Flea Market Finds–Volume 3: Vintage Plates!

Flea market find stack of plates


Plates are another easy item to snag at great prices from flea markets, tag sales and second hand stores.  My two favorite types to look for are transferware (blue and white or red and white) and white ironstone.  I know, I know . . . you’re thinking “just how many plates does one person need?”  My answer would be, a lot!  After all, plates are not just for setting the table with!

Plates and platters are so versatile and can help add color and structure in unexpected places.  Many of you may have wall groupings using plates.  The great thing about using plates as art is that you can be really creative with the structure of the grouping or you can stay very traditional.  They work either way!  They can also be used in large groupings, or small, with other items, or alone.  The options are endless!


Using Plates In Your Decor!

Don’t limit yourself to wall groupings in the traditional sense.  Currently, a mixture of antique transferware and inexpensive flea market finds add interest over our living room windows.  They, in fact, are a mafor part of the window treatment.  We actually installed a larger window than was originally on the front of the house, but with the living room ceiling being vaulted, it still left a lot of space between the top of the arched window and the peak of the ceiling.  It just needed a little more pattern to break up the space.  Plates to the rescue!


Plates used over an arched window


I also used  a similar arrangement of plates over the more traditional window next to my office space to “match” the front window.


Plates used over traditional window


If you are a plate wall lover, think outside the box!

Check out this wall from Lauren at The Endearing Home blog.  Stacking turns this plate wall into all sorts of crazy goodness, but still holds to a traditional overall composition.

(Click on picture to visit The Endearing Home.  You will be glad you did!)


Neutral plate wall from The Endearing Home Blog


I love this wall display from Kerri at A Pop of Pretty.com that throws caution to the wind with its swirling, wrap around design!

(Click on picture to see a ton of other ideas for plate walls from Apartment Therapy where Kerri’s wall is featured.)


Abstract wave of plates fills an odd wall space.


I keep plate hangers like the one below on hand so that I can design on the fly.  They can be found anywhere that sells picture hanging supplies or you can order them from Amazon here.  They are easily traded between plates when you want to swap out one plate for another.  This makes working in holiday plates a breeze without having to change the entire arrangement!

Plate Hanger

Small saucers make great coasters and look so sweet stacked when not in use


Small plates make great coasters


Small plates stack easily when not being used for coasters


Place a plate atop of a pedestal or candlestick for a quick way to add height where you need it!  I do this often to increase counter space when hosting a buffet style meal, but the same idea comes in handy in decorating the house also!


Elevating plates on pedestals provides extra counter space


While I love using old books to add height to a vignette, stacking plates can accomplish the same end result!


Stacked plates add height under fan lamp


And, don’t discount the impact of a single plate used in a neutral setting to add color, or use a white plate in a colorful display to give a calm place for the eye to rest!


Small plate adds color to a neutral vignette


A large plate or platter can make a great vanity tray for your dresser or bathroom counter!


Platter used as vanity tray in bathroom


My current set of “good” dishes are all white stoneware.  To be honest I have been less than thrilled with the way they have held up even though I bought them from a quality retailer.   Several have cracks in the finish so I have been alternating them with transferware plates when I host events.  My ultimate goal is to put together enough transferware for a colorful mismatched set.


Place setting of mismatched transferware plates

Now it’s your turn to dig through your cabinets to see what you already have that can get you started.  Then in the next few weeks as the flea markets and vintage sales start, keep your eyes open for the perfect pieces to add to your collection!  Also don’t forget to check the housewares section of TJ Maxx and Homegoods!  They often have great white plates and serving pieces, as well as new transferware pieces at great prices.

Happy Hunting!


Check out other Flea Market Find posts and don’t forget to subscribe below to bring all new posts directly to your inbox!

Crystal candleholders from flea market finds

Decorating with Vintage Buttons


Shared at:

Home Stories A to Z

Lehman Lane

Vintage Charm

Up to Date Interiors

8 thoughts on “Flea Market Finds–Volume 3: Vintage Plates!

  1. Hi Terri, I love your vintage blue plates. I have a small collection of similar blue transferware and I’m always on the lookout for more lovely pieces to add to my collection.

    That’s also the first time I’ve ever seen a plate hanger even though I’ve seen many a plate on a wall. I just never knew how they were mounted… so I learned something tonight-lol.

    Have a nice week.

  2. Love this post, Terri, with all your great ideas about how to decorate with plates. We’d love it if you linked this post (and any other vintage-related ones) to our Vintage Charm link party–open until Monday, 8 am. Happy Easter!
    Adirondack Girl @ Heart

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