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How to Decorate with White Ware

How to Decorate with White Ware

This timeless classic fits into any style. All it takes is a little inspiration and a few simple ideas.


white dishware
Collecting all-white dishware makes elegant party-giving easy. Stacking cups and plates together is pleasing to look at and makes items easy to reach. In her butler’s pantry, KariAnne Wood built open shelving to house her collection of white ware. Working in odd numbers and layering platters behind bowls draw your eyes to the display. A soft-gray wall makes a striking backdrop to KariAnne’s collection of white ware. The plate rack provides a stunning dose of symmetry. (Photo: KariAnne Wood, via



It’s described in many ways: simple, elegant, clean, chic. Those uninspired by its attributes even refer to it as boring. The tone-on-tone displays shown here prove that white has a punch all its own that fits well into any décor style.

One easy and fun way to incorporate white into your spaces is with white ware. Loosely translated, white ware includes dishes, bowls, platters, vases and other decorative items made from vintage milk glass, Depression glass, ironstone, ceramics, porcelain and more. Its broad range of materials and styles and wide availability make it a great collectible for every budget.

As blogger and creative homeowner KariAnne Wood recalls, “I started collecting white ware about 10 years ago. My budget was small, so I wanted to reuse and repurpose my dishes in any setting. I started by collecting luncheon plates with matching punch cups. I started with four, and now my collection has grown to over 75 pieces. It’s the perfect way to always have dishes for a party. No more worrying about paper cups or plates for me!”

When creating vignettes with white ware, vary the height of items on shelves or tabletop displays. For instance, prop a platter on a plate stand or against a wall, then group interesting items in front. For interesting displays, pair an unusual shape with more simple items, stack plates and pretty cups, use plate racks or place like items together. And don’t be afraid to mix in pieces with other hues, from shimmery white with a hint of lavender or blue, to ivory with its timeless appeal.

During your next flea market trip, keep your eyes open; the hope of unearthing a fabulous design or stumbling across a great deal makes collecting white ware an adventure. “I find the best bargains at thrift stores, tag sales and estate sales,” KariAnne says. “I am always on the hunt; I never met a yard sale sign I didn’t like.”

For more information about KariAnne Wood and her great decorating ideas, visit her blog or, for more of her whiteware display ideas, click here.


by Rebecca Ittner

Photography by KariAnne Wood






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