hanging plates & swapping chairs

Marian ParsonsDecorating, Family Room, Master Bedroom, My House49 Comments

Today, I was supposed to be taking out the toilet in the upstairs bathroom with my dad in order to get things ready for the floor to be tiled.  Well, if you’re in the northeast, you know that it’s been brutally cold and there was some snow to boot, so the tiling had to be delayed until the temperature at least flirting with going above freezing.

So, the toilet stayed put and I needed to shift gears.  I decided to do some picking up and cleaning, which always gets the creative juices flowing.  It usually ends up with me shuffling furniture around, deep cleaning nooks and crannies and getting things done that have been neglected.

…and that’s just what happened today.

I’ve been wanting to hang something over Jeff’s dresser in our room for months, but I’ve been so undecided about it.  I’ve had things propped up there only to take them down.  I finally had enough of the angst today.  In my good friend Shaunna’s words, “Spackle dries in three minutes.”  When did I become scared of putting a hole in the wall?  I might replace it down the road with a framed family photo or a piece of original art, but today, I hung an arrangement of ironstone and transferware.



 I also arranged the corbels differently and added an ironstone casserole for Jeff to empty his pockets in.


Can you believe that I haven’t painted that dresser, either?!  I’ve had it for several years, but it has managed to escape my brush.  I think I’m just not sure what color I want to paint it and I’m at a place where I’ve made peace with it, so it might stay as is for a while longer.


Some people don’t “get” the plates on the wall thing, but I obviously love them.


If you ever go shopping with me, you’ll see a clear leaning towards old dishes, especially white ironstone and blue & white patterns.

Miss Mustard Seed-1991

I have stacks in my house and it’s still what I always go to.  I love displaying the collection in hutches, cabinets and, yes, even on the walls and in rooms where plates don’t usually belong.  I just don’t subscribe to the idea that dishes should only decorate dining rooms.  


Once the master sweet was clean and fluffed, I turned my attention to the family room.  Do you remember the pair of French chairs I upholstered for my house a year or so ago?  They’ve lived in several rooms in our house…


…and they were most recently in the family room.

A couple of weeks ago, I was soaking in the bath and I hear a scuffle, followed by a crack.  I then heard fragments of a conversation…Jeff saying, “No more of this game.” ..one of the boys saying, “Mom’s going to be so mad.”  I started to go through the things in my head that they could’ve broken that I would be so mad about.  Believe it or not, I’m pretty relaxed about spills, chips, dings, scratches, etc.  We don’t tolerate destruction, but accidents are going to happen and I’m quick to remind my boys that stuff is just stuff.

Before I went into the family room, Jeff prepped me.

“The boys were rough-housing and they broke one of the chairs.”

“Which one?”

“One of the ones with the white fabric and the blue stripe…”

“One of the FRENCH CHAIRS?!  How did it break it?!  How is it broken?!

My heart sank when I saw the back of the frame on one of the French chairs I upholstered in antique grain sacks was cracked in two.  God timed that chair breaking perfectly, because He knows seeing it happen live would’ve caused me to be way too harsh.  As I struggled to see if the frame could be repaired, I was disappointed, but not angry.  I was able to speak to the boys with perspective.

I moved the chair that wasn’t broken back to the home office and brought the pair of green velvet French chairs from the studio.  I had four of these for sale at the Lucketts Spring Market last year.  Two of them sold and I’ve held onto the other two to strip and reupholster, but I just haven’t gotten around to it.


They actually look really nice in the family room exactly as they are.  I love how they pull out the green from the cow painting (Gwendolyn).


I need to make some pillows that pop a bit more, but I like how the green breaks up the blue and white.


The frames are a bit on the orange side, but that’s not all that noticeable in the overall space.


