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This Affordable Old/New Decor Trend Is Probably Hiding Inside Your House

I had a bunch of different ideas about how I wanted to decorate my beloved turret window. I wanted something fun but not over the top, architecturally appropriate but still cool. One of the ideas (based on seeing it popping up more and more on my many feeds) was decorative wall plates! Of course the ones I was looking at were over $100 a pop because even with “a trend” that is primed to be SO AFFORDABLE, I have a gift (or curse) of still making it expensive. But y’all it doesn’t have to be! And it can bring a ton of personality and life into your space no matter your style. There’s a reason variations of this look have been around forever. Let’s get into it…

It’s Affordable! (If You Want It To Be)

design by ayse archer-coité | photo by francesco lagnese | via elle decor

Let’s talk about why it can be almost ridiculously affordable. First, you might have some beautiful old plates hiding on a top shelf of a cupboard, in an attic or basement, or even in your garage or family storage unit. It doesn’t get more affordable than FREE. The only thing you will probably need to buy (if you aren’t just leaning them again the wall) are plate hangers. I love the idea of this one because it basically puts a hanger on the back of your plate. No visible wires! But a classic plate hanger is also great. To each their own. In the photo above it looks like designer Ayse Archer-Coité used both types so there really are no rules.

design by melissa cattaneo fontaine and monica stewart of the misfit house | photo by kristin karch | via domino

But maybe you’re like, “Jess, I simply can’t put one more hole into my wall.” To that, I have a very easy solution…the plate stand. Look how great and simple that plate looks in the shelving nook. I love how it ties in the greens and beiges of the space. Plus it adds the perfect amount of pattern! If you need a couple of stand recs, I really like this brass one and this iron one.

design by lucy williams | photo by chris horwood | via house and garden

Hold on. We need to talk more about the affordability. If you’ve ever been to a flea market or thrift store you know there are almost an infinite amount of great looking plates. It will likely take some digging but the deals you can score are priceless.

Now to be fair I don’t know if the plates in the photo above are vintage but they make this kitchen look so much more interesting, layered, and inviting. It’s got some soul, baby.

photo by sara ligorria-tramp | from: working with what you’ve got – an $8k budget kitchen makeover with a lot of vintage charm

While we LOVE vintage plates, buying new ones that might better fit your style is still a great option because there are so many affordable plates in bigger box stores too. Again, these small plates in this laundry room could easily be vintage but for the sake of my argument (and the fact that they look more on the modern side), newer-looking plates can also have a ton of fun visual impact. I now can’t imagine this room without them.

A Great Way To Display Family Heirlooms

design by emmy ellison | photo by jones crow | via clever

Okay, so not only is it the most affordable option to go searching through unused family heirloom dinnerware, but displaying them adds such a special and meaningly element to your home. Aren’t the best homes filled with storied pieces??

I know that the tricky part can be finding heirlooms that work with your style. I know I don’t have a lot of those pieces. But if you have wedding china that you are too afraid to use but love, get a few pieces out and throw it up on your wall! Or for easier access, lean some on a shelf.

The moral of the story with this trend is to look at what you have first, then go shopping. We obviously recommend thrifting or buying from artists first:)

Unexpected Placement – Mix It Up!

design by alvin wayne | photo by nick glimenakis | via clever

One very fun thing about this “trend” is that the possibilities are endless when it comes to placement and configurations. As shown above, in Alvin Wayne’s dining nook, he used those great modern plates and hung them in a diamond shape (which is no surprise given that this man is an absolute gem:)). Oh, and notice the variation in plate sizes for more dimension. Unexpected/3-D art, people!

design by sophie rowell | photo by yuki sugiura | via domino

Ah, I love a little off-centered quirk! This baby gallery wall moment is so sweet but also kinda breaks some design rules which is why it’s so great.

design, photo, and styling by helma bongenaar | via remodelista

Now, this collection over the door is likely a set given how the white borders on the plates align. But you definitely don’t need a perfectly matching collection to create something this cool. I love the rectangle layout and the difference in plate size and shapes. Point being you can have fun with your plate configurations.

