Displaying Decorative Plates on a Plate Rack

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Do you have a beautiful plate collection that is hidden away? Say you don’t know the best way for displaying decorative plates? 

blue plate rack with blue and white dishes and tips for how to decorate a plate display rack with your favorite items Pin

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I think a great way to showcase them is in a plate display rack. In this post, I’ll show you just how to do that. We’ll look at the benefits of a plate rack, supplies you may need and exactly how to get the best look for your dishes.

My plate rack has become the star of the show in my breakfast room. It isn’t just a glorified plate stand; it’s a true focal point. 

I love that it’s also visible from the living room and reinforces my overall new traditional decorating style.

This is how I decorated the plate rack last spring and how the area looks with a sideboard that I relocated from the dining room.

white sideboard with blue plate rack above filled with spring dishes and greeneryPin

It sets the stage for the decor in the rest of the room. I love that it allows me to rotate my ever-growing collection of, decorative plates, antique plates, dinner plates and some other small accents that would otherwise stay holed up in my dish closet.

On a side note – how do you know you’re a dish lover, you ask? It’s when you’re shopping with your daughter and she rolls her eyes and gives you a really hard time about buying the fabulous plates you just found.

Evidently, she’s peeked in my overflowing dish closet. Oops. It’s a good thing she doesn’t know about my other hiding spots!

how to decorate a plate display rack with dishes from this dish closetPin

So, like a good mom, I patiently explained to her that dishes are like pillows – you can never have too many, especially if they’re well priced. Sometimes I just can’t help myself.

But back to the task at hand—displaying my decorative dishes on the plate rack. This isn’t a mere matter of stacking dishes; it’s an art form.

It’s about showcasing your favorite plates, and making sure that your fine china and salad plates are appreciated daily, not just on special occasions

What exactly is a plate rack?

This may seem obvious, but simply put, it’s a rack to put plates on.

But it’s so more than just a place for displaying decorative plates.

It’s a showplace for your decorative dinnerware – a home for everything from small bowls to candles in decorative containers. 

blue plate rack with blue and white dishes and tips for how to decorate a plate display rack with your favorite itemsPin

Not to mention, it’s a perfect stage for your most cherished plates. And if your rack is deep enough, you can layer plates, platters, or decorative trays behind one another.

There are many types of plate racks to suit every need—countertop versions for your standing plate holders, storage racks for cabinets, and the ever-so-popular wall-mounted plate racks that are perfect for small spaces and create a focal point on a blank wall.

TIP: To create a more interesting display, layer items to add depth and different textures, if your plate rack is deep enough.  

blue plate rack with blue and white dishes and tips for how to decorate a plate display rack with your favorite itemsPin

Today we’ll be talking about how to decorate a wall-mounted plate display rack.

The Benefits of a Plate Display Rack

A plate rack isn’t only about aesthetics; it has practical perks too:

  • It’s an elegant way to showcase decorative plates.
  • It saves valuable space in cabinets and closets.
  • A wall-mounted plate rack is perfect for small spaces.
  • It acts as a piece of wall art, adding character to any room.
  • It allows for seasonal and holiday changes and for rotating different collections.
  • It can be a good place to store everyday use dishes for easy access.
  • They are versatile and capable of displaying more than just plates, including accent pieces, decorative trays, and even fine china in different sizes.
blue plate rack with blue and white dishes and tips for how to decorate a plate display rack with your favorite itemsPin

When I replaced the open shelves in my breakfast room, I was left with a big blank wall to fill. The plate rack was a great addition to the room and totally transformed it!

By using similar colors as the rest of my breakfast room, it really does look like a work of art.

side by side image of wall withopen shelves and wall with decorated plate rackPin

ARE PLATE RACKS IN STYLE?

Are Plate Racks Still in Style?

You bet they are! Plate racks are timeless, and their functionality and aesthetic appeal are unmatched. 

