A dining room ought to be a tranquil space in which to indulge in peaceful repasts with no bother of cluttered stacks of plates or dull usable storage. You can always park a traditional breakfront in there against a wall and show the inherited bone china or the astonishing plates you have collected from local flea markets. A better approach may be to keep your china in unexpected ways, using the storage room to enhance the room’s decor.
The Art of the Plate Rack
When floor space is at a premium, utilize salvaged antique plate racks as both storage and art on the walls. Oversize plate racks hold your whole dinnerware collection, especially in the event that you hang matching heels jointly or on walls. Old racks may have beadboard backing, distressed paint and decorative molding that frames a shirt that becomes another shelf, or you’ll be able to add those embellishments yourself. If you’re lucky, you’ll find that the style of plate rack which slots in plenty of dishes sideways. But the screen kind, meant to flaunt plates facing arrival, will hold a lot of dishes and dishes when the racks are large enough. Just be sure to hang racks securely at the wall studs to support the burden of your china collection.
Following the Books
A little wood bookcase may be only enough to make the difference at a modest dining room. Paint the bookcase, inside and outside, in a color that either contrasts sharply with the walls or combinations into them. A persimmon bookcase against lilac walls or a dove-gray bookcase to match dove-gray walls produces a focal point or contributes to this feeling of order and calm. Fit the bookcase with equal cable or wicker baskets to carry china, platters and other serving dishes. The bookcase will be sturdy enough to support the weight of this dinnerware. The baskets keep things tidy and neat looking. And the economical “china cabinet” takes up very little room for several of the storage it affords.
Corner China Cabinet
Make the most of unused space at a corner beside a short wall by building in a triangular corner cabinet to carry the china. Combine the cabinet using the lights by painting it to match the walls, then scaling it the same height as the curtain poles, or running the crown molding across it to integrate the angle to the room. The top half of this cabinet may be accessible shelving to stack and show dishes. Cut-out wood framing gives it a finished or more decorative look. The bottom must have doors that shut over clumsy mismatched serving platters and oversize pieces. Wasted space becomes attractive, valuable storage real estate in the room, and you’re able to flank a window wall using two corner cabinets for balance plus a boatload of storage room for a large china collection.
Draw on the old kitchen cabinets to the dining room, wave your paintbrush, and make clever and quirky china storage for a song. Give the cabinets a coat of paint and new decorative hardware. Bolt them together and finesse the borders with molding together the base and sides so they seem to be one solid piece of furniture. Add a countertop which doubles as a serving station — a metal counter or a slab of butcher block, marble or granite is durable, utilitarian and decorative. Paint the wall above the cabinets with chalkboard paint and hang rustic wooden shelves on it — each as long as the cabinet underneath. Store china in the lower cabinets, and cups, glasses and serving pieces on the shelves. Scribble menus, notes and recipes about the chalkboard wall.