Skip to content

Paul Bennett, Director

Displaying crockery is a time honoured interior design trend that can be traced back to the 17th century. Although it has fallen out of fashion of late – perhaps best indicated by the amount of ceramics in London’s charity shops - the aesthetic appeal of plates is making a comeback.


Actress Gwyneth Paltrow has recently been photographed in front of her stunning collection of Hermes plates, nestling in bespoke, floor-to-ceiling shelving racks for a bold design statement. Then there’s Kris Jenner – head of the Kardashian family – who has a dedicated ‘dish room’, where full tea sets are immaculately arranged as if they were in the V&A museum.


The evolution of plate displays is interesting. Welsh dressers were seen in homes across the country and in America, they were fittingly called ‘china hutches’. This utilitarian item of furniture soon morphed into a way of showing off a ceramic collection – perhaps the unmistakable blue and white ‘willow pattern’ produced by Spode, Minton and other Midlands manufacturers.


In later years, it was chintzy tea sets that caught the eye and showed status. Royal Albert, Wedgewood, Colclough and Coalport were just a few of the potteries who produced gilded, fluted and delicate bone china, designed specifically for afternoon tea.


By the late 19th century, plates had moved from the dresser to the wall. Whimsical, commemorative and souvenir plates were precariously hung to show visitors where you had travelled, what your interests were and whether you were a fan of the Royal family.


Now, in 2022, crockery’s big comeback can be embraced in a variety of ways. While not everyone has the space to create a ‘dish room’ in the style of Kris Jenner, there are other ways put your plates in pole position:-


Stack them with style: evocative of French brocantes and vintage emporiums, china can look effortlessly chic when stacked and displayed on a dining table. Experts recommend starting with the largest plate at the bottom – perhaps a charger - and building up to the smallest, such as a saucer. Interest can be added by layering linen napkins between plates, as does topping each stack with some foliage or even an artichoke flower, as suggested in this Stonegable stacking guide.


Revert back to the Welsh dresser: reclaimed Welsh dressers are big news for 2022, especially among fans of the cottagecore interior trend. The open shelves lend themselves to being piled high with plates, teapots and bowls, especially the blue and white stripes of classic Cornishware. Add a jute-tied bunch of bone-handled cutlery, a couple of antique Mason Cash mixing bowls and a ceramic jug filled with cow parsley, and the countryside look is complete.


Wow with wall art: plates can be used instead of paintings to bring vibrancy and interest to a flat wall. A striking option is to create a plate gallery, as was fashionable with framed photos and mirrors. Grouping bold designs and colours together creates a very contemporary vibe (think Clarice Cliff and Poole Pottery), while an all-white display (with interest coming in the form of fluted edges and relief work) has timeless appeal. Be inspired by Homes & Gardens’ guide to hanging plates.


If interior opportunities are high on your list when moving home, contact the Behr & Butchoff team for a selection of design-led homes available for sale and to rent.