You can find a style to seamlessly fit in with your personal style of home decor, whether you are drawn to the traditional elegance of a china cabinet or prefer the sleek lines of a contemporary space.

blue plate rack with blue and white dishes and tips for how to decorate a plate display rack with your favorite itemsPin

For those who need a visual feast of ideas, take a glance at my Plate Rack Pinterest board. It’s brimming with different styles of plate racks and inspiration for styling them!

With their current popularity, you can find a plate rack for every budget, from thrift store finds to custom-made creations on Etsy.

You can even have one custom made for a very affordable price, which my daughter recently ordered from this Etsy shop.

Where to purchase a plate rack?

I’ll be honest. Pretty wooden plate racks for a wall aren’t found just everywhere. Most of what you find in the retail world are metal racks that only hold a few plates.

There’s certainly nothing wrong with those at all. They are a very affordable way to display multiple plates on a wall without going to the trouble of creating a gallery wall.

But when I purchased mine, I was looking for one that would be like a work of art for my breakfast nook. I found exactly what I was looking for on Charish for about half of the retail price. 

I found one more on Charish that is several hundred dollars less than if purchased new. It could easily be painted any color that you would like.

If you would rather purchase brand new, I found the best price on the exact same one HERE and it comes in multiple colors.

However; if you don’t want to spend quite that much, you’ll find a wide variety of styles, sizes, and colors by searching at consignment/antique stores, at thrift stores, on Etsy, on Facebook Marketplace, or on Ebay.

TIP: Plate racks are easy to paint a custom color!

How to Decorate a Wall-Mounted Plate Rack

There are a few essential supplies that you may want to have on hand for mounting and decorating:

  • Hammer and nails or screws.
  • Command Velcro Strips for anchoring plates without the need for spring-style hangers.
  • Museum putty for ensuring round items like bowls stay put. I use this one.
  • Plate display stands for adding layers and height.
  • Wall anchors to secure it to the wall (if you aren’t able to hit a stud in the wall).

A word of caution – be very careful using adhesive discs on the back of a plate. I know many people have good success with them, but I haven’t.

STEP 1: After you’ve mounted the plate rack to the wall, gather your decorating supplies.

TIP: To make the display look its best, I recommend using items that work with the style and color scheme of the room where the rack will be located.

For the starting point, I wanted to use plates and other objects that would work with this gorgeous fabric that the new look for my breakfast room is centered around. I’ll be using it for diy draperies and pillows.

Update: I wound up ordering these curtains instead. You can see the full reveal of the breakfast room makeover HERE.

Image of P Kaufman Finders Keepers fabric in French bluePin

I already have lots of dishes in those colors, so I felt sure that I wouldn’t have to buy anything. I raided my dish closet to see what I could find.

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But once I placed them on the rack, I didn’t care for the overall look. It just wasn’t what I was going for.

blue plate rack with blue and white dishes and tips for how to decorate a plate display rack with your favorite itemsPin

They were okay, but in my heart, I knew that I wanted to use something that was fun and had a bit of whimsy to it without looking silly, if you know what I mean.

So I went on the hunt.

Inspiration finally struck when I stumbled across this adorable tray in HomeGoods. I mean, how caauute is this? The colors are perfect, but it’s the monkeys for me!

blue plate rack with blue and white dishes and tips for how to decorate a plate display rack with your favorite itemsPin

I won’t even go into the story about the extremely deep rabbit hole that I went down searching for more pieces of this pattern. Ugh.

BUT – if you love this pattern too, you can find more of it HERE. The dinner plates with the blue rim, the salad plates with the palm trees, the small bowls, and the small pitchers are all from the Pip Studio La Marjorelle Blue pattern. Look at the detail!

It ships from a store in Denmark, but I’ve ordered from them several times. The shipping rate is a flat $17.95 (as of the time of this post), I received my order in about one week and everything that I’ve ordered from them was packaged very, very well. Check out the entire store HERE. They have so many wonderful things!

STEP 2: Stage a dry run. Mix and match your items on a table, experimenting with different arrangements until you find the perfect composition.

