Design Hints

Dishing on Dishes

You’ve amassed a trove of china, porcelain, pottery and other dishware over the years, or perhaps inherited them from a generation or two of loved ones. How can you integrate these treasures into your decor? Pat Kennedy, who adores crocks, children’s feeding dishes and ironstone, helped round up some ideas for dazzling dish displays that she uses throughout her west-central Minnesota home.
Dishing on Dishes

GORGEOUS GROUPINGS. Seek out commonalities, such as type, color, size or material. Cluster objects with similar characteristics for a formal look or diverse wares for an eclectic feel. Pat opts for formality by lining up white vases and pitchers atop the cabinets in her dining room.
FAB FRAMING. Shadow boxes and picture frames will direct attention to one or several special pieces. Line them with fabric for a patterned backdrop. Mount your framed dishes on the wall or lay them flat on a coffee table.
HANDSOME HANGUPS. Think of your plates and platters as the artwork they are. Anchor them to the wall in large or small groupings anywhere you’d hang a painting. Dishes make great borders, too. Pat outlined her kitchen windows with colorful children’s feeding dishes.
BACKGROUND CHECK. Paint or paper the backs of cabinets and curios to make your dishes pop. Use light hues behind dark dishware and deeper shades behind paler pieces. Jewel tones, including cobalt blue and emerald green, are great attention-getters. Mirrored backdrops can provide sparkle and depth, especially to glassware. Change out backgrounds for holidays.
ARTSY ALTERNATIVES. Stretch your imagination for creative purposes. Bowls and platters can be placed on pedestals and turned into bird feeders or birdbaths. Cups and saucers can become tiny planters. Use broken bits to make a mosaic tabletop or trivets.

Written by Pamela Dittmer McKuen
Photographed and Styled by Gridley + Graves