The Plate Show: How One Homeowner Uses Fine China to Keep Her Home’s Look Seasonal and Fresh

In Jessica Rhodes’ historic Montgomery County home, fine china isn’t just for special occasions.

“One thing I love about decorating with plates is that there is such a large tradition for it that the inspiration rabbit hole is endless,” she says. “While the core feeling of hanging plates on a wall is very traditional, you can play with it by choosing artistic designs like shaped plates, ultramodern patterns, asymmetrical hanging styles, covering a whole wall, et cetera.”

Rhodes’ love for decorative plates is evident on her @parkanddivision Instagram account, on which she features DIY projects from Danascara Place, the historic home she and her husband purchased for less than $100,000 in 2018. (This October, it’ll be featured in a book entitled Cheap Old Houses from the creators of the HGTV show of the same name.) Her account is a showcase of her personal style—grand millennial and eclectic, though she doesn’t like to use those type of umbrella terms—and features an interesting combination of vintage pieces, skirted tables, timeless wallpaper, modern art and weathered wood. Her favorite canvas, though, is her plate wall, where she showcases an ever-rotating selection from her thoughtfully curated china collection.

“I change the plates out based on the season,” Jessica Rhodes says of her plate wall, noting her summery cabbage-and-pink collection. “The surfaces add a shine and movement to a room that brings so much life.”

“I think the most impactful way to showcase a collection is to group it together on top of a console, in a bookcase, on a center hall table or in a gallery,” she says. “Showcasing a collection is one of the quickest ways to truly make your house feel unique, personal and memorable.”

That’s not to say Rhodes doesn’t use pieces from her china collection for their intended purpose—colorful tablescapes are common at Danascara Place. “Using real china plates on a table in a dining room or kitchen gives a sense of authenticity, permanence and luxury,” she says. “If you’re a guest, it tells you that someone took the time to set that table because they think sitting down and eating with you is something special.”  

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