Wall Plates and Plate Holders

By HomeAdvisor

Updated January 23, 2017

A decorative wall plate is to some as a rare coin or stamp is to others. For a wall plate collector, displaying a prized piece is half the fun of it all. You will want to make sure that it’s done right, however, as plates (unlike stamps or coins) have a tendency to break if they fall.

Plate Hanger or Plate Holder

Though the terms are fairly close to interchangeable, and the items themselves perform the same function, a plate hanger is generally less elaborate. While it may have some ornamental value on its own, the plate hanger is mainly meant to show off the craftsmanship of the plate instead of its own craftsmanship. Contrarily, a plate holder is often designed to showcase its own beauty. They are sometimes filled with simple white plates to show off this beauty without distraction.

Whether you choose a holder or hanger will probably have a lot to do with the quantity of wall plates you plan on displaying. If the number is more than 10, price could become an issue. Plate hangers are less expensive and will be significantly more cost effective when displaying a large collection. If you are planning on displaying only a few plates, you might be able to find a multiple plate holder is an elegant and efficient way to show all of them off.

Wall Plate Mounting

Decorative plates can range from dainty to down right hefty. The size and weight of your plate will determine where it can and should go. A small plate with an aluminum hanger can probably be placed wherever you like; a wrought iron hanger holding a ceramic platter will need to be anchored in a stud.

Background Color

The effect of a decorative wall plate is often lost due to poor background choice. If the wall you are displaying on is papered, the look can be too muddled or “busy” when the plate itself has an intricate design. A plain plate on a plain wall can also blend in too much, and its beauty can get lost in the shuffle. Pick a place that will compliment what you are displaying; if your collection is large and you want to display the bulk of it in one room, it may be worth a fresh coat of paint to help the room look its best.

Wall Plate Lighting

Plates generally have a reflective surface. Though this isn’t usually a problem when they are in a cabinet being stored or on a table being eaten off of, when a plate is meant for decoration, glare can become an issue.

Very reflective objects are most difficult to see when light is pointing straight at them. Lighting for something shiny is best when the room has an even, soft glow. Overhead light is good, especially if it is “bounced” off of the ceiling before it enters your eye.

After you’ve decided what room you want to display your plate in, you should examine the amount and angle of sunlight it will be exposed to. Before you put any nails or screws into a wall, take a day and check the display spot multiple times. In the morning, the light could be perfect, but by afternoon, you might not be able to see the design on the plate at all, only the reflection of a window.


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