butler's pantry

Today my friend Heather from Decor Fix asked me to share one of my simplest decorating tips.

And because I’m a little in awe of Heather.


(I mean wait until you see her style).

And beca
use I have a tip that I totally thought I kind of invented.

I said yes.

white milk glass

Are you ready?

Have a notepad in hand?

Sitting down?

Coffee cup and maybe a blueberry muffin for the journey?

Here it is.

Here’s the tip that I’m totally Reader’s Digesting with two little words…..

….white dishes.


1.  Mantels

If your mantel is sad and forlorn and needs a spring pick-me-up…..

…white dishes.

Add flowers and a platter.

Simple + easy + five minutes = spring mantel


2.  Bookcases

Have an empty bookcase and you’ve run out of ideas…..

….white dishes.

Add stacks of milk glass and platters and plates and a random soup tureen.

And finish it off with faux wood paper from Hobby Lobby.


3.  Hutch

Have a hutch that needs a friend…..

…..(let’s say it all together now)…..white dishes.

Add pitchers and plates and cups and random white interesting pieces that you couldn’t resist because they were only $1.00 at the junk store.

And you can always add a platter.

Just between us…..that platter really gets around.

white dishes


White dishes.

Run out and start your collection today.

You can find them at yard sales and thrift stores and junk stores and stores that rhyme with loodhill….

….and your grandmother’s attic.

It’s one of the easiest, most inexpensive, best tips that I totally thought I might have invented.

Until I watched Downton Abbey.

Mr. Carson set me straight. 🙂

Want to know how to decorate your home for free?
Click here to get my FIVE BEST secrets.


  1. Image for Chritstine Chritstine

    Karianne, I do the same but with cherubs, not dishes. I have them everywhere in different tones of cream, white, beige-y, color. Oh and silvery or gold things that shine! Your photos are so pretty and I love all your ideas. Christine

  2. Image for Christy Christy

    Yes!!! We are doing a challenge right now where we decorate a space three different ways for three months, and I chose my hutch. We have to use what we already have and my ironstone pieces are what makes it every time! Can't pass them up when I see them at thrift stores!

  3. Image for Mitzi Graff Mitzi Graff

    HaHaHa! I love that! I'm sure Mr. Carson would approve of the way you presented this idea! Beautiful pictures! Very inspiring!

  4. Image for Linda Burton Linda Burton

    Preaching to the choir! I have loved white dishes for as long as I can remember, back to Country Home magazine days. I wish I had your knack to put them together,though. Mine tend to look like I ran out of cabinet space. I think I will have to run to Hobby Lobby to get the wood grain paper. I'v been thinking of painting the back of the built-in shelves so that the dishes pop more, but this seems much easier. Thanks for ANOTHER great tip!

  5. Image for Mary Mary

    What is the paper from Hobby Lobby called? I went online and browsed (no Hobby Lobby in our area) and could not find it. Is it gift wrap or craft paper? Love the idea of backing my hutch that contains all my white ironstone in a faux wood paper!

    1. Image for Kim J. Kim J.

      Hi Mary, The paper is scrapbooking paper. I have seen it at Hobby Lobby but not sure if you can order online. They change it up so often, but it's worth a try. I do think I want to start collecting white dishes now. Regards, Kim Judice

    2. Image for Miss Kitty Miss Kitty

      I found that paper in the kids section of Michael's. It seems to be made primarily for bulletin boards? it was in a bin with other papers that purpose. It is a great deal... big roll (4' x8' maybe?) for not much money ($8-10?)... a steal if you use a coupon. It is also good to use as a background for photographing things up close.

  6. Image for MaryAlice Kenley MaryAlice Kenley

    Karianne, yay! Everything old really is new again. I decided to go with all white many years ago, because I didn't want my beautiful food to compete with the dishes design. Then several years later--BAM--hooked on white floralware. I don't even want to know if there's a 12-step program for this addiction. Much of it looks almost like McCoy, but still can be found very cheap. You might want to check it out. My total fave is a sleigh--bereft of color except that wonderful milky white. I stuff it with Christmas greens an keep it fresh from Thanksgiving until the New Year. You are the best!

  7. Image for Becky Becky

    I love milk glass and ironstone. My mom had a whole bookcase and hutch full of it. It was always filled with good stuff at Thanksgiving and Christmas. She had two different patterns and passed on one of those to my daughter. My best memories as a kid was two large milk glass vases filled with peonies my dad would cut from our yard. Our whole house smelled amazing. Love that wood grain paper too!

  8. Image for Margaret Ryall Margaret Ryall

    White dishes are my answer to everything. As I get older I'm finding it's now white vases, sculptures and anything else that can be white. I've even gone to whitish walls through out my home! I find you just never get tired of white, and it is so easy to mix with seasonal or other accent colours. But you know this already. My next love neutral falls anywhere between gray and black. Always enjoy your posts.

