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How to Design a Plate Wall

I’ve had a sad wall in my dining room for a while. It’s a big wall with virtually nothing on it. I moved a lone picture there but it really didn’t fit the space. The other large wall in my dining room is styled with art from Carrie Schmitt and my daughter. It’s a busy space with my floral chairs at the moment, so it didn’t make sense to have a blank wall.

After complaining to my stylist, she gave me the idea to put my dishes on the wall (you know I’ve got a dish hoarding issue, right?); I jumped at the idea. For a while now I had been mesmerized by this plate wall designed by April at Barn Home Living on Instagram. Every time it came up on my feed I would just gush over it. Her wall became my inspiration, and so, I reached out to April for tips on hanging the plates and cups.

Photo by April Hershberger

On my trip to Maine at the beginning of the month, I went dish hunting at various antique stores. I found so many affordable plates ($4-8), that I brought them home in my suitcase knowing I would use them. Here’s a few of them, and trust me, I could have brought home so many more.

I have a lot of dishes, so coming up with enough dishes for my plate wall was not a problem. It barely put a dent in my cabinet stash.

I started small one evening, and then began to add plate by plate until it looked right to me. Some are antique dishes and others are newer. I especially love the dishes from Kim Parker with the beautiful florals on them at the bottom of this picture below.

I started on one side and finished before styling the other one. Little by little I added more until I felt the design was complete. And trust me, I put plenty of holes in my wall until I had the right look. I was a little unsure how all the floral dishes would look together, but as I worked on it, I liked how it was turning out.

And finally, I painted the frame of my picture so that it would blend better with the dishes. I’m really happy with how it turned out. I found tea cups to hang in the little nooks along with the plates.

There were plates I didn’t end up using because they didn’t look as good. You have to try combinations together to know if they will work or not.

I’m all about mixing the old and the new together and here’s another example of that. The framed collage painting is from an antique shop here in Austin. And some dishes are new, others are antiques. It’s the combination that makes it interesting to me.

When you need another idea for wall art, look no further than your own kitchen cabinets. Creating a plate wall might be the answer for you, too. The possibilities are endless.

Wendy Conklin

I'm Wendy Conklin, The Chair Stylist.

What brings me joy is helping others live more creatively. I design antique-inspired, boutique chairs, and I teach others how to do what I do. Check out my shop, services, and courses to bring more whimsy into your home and life!

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