Can Add Humor And Whimsy To Any Room

design by lucy williams | photo by chris horwood | via house and garden

For me, this is my favorite part of this trend and what makes it “new” again. Traditionally, I am VERY particular about typography in art. Look, if you have a “live, laugh, love” sign in your home or something of the sort, that is TOTALLY fine. Personally, I go for typography that’s a bit more ironic or humorous. I want to say “edgy” but that sounds extremely obnoxious…but it’s not not true… In the photo above, I love the simplicity of the two red-rimmed plates side by side next to the sink. Also, that plate location is awesome. These ones aren’t particularly “ironic or humorous” but they are simple and not “too cute” if you know what I mean.

design by leila sanderson and tony espie | styling by annie portelli | photo by caitlin mills | via the design files

Now, the middle plate on the right above the door is right up my typography alley. It looks like a beautiful blue patterned plate but then you take a second look and it says, “FUCK YEAH” in the center. I think the real trick with plates and typography is for them to look cool they need to also look handmade/painted. But that’s my preference:)

design by jacques grange | photo by stephan julliard | via elle decor

I promise that I’m not advocating exclusively for you to display curse words on your plates! I also think that wonderful florals, animals, fun faces, etc are perfect for adding whimsy to an otherwise minimal or traditional style home. I love how the plates in the photo above not only add color and dimension but add a ton of playfulness (well maybe the roosters are in first place but they are a close second).

design by rita konig | photo by miguel flores-vianna | via architectural digest

By no means would I consider this room “too traditional”. But hold up your finger to take those two plates out…not as fun right?? They just add that final touch of “I don’t take myself too seriously” that I really think is wonderful.

Adds Color, Pattern, Shape, And Dimension

design by melissa cattaneo fontaine and monica stewart of the misfit house | photo by kristin karch | via domino

If you thought you could get through an EHD post that didn’t talk about the importance of color, pattern, shape, and dimension (or texture), I hate to tell you that you were wrong. It’s just SO important! And honestly, plates are an easy-breezy way to add all of those elements to your room. Look at that sweet pop of green and pattern on that vintage plate. It’s another type of art that helps to keep things visually interesting.

And give me a break with how creative this plate display is! It brings your eye up and adds a ton of color and dimension that isn’t at eye level which doesn’t make it too overwhelming. It’s just fun. This border-style display was the one that I was considering the most in my turret above the moulding. Who knows maybe I’ll throw a plate or two up there for the final final reveal:)

An Awesome Collection Looks Awesome

design by roman and williams and romanek design studio | styled by colin king | photo by yoshihiro makino | via architectural digest

There is A LOT of visual power in collections. See this home tour for further proof. So if you love the idea of wall plates, consider really going for it! As shown in Gwyneth Paltrow’s stunning kitchen, the impact of all those blue and white plates is incredible.

This is also a great way to display a full set of family heirloom dinnerware or even wedding china! This way you can choose to use them only on special occasions but enjoy looking at them every day. How wonderful is Louise Roe‘s collection above??

design by jean-philippe demeyer | photo by miguel flores-vianna | via architectural digest

Ok so this one is a small collection but I am nearly obsessed with those large handpainted platters on the self. Well actually I’m obsessed with this whole kitchen but I digress. This kitchen really toes the line between modern and cozy traditional. I think that’s why it’s so visually stimulating. But having those colorful, playful plates (and other dinnerware) really helps to balance the modern lines/elements and makes it a kitchen I desperately want to be in! Are you “team display plates” yet??

Well if you are here are some of my favorites that I found online! But please don’t sleep on a thrift store, your wallet will thank you:)

1. Blossom Hand-Painted Ceramic Fruit Plate | 2. Bird Watching Platter | 3. Ceramic Cabbage Charger | 4. Elokuun Varjot Plate | 5. August Wren Dinner Plate | 6. Neptune’s Voyage Vide Poche Plate | 7. Casa Nuno Blue and White Dinner Plate (set of 2) | 8. For You Plate | 9. Reese Side Plate | 10. Hand-Painted Italian Campagna Plate | 11. Large Ceramic Plate | 12. Floral and Gold Dish | 13. Decorative Plate | 14. Haveli Dessert Plate | 15. Ceramic Dessert Plate

So thoughts? How many of you have plates on your walls or shelves? Big collections displayed? Any funny ones? Are you now considering playing with placement? Do you even like this idea? Let’s talk!