It’s kind of the same idea as laying out frames for a gallery wall before actually hanging them.

blue plate rack with blue and white dishes and tips for how to decorate a plate display rack with your favorite itemsPin

Use plates, larger platters, and decorative objects of varying sizes so that you don’t wind up with rows of straight lines going across the tops of the plates.

It was much easier to “play” with the arrangement on my table versus the aggravation of adding or taking away things from the plate rack repeatedly. It’s also how I discovered that none of the plates I already own would work well together.

STEP 3: Time to actually add items to the rack!

Start by placing the largest items on the shelves first. These items will serve as the background for layering behind smaller pieces and can also help to fill spots where you may have too much blank space.

You can find these exact melamine dinner plates that are trimmed with green HERE, the salad plates HERE, and the octagonal appetizer plates HERE.

blue plate rack with blue and white dishes and tips for how to decorate a plate display rack with your favorite itemsPin

Even though I already had the pieces that I wanted to use, this really helped me finalize the design that I wanted and showed me where I still had holes or places where things didn’t fit or look quite right.

STEP 4: If your plate rack is deep enough to layer, add smaller dishes in front of the larger ones.

You can see that without placing larger dishes in the back, the display looks flat and too empty.

blue plate rack with blue and white dishes and tips for how to decorate a plate display rack with your favorite itemsPin

Big difference – right?

STEP 5: Add your accent pieces – those special pieces that you want to make sure are seen.

I wanted the cutey-patootey monkey platter, that gave me all the inspiration, to be front and center. But it was too small by itself on the shelf where I wanted to put it.

To solve the problem and to help the accent platter pop, I simply placed a larger, plain white platter behind it. 

blue plate rack with blue and white dishes and tips for how to decorate a plate display rack with your favorite itemsPin

TIP: Command Velcro Strips are the perfect solution for keeping layered plates together

Of course, where you add your accent pieces will depend upon the design of your plate rack. Mine has cubbies on the sides of the horizontal shelves, which are a great spot to display smaller pieces.

blue plate rack with blue and white dishes and tips for how to decorate a plate display rack with your favorite itemsPin

That’s really all there is to it! It certainly isn’t rocket science, but I still hope that having these tips will help you with yours.

blue plate rack with blue and white dishes and tips for how to decorate a plate display rack with your favorite itemsPin

Since I’ve hung the plate rack, I’ve already redecorated it numerous times and have been having so much fun displaying my decorating plates and accessories!

Take a look at a few of the other displays that I’ve come up with.

4 Examples of how to display decorative dishes on a plate rack for different holidays and seasonsPin
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13 Comments

  1. Gorgeous! No I think that I need a plate rack.

  2. Leandra Snow says:

    Love the plate rack! I’m a BIG fan of dishes & such. I’m thinking a cute monkey salt & pepper set would also look so cute!

    1. Oooh – I LOVE that idea! I’ll have to keep my eye out for the perfect set.

  3. Absolutely, positively one of the prettiest things I’ve seen lately. I’m a plate lover, too.

    1. Oh goodness – thank you!!

  4. Oh boy you have me wishing I hadn’t given away my moms plate rack years back. This looks SO good, the color is perfect, did you paint it? The 1st iteration w/what you had on hand was pleasant but adding the monkeys makes it sing. ❤️ Fall looks nice too. Looking forward to Christmas plate rack and your new draperies.

    1. Thank you so much! No, I didn’t paint it, but you easily could. I have given away SO many things that I regret now. I’m glad you like the monkeys too!

  5. What a beautiful display rack! Thanks for sharing this.

    Kelly

  6. Teri L Offield says:

    I am glad to see someone else who loves dishes. I live alone and go to the kids for holidays, but I have 498 sets of plates. Ha ha not really but it seems like it. I love your blog and your plate rack.

  7. I love dishes so much, it makes my heart sing to see all your lovelies and how gorgeously you display them. Can’t wait to see your Christmas arrangement and the total new look for the dining area.

  8. Always love reading your posts and seeing your beautiful decorating. Thank you for the peek into your enviable dish closet! So inspiring and uplifting to all of us dish-lovers

  9. You do this so well. I always enjoy seeing what you do with this every season!