How To Create A Plate Gallery Wall

The secret to a sophisticated gallery wall is hiding in your china cabinet.

Plate gallery wall
Photo: photography: HECTOR MANUEL SANCHEZ; STYLING: MARY BETH WETZEL

When a blank wall is your problem, the solution may come from an unlikely place: your china cabinet. We're talking about hanging your plates. Rather than keeping your china locked behind cabinet doors, let decorative dishware shine on your walls as art. Repurposing dinner plates into wall decor is an easy way to give under-used dishes new life, show off prized china, and add elegance to your space.

Rather than just one or two lonely plates displayed on your wall, we love the look of a whole gallery of them. Take this opportunity to flaunt precious wedding china or look for something new to add to your collection. "This is a perfect opportunity to incorporate vintage items," says Kara Solito, designer with Decorist, an online decorating service. "Websites like Chairish and 1stDibs are great resources, and you can often find gems on Etsy or at local thrift stores (or even in your grandmother's kitchen!) with some digging." Consider lovely pieces like Dansk Vandvid Ceramics Serving Platter, Marlo Thomas Scenic Appetizer Plates, and Mottahedeh Tobacco Leaf Dinner Plate.

3 plates
Left to write: courtesy food52, Williams Sonoma, Williams Sonoma

BUY IT:

  • Dansk Vandvid Ceramics Serving Platter, $38/shallow serving bowl or $199/set of seven; food52.com
  • Marlo Thomas Scenic Appetizer Plates, $69.95/set of four; williams-sonoma.com
  • Mottahedeh Tobacco Leaf Dinner Plate, $199.95; williams-sonoma.com

With your plates at the ready, here's how to design and implement your own handsome plate gallery wall.

Consider the Mix

Start with the plates that are most meaningful to you, and fill in the gaps with pieces that are complementary in size, color, and design. A healthy dose of variation—in the widths of the plates as well as the scales of the patterns—is key.

Stack of china plates
photography: HECTOR MANUEL SANCHEZ; STYLING: MARY BETH WETZEL

Arrange Creatively

For a clean look, go with a grid (or a line in a narrow space). To achieve a more organic effect, start with your largest platter and arrange around it. Hanging a paper template of each plate will allow you to play with the design before you commit.

Paper templates on wall
photography: HECTOR MANUEL SANCHEZ; STYLING: MARY BETH WETZEL

Hang Tough

Plates can safely be hung two ways: adhesive or spring-style hangers. If you don't plan on using the pieces for meals, opt for an adhesive. Spring-style hangers curl around the plates, providing a solid grip and the flexibility to move them.

Spring-style hangers
photography: HECTOR MANUEL SANCHEZ; STYLING: MARY BETH WETZEL

Select the Right Surface

A peppering of plates can fill many blank spaces, but for a true gallery wall, you'll want a medium to large area. Kitchens and dining rooms have long been popular spots, but these days, designers love an unexpected location. Try an arrangement above the bed in a guest room.

plate gallery wall
photography: HECTOR MANUEL SANCHEZ; STYLING: MARY BETH WETZEL
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