Opening Image Credits: Design by Lucy Williams | Photo by Chris Horwood | via House and Garden

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Jess L.
5 months ago

I like it! Great idea; thanks for sharing. It was always such a shame to see those old beautiful dinnerware collections collecting dust at antique shops. I’ll be scouring my local antique store for some vintage plates next time I’m there. I have a big old house in need of art, and a very limited budget these days. This is perfect.

P.s. great content this week, I’ve been really enjoying it.

aaaaaaaaaaagggggggggghhhhhh! Yes, I love this trend. Honestly, the best places to find some amazing plates is an estate sale. I’ve been to so many where the owner has some gorgeous plates displayed and/or has an amazing collection of beautiful plates for a fraction of the price (duh, because it’s an estate sale). this is such a fun and easy way to add some art and color and decor to a room. anthro has great plates for this purpose. also, thank you for linking those plate holders!!!!!!!!!!!!! i love the idea of the stick on one from container store. i’m totally grabbing some of those. and i love the brass and iron ones you linked. need. want. ALSO. i LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE when you post these eye candy posts. the ayse archer-coité is a fun one i haven’t seen before. so so good. i love that lucy williams one, that’s a new one too, and as soon as i saw that lead picture, i knew this was going to be a good post. the allison pierce home shots are ALWAYS a favorite of mine. i’ve seen it so many times, but every time you guys post it again, i get… Read more »

🥰 Rusty
5 months ago

LOL, Lovely! So you like this, huh? xx

Reply to  🥰 Rusty

you know it! 🙂

Reply to  Jess Bunge

Oh good! i’m glad someone enjoys them 🙂

Paula
5 months ago

Be sure to follow instructions CAREFULLY for those stick-on plate hangers. If not done correctly, the bond can fail, and your plate will fall! Voice of experience here.

Reply to  Paula

oh lord. glad you told me that!

🥰 Rusty
5 months ago
Reply to  Paula

Yup, same. I had a plate crash and break as a result in a previous house.

Paula
5 months ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

Sisters in chard-it-tude!

Lindsay
5 months ago

Yes!! Plates are like round paintings, or even sculpture! –And such a perfect way to remember a trip if you find one in a vintage shop. I love them on shelves as an alternative to an empty vase, or the rectangular shape of a painting. I still have hoarded collections of talavera and majolica in my attic from when we used to live in an old spanish style house–you are inspiring me to see how I can revive them in our modern house, or maybe find a bold modern platter in a thrift store to hang amongst other art on a gallery wall. My 2 cents would be, don’t buy new. Part of the fun of this is scouring thrift, vintage and antique shops. There are so many beautiful platters out there–make it a scavenger hunt! Find something that speaks to art you already own, or, as in one of your examples, speaks perfectly to the colors in the wallpaper or furniture. Love it!

Becca C
5 months ago

As per usual, this post is full of EXCELLENT and INSPIRING imagery. Thanks for all the hard work that goes into a single post!

Meg
5 months ago

My parents have been doing this for ages and I’ve always stolen this idea and hung plates in all of my rentals. BUT those buggers need regular dusting!! Especially when they hang in the kitchen near the stove they develop a layer of grime that needs to be regularly washed off. Now that I’m a mom of two kids and have my own home, I don’t have time for the upkeep. But great idea!

AzureSongLA
5 months ago
Reply to  Meg

At least they are easier to clean than framed art in a kitchen. 🙂

Lisa H
5 months ago
Reply to  Meg

I don’t have any wall plates now , but used to. The great thing is that you can usually just run them through the dishwasher!

Gretchen
5 months ago

Great post! I have a few of my mom’s old Blue Willow plates on display on a high shelf and they make me so happy.

Cris S.
5 months ago

Yes! This is my jam!!!! Traditional but with a twist and so much fun – Thank you Jess! Also, you should check out Calamityware for what looks like traditional blue and white ware, but with a subversive and hilarious twist (Calamityware.com). Watch out for the robots! British designer Kit Kemp (whom you’ve covered here before, I believe) has a bright take on platters as design in several of the restaurants and homes she’s designed. Often the platters are framed in acrylic – you can see some examples here: https://kitkemp.com/creating-a-collection/ . She loves working with bright colors and crazy patterns so she’s a great tutor on how to incorporate wall plates/platters without being stuffy. Check her design books out from the library or go through her website for a taste. I finally found a wall plate hanger on Etsy large enough and sturdy enough for my 20 pound very large antique Old Paris Porcelain platter (neither of the two options you listed could have stood up to the challenge). Look for the Icanhangit shop from MA on Etsy (https://www.etsy.com/shop/Icanhangit) – the xlnarge adjustable wall display hanger finally got it out of storage and on to a wall. Just be sure, if… Read more »

Deborah
5 months ago
Reply to  Cris S.

