How to Design a Plate Gallery Wall

I’ve been a fan of plate walls ever since I was a kid, wandering through my  grandparents’ house admiring all the cool, colorful, artistic plates they have hung as wall decor throughout their home. Different shapes and sizes, all china blue patterns and illustrations, hung nearly from floor to ceiling on one very tall wall.

I like the chic aesthetic of plates on a wall. To me it feels like the perfect balance between old world city elegance and modern style. Or maybe that’s just my grandma talking.

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I found two fun plates a few years ago at Anthropologie and they’d hung once in my first apartment, but the two of them were a little lonely on their own. I’ve been slowly amassing plates: trying to follow my grandmother’s guiding principles of same colors, different shapes, but putting my own taste in the designs: a little more abstract and artsy, fewer people and more words.

I also found some amazing plate hangers at the Container Store. These sticky circles adhere to the back of your plate with a little  metal circle to hang,  so that you don’t have any hanging wires peeking over the edges of the plate. First you wet the adhesive circle, then after a few minutes of letting it absorb water, you press firmly on the back of the plate. The instructions suggested letting this dry overnight before hanging, so out of an abundance of caution, that is exactly what I did. It  probably would have been fine after a few hours, though. A little more work than the standard wire frames, but the finished look is much cleaner!

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A few thoughts on laying out your plate wall (and this probably goes for any gallery wall):

  1. Find a space where your plates will be easy to view and appreciate. For me, this was the blank & boring wall behind my dining table, a space where the pictures have added some much-needed height and interest.
  2. Lay out your plates carefully. I traced each plate onto paper, and labeled it with a little description of the plate. I wanted to make sure that I varied the shapes and designs, and didn’t want to do so on the fly.
  3. Use your plates to create shape or movement. My plates actually fit neatly around the lamp that’s been living in this corner, but I had designed them so that they would be visually moving up the wall. As we add more plates to our collection, that movement will help guide me with placement.

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You can find some of these plates currently in stock at Crate & Barrel and West Elm. Some of these plates are years old Anthropologie, but there are a few in stock today that I think are just darling:

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