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Collecting and Decorating With Vintage Dishes

By Rachel
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Collecting and decorating with vintage dishes is exciting!

This time of year is a little difficult for me as a blogger because it’s the heart of summer. I’ve already given you many summer posts and I just can’t get into fall yet. So, I kind of walked my house to figure out what could be a fun subject yet also helpful for you. A lightbulb went on when I was playing around with some smaller pieces of my vintage dishes!

Whenever I go to the thrift store, I’m always looking for vintage dishes, specifically pitchers, plates and little creamers. There is just something about them that is so pretty. The texture and intricate details on them draw me in every time.

Dishes are also such practical items to use and display in many spaces throughout your home. Join me as I show you ideas for collecting and decorating with vintage dishes!

Collecting Vintage Dishes

There is just something about vintage dishes that is so intriguing to me. Each piece of old dish ware contains a special type of nostalgia from years gone by. I love to hunt for vintage dishes mainly at thrift stores because you can find them for super affordable prices.

I haven’t paid more than $10 for any one of the pieces that I’m going to show you today. If you are looking at starting a vintage dish collection or are wanting to add to an existing collection, thrift stores are where I would start.

You can also try scouring garage sales or estate sales. I personally haven’t found anything to my liking at those types of sales but many of my blogger friends have!

When I am out thrifting or antiquing, there are a few specific types of vintage dishes that I always keep an eye out for. They are as follows:

  • floral plates with pretty detailed edges
  • copper creamers
  • milk glass creamers, bowls or dishes
  • Jadeite
  • transferware plates or pitchers
  • enamel pitchers

As I’ve said before, it is helpful to go out often when looking for specific items. Allow yourself an hour at least once a week to go to the thrift store or garage sales.

The more you go, the more apt you are to find the dishes or pieces that you are looking for for your collection. And, you may even find something amazing that you weren’t even looking for to begin with!

a vintage copper creamer displayed on a Jadeite saucer in a vignette

Collecting and Displaying Vintage Dishes

Decorating with vintage dishes is one of my very favorite ways to add character, color, and texture throughout my home. Here are some ways you can use vintage dishes as decor!

In A Vignette

Vintage plates, bowls, and cups are incredible pieces to use when creating a vignette. They are perfect for adding color, height, and layers or for using as fillers in an empty space. As seen above, I’ve incorporated a vintage floral plate into a basket vignette.

That plate I found at the thrift store for .50 cents! I love how versatile that specific plate is because it has so many different colors on it.a vintage floral plate displayed in a summer basket vignette

Here is another example of using vintage dishes in a vignette. If you remember my patriotic decorating from earlier this summer, I used a blue and white floral plate to usher in a softer feeling amongst all the enamel and hard elements.

When creating a vignette, dishes are my favorite pieces to use because they are each so different and pair so nicely with whatever other decor is around it. It doesn’t feel complicated to pair a floral plate with metal pieces…it just goes!
a blue and white vintage plate used as decor in a summer vignette

In Unique Spaces

One thing that I love to do in my home is to use dishes in rooms that you wouldn’t normally see them. The little shelf above hangs on the wall in my master bathroom! I have displayed one of my very favorite milk glass pitchers with a jadeite teacup.

It is an unlikely space in a home to decorate with dishes but it makes me so happy. The colors of the dishes pair nicely with the other decor that I have in the bathroom and complement the galvanized metal.

When it comes to decorating your home, there are no rules. You do what makes you happy!
a small shelf in a bathroom decorated with vintage dishes

You can also use dishes in a bathroom in a purposeful way. This antique transferware pitcher, which I recently found at the thrift store for $10, sits on the counter in the hall bath and holds an extra hand towel.

It gives such life to this small space. The intricate details on the pitcher lend a vintage feel to a more modern room and it’s just lovely.
an antique transferware pitcher holds a towel in a bathroom

As A Centerpiece

A simple way to use vintage dishes is to create a centerpiece for your dining table. Especially during the summer months, easy and breezy decor is the best. Here, I filled my favorite enamel pitcher with faux flowers and greenery and set that on top of a jadeite plate.

Jadeite is not easy to find, at least where I live, but I came across this one at the thrift store a few years ago for only $2.00!

The plate is the most beautiful creamy green and I find myself using it over and over.

a vintage enamel pitcher with faux yellow flowers used as a centerpiece on a table

For something a little different or to add height, try stacking some vintage plates on top of one another. I chose plates that were neutral or similar in color to stack together. All of the plates above were thrifted for under $2.

You could use this same method in a vignette, on a shelf, or in a cubby as well and achieve a one-of-a-kind display!

Vintage dishes are just fun and happy. I can usually find my creativity running wild when decorating with vintage dishes.
a stack of vintage plates underneath an enamel pitcher filled with flowers

Group Them Together

If you currently have a small collection of a specific kind of dish ware, try grouping them together.

Little creamers and pitchers are an unlikely combination for a centerpiece, but what a pretty display for a dinner party to have them all running down the middle of a table on a vintage runner.
a collection of vintage creamers and pitchers
Vintage dishes make a big impact when collected and displayed altogether. Vintage copper is one of my favorite things to collect. I found each of these copper creamers at different thrift stores over the years.

They look lovely displayed together in a grouping. Even though they are all relatively the same creamer, each one has a different patina. That’s what makes vintage dishes so fun to collect and display!
a collection of vintage copper and enamel cups and creamers

Utilitarian Purposes

Vintage dishes are as practical as they come for everyday use. I found a set of 3 large milk glass bowls at an antique store this past winter for $12.

I use the largest of the three bowls to hold fruit and other produce in my kitchen. You would be surprised at how many avocados, onions, tomatoes, garlic cloves, and bananas that I can fit in it!
a vintage milk glass bowl that holds bananas in the kitchen
The vintage dishes above are the dishes that we use everyday. My mother-in-law gave them to me years ago after being stashed away in the back of a cupboard!

They are at least 20 years old and are of Chinese origin. I just love them…the scalloped edges and the simple florals on them are so pretty.

I actually came across an entire set of these exact same dishes at the thrift store a few months ago and they were asking around $3.00 per dish which adds up pretty quickly!
everyday vintage floral dishes set on a table
Thrift stores, garage sales, and estate sales are all places to browse to find sets of pretty vintage dishes.

Mine have yet to be chipped or cracked…they don’t make them like they used to!
a vintage milk glass hobnail creamer displayed in a summer vignette

Closing Tidbits

I hope these ideas for collecting and decorating with vintage dishes are an encouragement for you! You don’t have to spend excess money or decorate in an extravagant way to create a beautiful home.

By using vintage dishes in your everyday decor, you are making your space feel intentional and curated over time. Be inspired to decorate with vintage dishes, in whatever form that may be for you, and find joy along the way.

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Please pin it for later!

a gathering of vintage dishes displayed throughout a home

For more inspiration on decorating with vintage dishes, go over and say hello to Michele at Vintage Home Designs! She has the most beautiful decor and shares lovely ideas for vintage style decorating.

Other Posts To Enjoy

How To Paint Furniture From Target

Refinishing A Vintage Headboard

Mixing Vintage Art With Modern Art

If you haven’t checked out The Antiqued Journey shop yet, I would love it if you would poke around in there a bit! You will find custom designed t-shirts, mugs and bags, just to name a few. Buy something for yourself and a friend! Your support helps me to continue writing weekly content. Thank you!

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Hello I’m Rachel.

I’m so glad you are here! Old things are my jam. Antique malls and thrift stores are my happy places.

Here on the blog I love to share my excitement, knowledge, and ideas about all things antique and vintage. Let’s journey together!

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