  9. Image for Regina Regina

    I needed matching plates for an event a few years ago, but didn't want to buy SETS of dishes, so what did I do? I sat on the floor of the clearance section of the Paducah Tuesday Morning store and sorted all their white plates until I found enough that matched ENOUGH that I could set a table that matched! LOL! LOVE me some white dishes - I just need MORE ! ;)

  10. Image for Khadija Khadija

    Is the "wood" paper from Hobby Lobby scrapbook paper or something else? It's very lovely and I need some, he he. Unfortunately I love China waaaaay too much for my own good. :P

  11. Image for Tara@lehmanlane Tara@lehmanlane

    I had the biggest argument with my husband over what dishes to register for when we were getting married. He wanted white and I wanted the most colorful ones I could find. Ha! Well 14 years later and he was totally right so glad he won and we got the white ones. They always look great and they will never go out of style:).

  12. Image for Amy W. Amy W.

    I just love you! Actually, I adore you also! Years ago, my family would giggle at me in loving my white dishes.... and well now, you've made the adoration of white dish ware a bonafide public declaration! Wishing you the best that a white winter day can bring ya! :)

  13. Image for Sami Sami

    Not Mr. Carson or his creator, Mr. Fellowes. I've been collecting and using white dishes for way longer. The open shelves of my kitchen cupboard contain white dishes standing behind some of my favorite collectibles including pure white souvenir cups with black script, a stack of white platters accented by a big black and white transfer ware one, a couple of silver luster pitchers and small silver pieces holding tiny bird's nests. Real ones. A celery vase holds pure white chunks of sand dollars. White is right. Thanks for the opportunity to show off a bit. ~Sami

  14. Image for barb barb

    Love your pictures :) I don't own a single cup, plate, or platter in white... But green you say? - oh how I ADORE Anchor Hocking Green Depression Glass and intend on copying some of your stylistic moves ;) :)

  15. Image for Kim Kim

    I've been following your blog for awhile now and have never left a comment. I just wanted to say "I adore you". Not only do I enjoy your decorating savvy, your stories, your family and so on and so on but I LOVE your sense of humor. Thank you for making me laugh today, just when I needed it.

  16. Image for Deb Deb

    Love white dishes! Every time I'm in a store and see white dishes I feel I need to buy more. Would you add dishes in a bedroom too? Just curious? Deb

  17. Image for Marisa Franca @ All Our Way Marisa Franca @ All Our Way

    You are a genius!! An absolute genius -- I am throwing all of my antique Spode china away and getting milk glass and white plates. :-) I don't have Spode nor do I have any amount of white dishes. But it is a great idea. I really like the thought of the continuity. Your house looks great. Big Hugs!! Has the snow melted?? We aren't returning until the daffodils are up and the days are 70+

  18. Image for Tracy@www.bluridgevintage.com Tracy@www.bluridgevintage.com

    What an invitation for Spring! The white just brings the fresh and renewed look of Spring. This is such an inspiration to begin getting ready for that wonderful warm time again. It's a great post. I know there are so many that are in love with Downton Abbey and I am proud to say the costume exhibition Feb 5 - May 25 will be near me in Asheville, North Carolina at the Biltmore House.

  19. Image for Julianne Mudric Julianne Mudric

    You are so funny besides being so clever. Love the idea because it is so practical. Keep up the great humor & great ideas. Julianne

  20. Image for Dana Dana

    I adore you, too! You write just like I think, so I know we would have fun hanging out together, unfortunately I am in CA. I definitely do not have your decor skills. The photos of your designs make your blog the most beautiful decor blog I've ever seen. Cheers!

  21. Image for Kris Kris

    I ogle white dishes when I'm out shopping ... haven't committed to buying any yet, but you make a very appealing argument for helping out the economy! Out of curiosity, do you ever use them to eat on, or are yours purely decorative?

  22. Image for Sue Shattuck Sue Shattuck

    LOL! I've been collecting Milk Glass for years! Did you know there is an authentic Milk Glass Collector's society? Its been part of my decorating schema for over 25 years. Oh, Karinne how I love you and your blog.

  23. Image for lisa lisa

    I inherited a complete set of Anchor Hocking white with gold trim. My parents received it a wedding gift over 60 years ago. I need to get it out of the closet and display it. Hope I can make it look as good as you make your dishes look. Love your site.

  24. Image for Michele Michele

    I love white dishes, too!!! I have a white Ironstone collection that is the staple of my decorating style every season. Who cares who invented it? You have clearly mastered it!!! :)

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