We recently had our floors remodeled.
That meant we had to move every single piece of furniture in the main areas of the home where we had hardwood. It also meant packing up all the contents of every hutch, cabinet, buffet, etc. It was a challenge and one we are extremely relieved to have behind us. But, what comes down must go back up. LOL That gave me a chance to restyle the shelves when displaying the dishes as I was replacing the contents. Our vintage, English Hutch is one area where I gave a styling makeover to. I want to share a few tips I use which helps me.
5 Tips for Displaying Dishes
We have a vintage English Hutch in our front Living Room which we inherited from The Hubb’s Grandmother. It has been styled lots of ways over the past 25 years since it came to be part of our home. I like to say it changes its style personality much like our home does. When we unloaded it and packed the contents away as we were preparing to have our wood floors refinished, I took pictures of each shelf, thinking that the pictures would serve as a reminder for how they were styled, making it easier to when putting the contents back in. Well, I accidently deleted the images from my phone. LOL In the end, I decided to go a slightly separate route and add some more blue and white dishes to the mix. Here is how the hutch looked last Christmas…
Last year, I purchased some blue velvet chairs. Now let’s back up a bit. #1) WHY did I purchase dark navy anything? We have FOUR cats. #2) WHY did I purchase velvet ANYTHING? Did I mention we have FOUR cats. 🙂 Other than that, I had not done much with the room. We have plans in the future to add a wall of bookcases, but like all well made plans, they often get postponed. So, I decided to move forward with styling the room for the holidays. Two navy, velvet chairs do NOT make a room.
I will share the full room next week, but here is a sneak peek. The only thing I purchased was a new rug from Lowe’s. Everything else I already had and made use of. But, oh my goodness, this rug could NOT be any more perfect.
Now I realize that the style of this room falls more towards the formal with a touch of English. Not everyone’s look, but I hope the basic tips for styling dishes will help you no matter what style of home you have. Let’s get started.
5 Tips for Styling Dishes
1.) Access the Space You Want to Style:
In order to figure out how to style a space, you have to consider what you will need and how many dishes it will take. Do you have enough dishes to give the space a full look? When I decided to add more blue a
nd white dishes, I knew I did not have enough to completely fill it. So, I added a combination of both vintage and Dollar Store plain white dishes. Adding the plain white dishes allowed me to get the full look I was after, but it also allowed the blue and white dishes to be the focus. Too many blue and white dishes could have been overwhelming to the look as a whole.
#2.) Creating a Harmonic Flow:
Now I realize this next Tip may be off putting to some. I am OCD when it comes to things being lined up and spaced evenly. I absolutely have to have balance. But, that doesn’t mean your own space has to be this way. You may want an odd number of plates or dishes on one shelf and an even number on the next level. You have to step back and decide if the look feels right to you. Once I had the top shelf completed, I repeated the same look on the other three shelves with a few basic changes.
#3.) How to Decide Where Dishes Are Placed:
This may be the hardest part of styling shelves or a hutch or any space where you are using dishes. Again, there is no hard rule. You place the dishes where and how it feels right to you. Here is one of my secrets. Plate Stands. I use lots of plate stands throughout my home, and especially on shelves and in hutches. Although many hutches and shelves have plate grooves which help prevent them from sliding forward, these grooves do not allow any flexibility as far as placement. Using plate stands allow you to place them where you want to, and in any direction or at any level. Don’t be afraid to move the dishes around once you have them in the hutch. Stand back and determine if a plate or dish needs to go back, forward, be turned at an angle, etc. Again, that is the beauty of using plate stands.
#4.) Use Fillers for Dead Space:
I love to add things like vintage books when I am styling with dishes. I have a love for vintage books just as much as I do vintage dishes. I also think adding items like books or baskets adds texture and also creates more interest to the space. The other big advantage of using books is I can create elevation when I piece needs to be raised higher to place it at a better eye level. You want a balance of high and low spaces. I like to think that you are giving the eye a ride on a roller coaster. Up and down and up and down. Think how repetitive and dull this hutch would look if I simply lined all of these dishes up in a row at the same height. The eye would basically stroll from one end to another. By adding different heights and textures, the eye wants to move around and take it all in.
#5.) Add the Unexpected:
Again, this tip is a personal choice and based upon your own style. I tend to be a “more is more” kinda gal, so I like to add pops of interest when I can. Your style may be more toned down, and lots of smalls scattered throughout may bother you. That’s okay, too.
I see it as an opportunity to showcase some of the smaller items we have collected throughout the years. For example, I have a large collection of Victorian Salt and Pepper Cellars like the one above, which is one of my favorites.
On the second level, I added two of my Victorian Eye Wash Cups.
These smaller items also act as filler in empty spaces, just as these Victorian Creamers and Vinegar Bottles do.
It may take me a few tweaks and adjustments to get it just right. For this hutch, I had to take into consideration that the was “blind space” in the middle where the doors closed. So, it was important to add some heavier pieces that would still be seen such as the large white pitcher, and also why I used books to elevate the smaller bird teapot below.
I am often asked about my dish collection whenever I post about them. I have something to tell you. I am a “Back of the Dish” Reader. It’s not unheard of for me to be somewhere and see a plate or dish I love and I just have to look at the markings on the back. It was one of the first things I did the first time I had tea at Harrods. 😛 (I have no couth.) Ha!
The plates are part of one of my favorite collections of blue and white called Liberty Blue.
This collection features several locales in America which are important to our History as a Nation, such a Independance Hall as seen in the plate above.
Here is one another of my favorite single pieces of blue and white, a small oval dish which I have displayed on the outer ledge of the hutch.
It’s a pastoral scene and pulls at my heartstrings because it’s what I think of when I think of my beloved England.
Of course, I took a picture of the back for you. LOL
In case you’re wondering, I often left the price tags on the back of the pieces I purchased. So there you go. A look at my styled English Hutch and the 5 Tips I used when styling it with dishes.
Join me next week when I will reveal our newly restyled Living Room. I have some amazing vintage, English prints and framed letters to share.
Speaking of my love of England, here are some of the posts I shared of some of our trips:
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