Laurey W. Glenn

If you don't have a plate wall, you know someone who does. 

Southerners are natural-born storytellers. Well, most of us. And that seeps into every part of Southern culture—sitting around on porches, getting caught up talking in The Pig’s parking lot, even how we decorate. Southern homes should tell stories—and not just the walls, but what adorns them.

Well-worn, well-loved pieces rule down here, and often to descendants’ benefit. Who doesn’t love a timeless piece?  So it makes sense that we put on display inherited items that mean so much. Whether a burled wood chest, Aunt Linda’s teacup collection, or hanging plates on the wall, these items serve as conveniently decorative reminders of loved ones and history. 

But we’re not just romantic story tellers, sitting around waxing poetic about some old heirlooms. We’re practical too. Naturally, hand-me-downs and heirlooms can start to pile up. And no disrespect to matriarchs past, but sometimes there’s just not enough room for old Sally’s oddly specific (and extensive) collection of milk-glass goblets. By hanging plates on the wall to decorate, you kill two birds with ones stone—the walls get decorated (no framing required!) and some china storage opens up. More room for pieces from your own collection. (Or whoever else’s you’re nobly storing.)

It’s a way to lovingly display heirlooms, beloved rare finds, and simply, pieces that make you happy. It’s a conversation starter, and an easy way to infuse color and class into a room.  

WATCH: Enjoying Your Antique China 

So no matter your pattern—maybe you’re a colorful “Tobacco Leaf” gal, or a more austere “Federal Gold Monogram” lady.  Do blue and white palettes make your heart flutter? Or maybe you have a pattern for every season. No matter the collection, a grouping of plates arranged on the wall is a polished finishing touch to a room—particularly a dining room. Mix and match for a little panache, or hang a homogenous collection to keep it classic.