I love Calamityware!
Glad you posted the link Chris S, my Calmityware favorites have the pterodactyl or flying saucer flying over the landscape, and the robots are so cool too! 🙂

Reply to  Cris S.

GREAT tips!

Paula
5 months ago
Reply to  Cris S.

Love the Calamityware. So awesome!

Michelle
5 months ago
Reply to  Cris S.

My Calamityware mugs are a highlight in my kitchen!!! LOL. So clever and funny while looking traditional.

Amy Elizabeth Jones
5 months ago
Roberta Davis
5 months ago

Some great inspirations! I have quite a few plates and they are on plate stands, but I’ve thought about doing a huge display of some beautiful china I have. I love that sticker for plate hanging!

🥰 Rusty
5 months ago

What a lovely post!
Eye candy, funky-cool concepts. Thanks, Jess! 🤗

I have plate rails built all the way around my dining room and living room.
In the living room, I lean art up there, plus some of my hand-made/thrown pottery.
In the dining room, it’s by-and-large wrap-around rails full of Carlton Ware (very old flower and leaf design dishes.)

When I eventually move from here some day, I want to keep most of the collection because it’s from my mum and a lady I lived next door to when I was at uni (she bequeathed it to me). I’ve thought of hanging it in a circular form, sort of like china, 3D wallpaper…presuming my next home has a big blank wall.

I love the look of the rectangular, Helma Bongenaar plate display, but don’t think I could ever bring myself to paint parts of gorgeous plates to create a straightline like that. Eee.!
Blues n whites get me every time (I have a small collection).

Reply to  🥰 Rusty

ooooh, now i want to have plate ledges all over my house! i need to make this happen!

Lindsay
5 months ago
Reply to  🥰 Rusty

Love it! Plate rails all the way around?Awesome! Go BIg or Go home!

Suzanne
5 months ago

I really love this! I’ve been going for a twist in this theme that I’ve also seen around a lot lately, copper platters and molds. I’m picking them up slowly at flea markets, antique shows and shops, sticking with affordable (under $40, but hopefully, under $10 each). I’m not sure how it will turn out yet, but I’m excited to try. I love plates, too, and one of my friends collected tole painted trays to create a display in her bedroom. They are an affordable way to add some color, art, and some vintage depth to a room.

Suzanne
5 months ago

Also, I pinned all the holders to buy when I’m ready to complete my display. Thank you, in particular, for finding the stick on one’s. Container Store is so often a place to find clever things like that.

Sheila
5 months ago

A reminder for those who live in earthquake country…or hoards of rowdy kids running through the house…use museum putty or gel to secure any leaning plates to the shelf or wall. Not just plates, any fragile items can be saved with this simple precaution. I sadly lost a bunch of my grandmother’s blue transfer ware in the Northridge quake. I don’t regret displaying them – they looked gorgeous in an antique hutch – but wish I’d known to secure them better.

J.
5 months ago
Reply to  Sheila

A good reminder. We live in earthquake country, too, and everything is puttied in place–I even use it for things hanging on walls for extra securityi! Stuff is awesome!!

Cris S.
5 months ago

Hi! I posted a comment earlier today and I think it’s still being held for approval. Is that because I included several links within it? Just wondering. Thank you!

J.
5 months ago

This is great!! We have a pretty large and varied collection of pottery plates we’ve collected from Mexico over the years I’ve been wanting to use but thought might be too cheesy and “old fashioned”. This gave me new ideas. And the “FU” plate I found hilarious! We have a cute poster by a pretty well known artist from the Carribean that is really, really “bad”, but my husband’s family finds it amusing and my family–who would be offended–do not understand his native language. We love it. Thanks for these ideas!

Amy
5 months ago

I have used vintage plates as wall decor ever since I have owned my first house. I have a love of shabby chic which kind of competes with my newer calm, restrained decor in our current house. So I indulge by using the vintage hand-painted floral plates, tea cup and saucer sets, and vintage French ceramics in my “she shed” which is decidedly girly! Hunting the antiques stores and yard sales is so much fun!!

Paula
5 months ago

I already have incorporated plates into my home design. I have plates of all kinds — Fornasetti Themes & Variations plates in the area around my bathroom vanity because the color scheme is mostly black&white; antique majolica; art pottery plates; antique transferware butter pats (so cute!); etc. I really like to include more 3-D objects in my gallery walls. Plates are a great way to get this look.

jen
5 months ago

I’ve got some blue and white plates up in my kitchen that are a mix of vintage, anthropologie and gifted. They really create these beautiful visual moments and add so much soul to an otherwise blank wall. I’ve seen lots of blue and white pottery at Home Goods/TJ Maxx-you could easily recreate something akin to GP’s collection in her kitchen. I am very inspired to add some plates in other rooms in quirky arrangements now too! 🙂

Lesley
5 months ago

I love plates on the wall! We have a high mantel over the fireplace in our 1924 bungalow. I found an awesome round antique mirror but it looked awkward with so much space on either side. Then I fell in love with a pair of 1930s saucers that look like the top view of a flower (Victoria Crown china in “Jonquil” pattern). I centered them in the spaces on either side of the mirror (like the antique sconces some old houses have). I love it! It is simple but interesting. We get lots of compliments on the arrangement.

Kj
5 months ago
Reply to  Lesley
JB
5 months ago

Lot’s of great inspiration here. I would add, though, that authentic Fornasetti anything isn’t going to be dead cheap. The most inexpensive single Fornasetti plate on their website will set you back ~$180.

Christa
5 months ago

I have such bad memories of visiting old dusty houses with commemorative plates on the walls – it’s a no for me, but enjoy!

Kelly Griglione
5 months ago
Reply to  Christa

Me too! I’ve always thought having a plate on a wall was such a weird thing. Like, would you put a cup there? A fork? To be fair, there are very beautiful plates that I wouldn’t mind looking at. But Franklin Mint items that were marketed as “collectible” and never will be have ruined this look for me. Interestingly, I don’t have any problem with a plate on a shelf leaning against the wall. Then it looks like you may actually use it for a plate, and it’s purposeful. But a plate made specifically for hanging on a wall is a big turnoff.

Kelly
5 months ago

Why not? I inherited an odd but beautiful collection of silverware from my grandmother. I hung some pieces In interesting arrangements in shadow boxes in the dining room. The look is surprisingly modern.

Lynn W
5 months ago

Love this look…whether it’s old vintage, family heirlooms or some gorgeous hand thrown pottery!!

Deb
5 months ago

I found those great rubber plate hangers on my first trip to London back in the eighties. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with them but I bought about four and they were about $3 each as the dollar was very strong.
They were absolutely great. I hung the same plates in the next two houses. Later in the late nineties I found the same great hangers at Restoration Hardware and some wonderful plates on sale at Pottery Barn. Those plates hung over my four kitchen windows for twenty years.
They are almost like a shallow bowl and I now use them for pasta salad and fruit as my newest kitchen has only one lonely window. I am happy to know where I can get those hangers again and am going to have my sister look for just the right plates at yard sales . Nautical themes will be what I wish for as my house is mostly decorated in coastal art.
Thanks for all of your research on this trend.

Mary C
5 months ago

The animal plates on the border are from West Elm, they have a couple new ones every year. They are hanging in my kitchen too!

Joy
5 months ago

I live in an earthquake-prone area so I feel nervous just looking at all those plates hanging and leaning against the wall! If I lived in another part of the country though I’d definitely add a few to my kitchen.

priscilla
5 months ago

Ebay is my go-to for plates.

5 months ago

Great idea! I am definitely in some need of some new plates. I guess I know what I will be doing this weekend now! Haha

Nina
5 months ago

The “fuck yeah” plate is AWESOME! I kind of want one now… The artist is Lucas Grogan, by the way 🙂

Michelle
5 months ago

I have an array of plates/saucers hanging in my kitchen. Most are gifts from loved ones. I really LOVE my calamityware platter. It looks like a traditional pattern, but a closer look reveals dinosaurs all over. They also have robots and UFOs, etc. super fun and whimsical.

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