Plate display ideas - how to turn crockery into a work of art

Plates aren't just for the table. Make the most of beautiful designs by adorning your walls and dressers

Why keep your favourite tableware hidden in a cupboard when you can put it on show? Decorative plates are perfect for making a statement at a dinner party, but they are so much more – they are the perfect decoration to add interest to kitchen walls and hallways. We've rounded up some of our favourite plate display ideas to make your crockery work twice as hard in your home.

For more wall decor ideas read Kitchen wall decor ideas – easy and affordable ways to style your space

How do you display china plates?

When deciding how to display plates you first need to decide how often you plan to use them, or if they are purely decorative. Wall mounting plates can look incredible, however this is not something you'll want to do with plates you plan to use every now and again.

Wall mounts and groupings are best saved for statement plates that look like works of art. Group them together in the kitchen or a living room for a unique twist on a gallery wall.

For plates you plan to use try displaying them on plinths or in traditional dressers that can be reached easily, and won't leave a gaping hole for guests to gawp at when you take them down. When displaying plates in a dresser, mix and match the colours and designs to avoid a display that appears stuffy and old fashioned.

To avoid a Linda Barker teapot disaster, ensure your shelves are study and any wall hangings are fixed securely before displaying your plates.

Plate display ideas

1. Group plates together

green wall with sideboard

(Image credit: Future PLC/Adrian Briscoe)

Whether it's a triangle, square or circle, a shaped grouping will give the look of a single piece of wall art. A bold geometric design will give this traditional method of displays plates a modern twist. Repeat the colour on other accessories to pull the look together.

2. Line them up in a row

kitchen area with marble wall and shelf

(Image credit: Future PLC/Carolyn Barber)

Create a linear display on a narrow shelf above your kitchen splash back. Plates in the same colour palette as your room scheme will give a calm and co-ordinated look. However, don't feel you need to stick to the same pattern, play with different designs to create an informal gallery wall effect. Install a safety slot, a groove cut along the shelf. This will stop plates slipping off.

3. Mix it up in a dresser

show platters and shelves

(Image credit: Future PLC/Holly Joliffe)

Displaying plates in a dresser might give you flashbacks of your nan's dining room. However, if you are clever with your positioning this will look nothing like your the old-fashioned one you remember. Display matching sets, mixing sizes and even two colour ways.

Painting your shelving in a complementary colour will set them off to perfection. Avoid arranging in a repetitive pattern for a more laid-back look.

4. Contrast against a bold backdrop

dinner platters and grey shelves

(Image credit: Future PLC/Chris Everard)

Painting the backing of a unit (or the wall between shelves) in a contrasting colour will make plates pop and highlight their shapes. Sticking to one shade of plate, such as this white set will make sure your display packs a punch.

5. Zone a dining area in an open plan kitchen

dining area in an open plan kitchen

(Image credit: Future PLC/Brent Darby)

Fill a blank wall above a dinner table with beautifully painted plates. This is an easy and whimsical way to zone a dining area in an open plan kitchen. Don't afraid to use different size, patterns or colours. However, to keep the look coordinated with the rest of the room stick to a complementary colour scheme that will tie the space together.

Related: Navy kitchen ideas – to add an element of rich colour and sophistication

6. Create an ombre effect

If you have a selection of one off plates that you don't know what to do with, why not turn them into a work of art. This stunning design has grouped blue plates in varying designs, shapes and shades to create a flowing ombre wave across the wall.

To recreate this look star with the largest plates or serving platters closest to the walls. Slowly build out the design using smaller dinner plates and side plates. Fill in any gaps with small decorative plates for a stunning finish.

7. Slot serving plates in an alcove

slot serving plates in an alcove

(Image credit: Future PLC/Simon Whitmore)

This is a perfect doubling up of storage and decoration in a kitchen. Turn an awkward alcove into a place to store and display pretty dinner plates with the help of a strip of wood and a groove to hold them in place. Arrange the plates in order of how your use them for a relaxed look that is easy to add to and take away from.

8.Add in a matching plinth

kitchen area with tiles and marble counters

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Polly Eltes)

In a kitchen add in a plinth or shelf in a material to match the rest of the kitchen. This wooden shelf that matches the dark wooden kitchen is as much a statement as the plates that rest on it. When dressing a sturdy shelf like this opt for larger plates with statement designs that won't be drowned out by the dark heavy wood.

Related: Kitchen splashback ideas to keep kitchen walls protected in style

Have you been inspired to put your best crockery out on display?

Rebecca Knight
Deputy Editor, Digital

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend.