Plate Racks come in lots of styles

MoccasinAugust 14, 2011

I've been watching this for several years. The cabinet makers seem to think that a nod to plateracks in their line for sale is totally adequate, and they all look exactly alike.

Well, I'm really fond of plate racks. They are right up there with shutters, to give a linear look to a space, plus they show a lot of pretty stuff in a way that is easy on the eye, as well as easy to access when you get ready to use something.

Plate racks I first saw were part of the British Smallbone kitchens, very lovely of course. But when I started looking at homemade kitchens, such as the ones I might build or find in my grandma's day, I see that most farmers would be able to build one to fit exactly the space they have available. Now THAT is something I can buy into!!

So I am beginning this discussion with some saved pics from my computer. I will be using one or two plate racks in my kitchen redo, since they give a more open and light feeling as compared to even glass fronted cabs. I do not plan to have UPPER CABS, although I might wind up with solid all-the-way-up tall pantry cabs flanking my fridge and maybe my dining room window seat. But we shall see what is in the budget next year.

Hmmm, this one may be the previous one from a different angle. Anyway, it features the appliance garage beneath it, right?

This one demonstrates what I mean about making one to fit your use, individual as all heck, right?

This is so simple it may have been a high school craft project?

And this one is so elegant, it is in a white kitchen collection somewhere, but it is like a wedding cake.

Then the grand finale--for now anyway--this shows an OPEN BACKED plate rack mounted over a window so light still comes through. I hung my stemware over a window, going side to side and of course that was all clear and it sparkled, even though I'd wash them frequently when dust collected. But you always have room in the dishwasher for a couple more stemware things, right? Note that there is the piece of another plate rack visible on the left, so this kitchen has many windows making upper cabs impossible, but the plate racks serve to filter some of the light AND provide storage.

And that is it for now. I still have some subjects that I want to raise questions about, so I hope you guys all need something to think about that does not require any physical effort while you get the kiddies ready for the new school year.

AND, I hope YOU have some nice dish/plate rack pictures to contribute to the thread.

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LOVE all of them. The custom one is really great and the open backed ones in front of the windows are wonderful. The dust issues could be a problem here. BUT if you did have a dish washer that would make light work of it. Also if you only had the dishes you used all the time , out, they would not really have time for dust to settle on them.

I built custom narrow shelves above counter to bottom of upper cabinet at a house many many years ago. Set the bottom of the shelf on the top of the molded counter top. Remember those?? LOL That narrow shelf held so much to glasses and even some plates , napkins and salt and pepper. I put dowels across the fronts and set plates facing forward in the slots. I think it held four plates deep which is all we needed for the two of us. I will look for a picture. Was so many years ago it is a print.

Anyway I am all for some open storage to give a small space the feeling of spaciousness. Also for editing down to what you really use and just get rid of the rest. One thing I have discovered on that line is............. I used to have several large mixing bowls. For one reason or another they disappeared down to one. Then I discovered how handy it was to just use my large 8 cup glass pyrex measuring bowl thing. And I do happen to have two of them and use both. So that made it possible to get rid of the mixing bowl set I used to have to shuffle around in the cabinet.

I am not sure when it became obvious to me to quit making so much storage for things I never used. Don't get me wrong I am all for storage. I just do not want to have to move some thing out of my way to get to something else behind or under. My goal is to be able to open cabinet or drawer one handed and pick up anything I want to use. Silly maybe but that is my story and I am sticking to it.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 2:53PM
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mama goose_gw zn6OH

I love plateracks! If I hadn't used all the glass doors on my vintage cabinets, I was thinking about sticking a platerack in there--even bought a bunch of scrap dowels at the nearest Restore (.10 each).

Thanks for all the pretty pictures. Here are some pics I've saved to drool over--a couple of them are close-ups so I could see how they were put together:

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 5:18PM
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I love the look of plate racks, but I can just see them with a layer of dust in the bottom, cobwebs across the back, and no way to easily clean it.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 6:15PM
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I'm just a fount of negativity today aren't I?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 6:18PM
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Marti- LOL!

I love plate racks...and I hope to have at least one in my new kitchen. Maybe two, if I include one in the hutch, by the table.

While I like open shelves, it will never happen with my plate racks and mug hooks are about it. Maybe some glass upper cabinets, for fancy dishes (probably in the hutch).

Here are two of my favorites. Not a fan of the cabinetry color in the first picture, but I like a plate rack with mug hooks. I really like Mama Goose's first and third picture...and the one with the brackets, underneath.

ML- Your first picture, with the beadboard backsplash, is beautiful!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2011 at 9:52PM
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The 3rd pic that mama goose posted is of a plate rack that I used to have. I had a very small kitchen in my 900 sq ft cottage. I attached that plate rack to one end of the island which still left plenty of room to walk around the island. The only pic I have of it is when I was busy making totems and there is glass everywhere including plates on the rack. I won't be posting that pic!!!! I really liked it but left the rack when I sold the house. Then I found another one just like it but in antique white. I plan on attaching that one to the end of one of my cabinet runs. That will put it next to the fireplace and at the end of the bulter's pantry. I love plate racks :)

    Bookmark   August 15, 2011 at 3:35PM
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Ahhhh, MamaGoose has the motherlode of plate rack ideas!!! Thanks for sharing.

Rafor, I had copied that 3d photo Mama posted, because I think it has a charming construction. It would work very nicely in a small kitchen, either mounted on the wall instead of an upper cab, or as you did, on a countertop/island. When you install your present rack, please do consider sharing the image, because it would feature a different sort of installation or use. We can all imagine what it might look like, but really seeing it in place, in situ, gives a lot more impact to it.

Marti, some of the cabinet makers have simple racks with the set of front dowels LOOSE, so you can get to the interior by simply removing the plates and pushing the front row of dowels to the back or lifting them up. Installed, they seem to be at a 45 degree angle anyway, not vertical. But the one that Rafor refers to, which has dowels only at the back and in the bottom of the shelf middle, that is more like the traditional British plate racks that they had mounted over the kitchen sinks, where plates/dishes could drain after being washed. I guess that made them DISH racks?

    Bookmark   August 16, 2011 at 11:00AM
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Oh my goodness, havent been on the forums in ages, imagine my surprise when I hopped on today and reading away..... the fifth picture (small red one) of a platerack was one I made. Not a school project but one I did early on in my DIY career :) It was a rescue from the curb, dont know what it was originally. I added legs and some other pieces, painted it to match some other accessories in my kitchen and have used it for years on my countertop. Fun seeing the other photos, I love plate racks!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2011 at 10:02AM
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While I love their charm, I thought (call me naive)the more recent popularity of plate racks had to do with the fact that larger plates of the past 10-15 years DO NOT FIT in a standard cabinet with closed doors. That is the reason I went with open shelving when redoing the kitchen 5 years ago. My dinner plates are 11 1/2"... the cabinet interiors are 11 1/4".

Is this not the same sort of 'planned obsolescence' as when mattress mfg began making the very thick mattresses... standard sheets no longer fit???

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 9:52AM
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Hmmm, I get your point, Kitykat.
But the modern cabinets which are only 12 inches deep are the ones which have no longevity....they are really not keeping up with the styles.

Whereas, I think that dish racks, and even OPEN SHELVING, are going to always be able to accommodate whatever we like. Dish racks have been a part of British cabs for many decades, having the dowels (for want of a better word) of the rack mounted above the sink area to let freshly washed dishes drain over the sink. It seems to me that they planned on change, because such a dishrack accommodates small and large, unless you specifically exclude big or small. That's why some of the racks are wide/deep at the bottom and narrow/shallow at the top.

