled, your family’s past, and your sense of romance.  The story can unfold over an archway, inside an art niche, or grouped along moldings. You can choose what motif, color, or pattern speaks to you and accents your home design.

If you like plates, but don’t have favorite plates to display, consider plate motif wallpaper.  It will look just as warm as a carefully preserved collection.