5 Tips For Perfectly Hanging Decorative Plates

There are so many things that can be done with a blank wall! While it is a good problem to have, committing to something can still be daunting. Large walls can be decorated with either singular or large art pieces or multiple small frames of photos and artwork. You can also consider adding plants, mirrors, shelves, or even finished puzzles to the wall — the options are endless!

However, decorative plates are a unique way to add texture and an air of sophistication to a space. You can hang them in the dining room, of course, but also add them to a gallery wall or combine them with a mirror in other spaces like the living room (via Ballard Designs). With various styles, from antique to modern, decorative plates can be quite affordable to obtain and DIY when compared to other types of decor pieces. Do you have some old plates or a lot of fine china in a cabinet? You no longer need to wonder what to do with them! Even broken plates can be repurposed for your wall, so here are five tips to help you hang up decorative plates.

1. Choose the right location

Location is everything. Julie Blanner made a display in the corner of her dining room, just above the bar cart, but also created one above the piano. You can hang decorative plates virtually anywhere, as long as you can find a way to make them work with the space. In a living room or bedroom, you can liven up the top of a dresser with an arrangement and make the whole area pleasant to look at. You can then switch up the arrangement from time to time in order to refresh the view, as pictured by On Sutton Place.

The bathroom can also be a home for your decorative plates. The arrangement can give the space a unique charm, like this example from House & Garden, where the plates are installed directly above the bathtub. Decorative plates can either be a pop of color or blend into the background, depending on if you need them to complement the existing theme or become a focal point. House & Garden shows how you can line a wall in your kitchen or bedroom with as few as possible and still get that cozy feel.

2. Create your arrangement

This is probably the most fun part because to hang your decorative plates perfectly, you need to have the perfect template! Think about how you want to display the plates. It's necessary to consider their shapes, styles, and the space you have on the wall. It will be easier to arrange if you have one collection of plates, but if you are mixing and matching, you need to be more mindful of how you put them together.

Decor Tips has some advice for creating a wall of paintings that can also be applied to plates. Can one of the plates be the main feature? Then the others should be fixed around it. You should also strive for harmony among the various colors, designs, and shapes by mixing different plates instead of putting similar ones next to each other. Larger plates should appear towards the base with smaller plates above it or vice versa, says Fred Gonsowski Garden Home. If you're using broken pieces, you also need to determine how you want to display them, but there is much more flexibility because the smaller pieces can be more abstract.

3. Get your measurements right

You will need to measure both the wall and the plates to ensure that the arrangement will fit accurately to your desired area. To measure the plate, sit it on a table or the ground and use a tape measure to measure from one end to the other across the center, says Fine Home Displays. To measure the wall, lay the plates in your desired arrangement on the ground, measure how much space they take up, and then make marks on the wall for where you will place the plates. This will show you if the wall has enough space or if your arrangement isn't big enough to fit without looking awkward. You also need to measure the space between the plates to ensure that you hang them all correctly. This way, the distance will be the same, and the plates won't look mismatched after you're done fixing them to the wall, per Julie Blanner.

If you are using a plate holder or some type of platform, instead of fixing the plate directly to the wall, getting the right measurements will make sure the holder fits. Holders like wire plate hangers might need you to also measure how deep the plate is if it isn't a completely flat one, advises Fine Home Displays.

4. Prepare the plates and wall

When you've settled on a template and have your measurements, you should prepare the plates and the wall for installation. Wash your plates if they've been sitting in a cupboard or an old china cabinet, so they look refreshed. For china that isn't dishwasher-safe, rub them with a damp cloth with lemon juice and salt and wash in warm water, says New England Today. A mixture of vinegar and salt can remove tough brown stains. If the plates you have are too old, Martha Stewart suggests painting some designs over them with porcelain paint and baking them in the oven to seal them.

In addition to being fresh, the plates need to be cleaned since an adhesive will be applied to their backs. The same is needed for the wall. Depending on the type of adhesive you are using, the wall might need to be smoothed down or wiped with isopropyl rubbing alcohol (via Homes To Love).

5. Hang them up

There are many ways to hang your decorative plates, but some common ones are plate hangers and adhesive discs. Plate hangers attach to your plate, and then the plate gets hung on the wall by a hook. They are dependable, won't damage the plate, and make it easy to bring down the plates if you plan to keep using them. However, you will have to go for another method if you would like to avoid holes in your wall. If you're using wire hangers, Home Depot recommends the ones with springs for a firm grip and coated edges, so the plate doesn't get damaged.

Adhesive discs are glue products that you can use to fix plates to the wall without needing anything else. You have to activate the glue with water, apply it to the back of the plate, and let it dry fully before putting the plate up. It is a straightforward process and makes the attachment of your decorative plates look simple. Something to note about this method is that it doesn't work well if your plates aren't completely flat at the back, and it will be inconvenient to bring down the plates (via Driven by Decor). There are also some more homemade hanging methods, such as metal hanging rings, rope and tape, large paper clips, and safety pins, per Balcony Decoration.