Today didn’t go as planned, but I can say I had more fun doing what I did than removing a toilet!

hanging plates & swapping chairs

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49 Comments on “hanging plates & swapping chairs”

  1. My boys were rough housing and they crashed onto a delicate coffee table, breaking it beyond repair. I was bummed since it had nice legs and carving and I had gotten it for a good deal. It was probably much too impractical for a house with four boys. Next time I went to the thrift store I saw a large maple coffee table – very heavy and substantial and even good looking. I told the guy selling it my sad tale and he assured me the one I was looking at was boy-proof. He was right; we even use it for extra seating, although it takes two people to lift it.

    BTW, even though I don’t get chippy furniture, I do “get” plates on the wall. They can be beautiful works of art.

    1. Jaclyn: I bought 2 of these green chairs from Marion at Lucketts last year. I have been thinking about selling them because I can’t make them work in my house unfortunately.. I am in Gainesville Virginia. Email me if interested: mary_elizabeth@comcast.net

  2. The green chairs do look nice. I got a dog to learn to not be too attached to things. Though I didn’t know that when I got her.

  3. Love the green chairs and how clever to hang a casserole lid along with the plates. So often you see lids for sale but don’t know what to do with just the lid. Very clever.

  4. My bedroom is a beautiful shade of soft blue-gray on both walls and ceilings and matching carpet. My husband put in lots of gorgeous soft white crown moulding with teardrops and it really sets it off with dark traditional furniture. We had a pair of chartreuse green velvet wingback chairs belonging to his parents and I decided to put them in the room and, wow, do they ever look striking against the soft blue. I would never have planned it that color combination, but it certainly ended up looking like a decorator helped me. Your chairs remind me of mine…very pretty

  5. I’m loving your plate display! Can you please tell me what colour the dresser and side chairs are painted in the first picture? Thank you.

    1. They actually aren’t painted, if you can believe it. I had the chair frames stripped down to the raw wood and I bought the dresser like that off of Craig’s List.

  6. I love when you do posts like this! I did a plate wall in my dining room. I bought most of my plates at yard sales and did not want to spend more on the hangers than I did on the plates, plus did not like the plate “grips” showing. So I used Gorilla Glue and some picture brackets that fit on the back of pictures and glued them to the back of the plates, then hung them up on nails just like you do a picture. Plates have been up for over a year and have not fallen. Just have to let the glue and the brackets dry over night before hanging.

  7. Gosh, that arrangement of plates over the dresser is beautiful. Those two mottled blue ones (love!) match the dresser so well. And you’re right, the green velvet brings out the painting – love that too.

  8. Boys will be boys! Out of an unfortunate accident, a lovely addition and touch of spring in the middle of winter’s last gasp! Love, love, love the addition of the green velvet chairs and their natural wood as is! It is the icing on the cake to your neutral decor! Wish they were mine!

  9. Clearly that dresser is crying out for Artissimo! It would be the perfect pop of dark blue in your room, and a nice masculine color for your husband’s dresser. The plates above it, and the casserole on top would play very nicely with it as well. I can totally picture it already.

  10. I LOVE what the green chair does in that space – so perfect! Yep, kids are more important than things, but sometimes it does take a moment to catch your breath when it’s something you really liked.

  11. Ah yes, rough housing – I know it well. I have basketball marks on my freshly painted kitchen ceiling, trim and walls. Really guys? And, regarding the dresser – I love it the way it is. It adds warmth without being heavy and dark. I’m so jealous of your tidiness and organization. This is something I’m going to tackle throughout the spring. It’s almost March! It’s awfully cold now, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel.

  12. I love the green chairs in the living room, too! I need to commit to memory Shauna’s words of wisdom. I’ve been hanging things in our sorta new house, and I find I’m so anxious about it. Ridiculous! As for Jeff’s dresser, I think it looks pretty as is. But the comment above about Artissimo did sound intriguing!

  13. I love, love, love, those green chairs! They move your eye from the green in the painting to the green in the chair. Now a few more green ‘pops’ and you are all set. Gorgeous. I love all the white and blue, but the green warms things up a bit. I have been drooling over those green chairs ever since you first posted them.

  14. I am planning to take a toilet out and work on tile today too! I live in WI and am wondering if there is something I don’t know about turning off the water when it is below freezing? Is this something I should hold off on? Thanks!

  15. In general, I love the look of the old plates on the wall and any wall is fair game. And my husband is pretty agreeable to all of my decorating ideas, but I just could never subject him to the delicateness of plates over HIS dresser! Without him commenting, I just would never go that far. It is after all, his house too, and some times a man just has to feel like a man! My husband is in no way “macho”, but I just couldn’t do that to him! You my dear, have, I hope you know, a wonderful man!

  16. BTW- love the green chair addition. Lovely with your leather sofa. Nice and cozy looking for fall and winter, but with the right springtime fabric pillow it will be perfect for a cool feeling this spring and summer. Sometimes accidents aren’t accidents at all…

  17. Paint the dresser a blue that matches your drapes and the flow blue plates. Perhaps even a painted design treatment that mirrors the design of the drapes or the plates above.

  18. I like the green chair in that space, I noticed right away how it brought out the green in your cow picture, even before I even read your comment about it. And the wood on the chair actually matches the color of your sofa. I love everything you do!

  19. Days like this are absolutely the best kind……fresh and clean and things that make you smile and totally not what was planned for the day. Love those days! And Gwendolyn……that name gets me every time as that is my sister’s name! LOL

  20. What’s not “to get” with hanging plates? 😉 🙂 I’m like you I have always been drawn to dishes so to be able to hang them on the wall is a bonus. 🙂 I haven’t hung any in bedrooms yet, but I think seeing yours may have me on a hunt for some for a couple of spots in my bedroom. 🙂 As always, thanks you for the inspiration.

  21. I love hanging plates on the walls too…and even some shallow bowls. I love that you even included a lid in your arrangement. Do you have any suggestions for good strong hardware to them securely?
    Thanks so much.

  22. So sorry about your French chair, but I do think the green looks very nice!

    Pattie, I haven’t tried them yet, but I bought some plate hangers at Hobby Lobby. I think they’re called plate discs. They have a large round adhesive circle that attaches to the back of the plate and a ring at the top to hang over a nail in the wall (or I guess you could hang them on a hook or a screw.). 🙂 I’m guessing they have them at other craft stores too, and probably on Amazon.

    1. I’ve tried the Discs from Hobby Lobby and love them. I tend to use the next size up than what the weight of my plate calls for, just for extra assurance. Also, make sure you follow the directions exactly as I had one that didn’t stick in one spot and be sure to let them cure overnight before hanging. Mine have been up for several months and no problems!

  23. I like how the green pos too! Just think, you may never have noticed that without the broken chair!

  24. I love dishes in general, but certain ones, too. I am very fond of ironstone and my hexagonal white Johnson Bros. ironstone dinner set specifically. I am always tempted when I go to thrift stores or antique shops or junk shops to take home a dish or two that catch my eye. I have my grandmother’s Depression Ware and quite a few of her beautiful bowls and serving dishes. My problem is that I live in a small ranch house and the storage is limited. So what can I do with all my precious acquisitions? Well, thanks to your example, I will hang some on my walls! Maybe even in the bathroom!

    Such fun to learn what you are doing and thinking and creating. Thanks for the time you take to share it all.

  25. love plates on the wall…anywhere in the house….simple and beautiful, what more could you want???? also, love the casserole dish for men’s “junk” (amazing how much stuff they accumulate in their pockets!!)……..and, the green chair looks so pretty in the family room…was it meant to be???

  26. Oh my, I agree…..that green velvet looks stunning with the cow painting in the background. I’m not normally a “green” person, but this is gorgeous! Your style is one that I am always drawn to.

  27. God knows what he’s doing~ When one door closes another one usually opens : ) I’m sorry about your chair and am feeling the boys are too~ I do like the green chairs a lot!

