Great Britain has a great tradition of collecting plates.
My mom used to do this, buying one from every seaside resort we visited while on vacation, to capture memories in a way that was more impactful than picking out postcards.
Once home, the plates will dutifully be added to the rickety rows on the living room wall.
She later joined a plate club that produced a monthly Dickens-inspired series, and it all got a little out of hand.
Like generations of women who have displayed their “best china” on the sideboard, she values her collection as more classic than a print or picture hanging on the wall.
At the same time, I, like many others, think that listings are a bit dated and outdated.
But how the situation changed.
Now, I have my own collection of decorative plates, and I’m not alone as showcasing your chic pottery has become the ultimate interior design trend.
Bringing on a little elegance: Actress Gwyneth Paltrow showcases £6,500 Hermes plates, bowls and plates in her designer home
Feeling dirty: £15,000 worth of colourful cutlery adorn the impressive pantry, a pride and joy for Kris Jenner
Kris Jenner leaves a hotel in New York City on September 11, 2021
Check out Kardashian matriarch Kris Jenner’s jaw-dropping ‘pantry’ filled with £15,000 worth of colourful crockery, including a Gucci teapot with matching teacups.
Or Gwyneth Paltrow’s dedicated panel wall, with shelves filled with blue and white Hermes worth around £6,500.
Whether they are used or not is almost irrelevant. It’s all about aesthetics.
It started with “tablescaping” during the first lockdown, the art of arranging ornate tables, as many of us looked for creative ways to distract from the rolling news of doom.
Spending so much time at home makes us look at household items we usually take for granted in a different way.
Light it all up: striking effect on the walls of Homewood Hotel near Bath
It’s just one small step to take the plates off the table and give them their place on our walls.
Plus plates are cheap, and they’re gorgeous—a handful of ready-made art that can be found everywhere.
Join popular period dramas like Bridgetown and let’s indulge in new discoveries in all things print and chintz, that’s how trends are formed. So moving to the gallery wall – multiple photos hanging tightly together – it’s all about the board wall.
Part of the appeal is that the plates come in a variety of colors and sizes, which means you’ll find something to suit no matter your taste or space requirements. You can hang them in rows, columns or clusters on any wall of your choice – grouped by size, color or pattern.
Food: Chinoiserie decorates this stylish room
Personally, I like to put them in unexpected places like downstairs toilets or even showers! While someone like Gwynnie can afford to spend thousands of dollars on tableware decor, it’s a very accessible trend for all those on a budget.
With the antique china market at an all-time low, there is no need to spend hundreds of pounds on designer pottery because charity shops are overstocked with plates and saucers – the more flowers and gilded edges, the better.
On the high street, Anthropologie regularly stocks a variety of decadent dishes, Emma Bridgewater runs a business out of happy polka-dot crock pots – or check out Eleanor Bowmer’s bone china cake pans at John Lewis.
No Wallpaper Required: Color Riot Above the Side Table
But if you do want something more couture, then some of my favorite looks include pieces by Canadian artist Maggie Hall, who adds a provocative statement to cute secondhand finds.
Meanwhile, the serene blue and white served at Royal Copenhagen is classic and timeless, while the quirky cabbage and artichoke platter from Bordallo Pinheiro is a lot of fun.
However, my absolute obsession with Italian design studio Fornasetti.
And since 2005, a year after I started as editor-in-chief of ELLE Decor, I was fortunate enough to get the brand’s limited edition annual calendar board.
Sophisticated: health and beauty store Mila London
Each is themed around the year’s unique theme, but always features the brand’s signature black and white gold design.
They are works of art that happen to be made of porcelain, continuing a tradition started more than 50 years ago by the brand’s founder, Piero Fornasetti.
The first plate I received hung on the wall above the table. I’ve never owned anything like it before – and I think it’s exquisite.
A year later, a pair of plates is equally pleasing to the eye. But as the years passed, the display became a problem, not least because they needed to be re-hung regularly if symmetry was to be a constant factor.
Sweet Dreams: Home Goods Store With Some Delicious Side Dishes
Right now, I’m trying to find the perfect place for them in my home.
After all, a plate like this is no good for anyone hiding.
So, if you have any pretty dishes that can’t be seen in the cupboards, why not put them on your wall, or if space allows, a dedicated open dresser.
You’ll have more fun with them – if extra guests come for dinner, you can always pull one off the wall!