There are many STYLES of dish racks, the squared off types you see in manufactured cabs today are not as multifunctional as the independent ones of old. What I plan to have in my new kitchen is a pretty much open concept. It can be had in wood or in stainless steel. IKEA, those innovative folks with multiple materials, have both wooden and stainless shelving and I get lots of ideas from them, even though I might not buy their version of the idea.

And I have lots of the bigger plates that I buy on sale from Pfalzgraff, but they are calling them "platters." Those are usually gorgeous earthenware, which I love, and I want it to be displayed. You can put the big plates/platters into an open dishrack, platerack, at an angle (like in a parking lot) so they show their faces a little more. They don't HAVE to be squared up perpendicular to the back of the cabinet. If the shelves are far enough apart to accept the big plate diameter, then the doors will close fine. But I would not WANT my plate rack to be behind a door, would you? I think that sort of defeats the purpose of using them.

And it is not simply good for displaying plates. If you have a couple of sets of dinnerware that you use at different occasions, (not expensive china but you get the idea), then you can choose the plates you want without lifting out any design sitting on top of them. Easy as pie.

On the sheets, I know what you mean. Plus, the top sheet just doesn't come over the sides far enough even with queen sets. So I buy a king sheet to go with a queen mattress these days. And I've discovered that a full size bottom sheet CAN fit VERY TIGHTLY on a 8-10 inch thick QUEEN size foam mattress. I like the tight bottom sheet, and this works for me.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 11:40AM
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ML... gotta reply! Re: the sheets. I still have an 8" older mattress, purchased just before the SIZE CHANGE. I use sheet suspenders (3 total/ 2 come per set) twelve inches from the top, middle, and twelve inches from bottom of fitted sheets. Those suckers are tight!!! And, it feels so good not having wrinkles and lumps underneath.

My dishes are Pfalzgraff 'Naturewood' and the 11 y.o. set does look so pretty on open display. Someone mentioned dust issues. Ya just live with it and wipe off what gets used infrequently.

You also mention IKEA. I can only dream... closest one is Denver or Chicago. I'm in Kansas.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 2:40PM
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Kitykat, good to have you in the conversation here. In preparing to redo my kitchen, I just gave my DIL the rest of my Naturewood. DH thinks I have too many dishes as it is, and I want to show my Sakari Jungle pattern (won it at a bird fair years ago), and also I love the big Pfalzgraff round platters as I mentioned above.

I had some of the sheet suspenders which I'll have to find somewhere around the house. I thought they were a good idea, but I could not pick up the really thick pillowtop mattress to put them on. Now that I have the 8 inch thick foam, without a box spring on my storage bed, I might can use them. I hated to think about tossing the really good flannel full bed AL, the flannel sheet makes a good blanket for winter except the very coldest days.

And I love IKEA too. But the nearest store is 400 miles away in Atlanta for us. I am on their catalog mailing list, but they don't mail their KITCHEN cat. You have to pick one up in the store.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2011 at 3:48PM
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I found another plate rack that I really like...with mug hooks. The Aga's not bad either :)

From [Lavender Lass farmhouse pictures](
    Bookmark   September 29, 2011 at 9:53PM
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Lavender, now that seems like a real "country modern" kitchen to me. The cab doors have the big strap hinges, and there is no toe kick at the bottom. (Wonder how that might work...)
And then on the other side there is that little wooden paper towel holder with 5 small glass bottles on top. In that same corner, I see the shadow of a cable (or rope) across part of the upper left brick work surrounding the Aga. I think that might be running through a pulley to an overhead pot rack, which can be raised/lowered, and secured to a cleat on the wall. I thought I was the only one who did nautical stuff like that in my kitchen, the way I had my pot rack at my original MoccasinLanding cottage. I say that is likely because of that rolling butcherblocked topped little island, a tiny bit smaller than the same kind of island I used and kept beneath the hanging pot rack in general.....except when I needed to pull it over to use as a work top just like they are doing in THIS kitchen.

This kitchen is really big, but not as warm and cozy as I like. I guess I am a small style is better sort of person.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2011 at 4:03PM
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