    What about putting a “J” hanging down in the middle of the rectangular platter above Jeff’s dresser. Something “manly” : )

    Thanks for sharing all you do Marian,

  28. Sorry about your chair, but I love your solution! That green adds so much, and I noticed right away how the wood compliments your sofa. Marian, your home has such an air of serenity, rowdy boys and all!

  29. Love the green chairs…they look just right in there. I’d be crushed about the broken chair; I know I shouldn’t be so attached but it was so pretty. Good for you for having such perspective about it. I love plates on the wall. I just did a little project for Valentine’s Day and took four plates of my good china (Spode Mansard) and added a red vinyl letter in Edwardian script on each plate…all four plates spell “Love” and I hung two of them on each side of our big screen t.v. It looks great!

  30. I love unexpected days, but not unexpected broken chairs. I’m so sorry, but life happens doesn’t it?

    I think your green chairs look lovely in your room. The wood complements your sofa and the green adds a bit of spring feel to your room…something I know you all need back east.

    Spring will come…eventually 🙂

    Blessings to you~

  31. Hi Marian, I have to agree with Tina, when I first saw Jeff’s dresser I thought “What a perfect shade.” I thought that you had refinished it! I like that the finish matches the chairs on either side and I think it matches your bed frame nicely. I know that you do such a beautiful job on everything that you touch, but I like the finish that is on it now 🙂

  32. By the time I read your posts, Marian, you have a thousand comments and I wonder what I could possibly add. But, this time, I’ll say bravo about the chair. While the boys should know you’re sad about something you loved, being broken, they will always know that they’re more important than a piece of furniture.
    Green is good!,

  33. We ended up getting a huge mahogany antique dining table with 3 leaves and 8 chairs free from a family with rowdy boys! The boys had already broken 2 of the chairs which were beyond repair, so even though they’d inherited the set, the family decided it wouldn’t work for them.

    They had no luck selling it so gave it away and we were the lucky recipients. After renting a truck to haul it home and buying stain and new fabric and trim, we have about $300 in it, but it’s beautiful and was a gift to us because of those little boys! 🙂

    See it here http://lasthomebeforeheaven.com/mahagony-dining-table-and-chairs-free-to-a-good-home/

  34. I’m partial to greens like you are to blues, so I LOVE the addition of your new green velvet French chairs. If anything a nice coat of milk paint at some point in the future would tame that slightly orange finish. It really does make Gwendolyn pop! However sad you are about the chair that was broken, a nice result ensued. And I’m sure your boys learned a lesson in being a little less exuberant around the furniture!
    I hope you decide not to paint your husbands dresser. It is such a lovely piece and highlights your other pieces so beautifully as it is. Not that it wouldn’t be gorgeous painted as well. I’ve yet to see a piece you’ve done that wasn’t. Marie

  35. I agree, Jeff’s dresser would look amazing in a polished, dark blue. And the green chairs do give a lovely, spring pop of color. I have 2 little ones and even though I miss having grown up furniture, I know I need to have coffee tables that can have Lego and glitter on them without me freaking out. And you are right, the timing was good, if I come home and find that my upset child, worried what I will think, has broken something, I get my priorities in order just like you did. Great post, Marian!

  36. Love the plates, and I too do that often. Your symetry is nice. The green chairs, in my humble opion, look much better than the grainsack version. Rooms need the warmth of unpainted wood tones and the green adds much needed color. You do beautiful work. Thank you for the blog!

  37. Hi Marian!
    I love the way your display those gorgeous dishes on your room. They turned out very beautiful!
    I’m so sorry to hear about your chair. Love your attitude about it thou!! I have to say that the boxwood green chairs look really nice in your family room. They compliment all the little touches of green perfectly!!

  38. My 15 yr old learning to drive, backed the pickup into my car in the driveway. He was helping bring firewood into the house and was so upset. My husband, waited an hour, and then prepped me too. He whispered it to me and said not to say anything. He knew that if I got upset, our son would not try backing up again.
    Car doors are replaceable.

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