This inexpensive accessory will add instant rustic charm to any kitchen – and these 5 spaces prove it

Plate racks are as practical as they are stylish, and there are plenty of ways to add one to your kitchen

Plate racks
(Image credit: deVOL/Naked Kitchens)

A timeless kitchen feature, plate racks add easy charm and function to any scheme. Left in a natural wooden finish or painted in the same hue as the wall it sits on, there is no better way to store your tableware aesthetically.

Take a look inside almost any rustic kitchen, the chance is you will find a plate rack. They can offer the lived-in style this year's trends are embracing by introducing an imperfect yet timeless design element.

Plate racks are as practical as they are stylish, so it's really no surprise they've endured as a traditional kitchen must-have. Here, we've asked kitchen experts why this kitchen accessory continues to be so popular, and how to successfully introduce one to your scheme.

5 ways to introduce a plate rack to your kitchen

Whether your kitchen design is traditional and timeless or leans more modern, there are plenty of plate rack ideas to suit almost any scheme. While they suit classic, rustic schemes the most, recent years have seen plate racks making an appearance in a variety of kitchen designs.

1. A plate rack painted to match the cabinetry

Rustic kitchen with a plate rack and cabinetry painted deep red

(Image credit: deVOL)

A plate rack is a traditional alternative to upper cabinetry, so make a statement with your design. In this kitchen, an oversized plate rack fills the wall and has been painted to match the lower cabinets. Contrasting with the white brick walls and ceiling beam, the space feels rustic with an err of elegance.

'If you feel that something is worth investing in and is going to add beauty and function to your home then our recommendation is to make sure you embrace its size and color and make it a worthwhile feature,' says Helen Parker, creative director of deVOL Kitchens.

'Paint it the same color as your kitchen cupboards and it will become an integral part of the room and so much more interesting and useful than a shelf! Because these pieces are often seen in 'under the stair' kitchens of grand stately homes, we feel a somber yet strong bold color is a good choice,' she adds.

2. Embrace a rustic scheme with a wooden plate rack

Wooden wall-mounted plate rack in a traditional style olive green kitchen

(Image credit: deVOL)

To embrace traditional kitchen ideas, opting for a plate rack with a natural wood finish adds rustic appeal to a scheme. Dark wood in particular works in more classic kitchens, whereas a lighter wood would feel better placed in a Scandinavian kitchen.

'A plate rack can really add something special to a kitchen. This traditional and historical piece is beautiful to look at and enormously useful,' explains Helen. Take it one step further by locating the plate rack near the cooking area so everything you need is within easy reach.

In this kitchen, a very traditional scheme has been achieved with a range cooker, ceiling pot rack, and olive green shaker-style kitchen cabinets. The addition of the wooden plate rack in place of the upper cabinets ties in beautifully with the rest of the scheme, resulting in a truly classic aesthetic.

3. Add a plate rack between other storage

yellow and blue kitchen with wood paneling, open shelving and a traditional sink skirt

(Image credit: Vaughan Design & Development / Photography Chris Snood)

If you don't have a huge collection of plates to store, a full-sized plate rack isn't quite right. While a plate rack in itself adds a charming feature, leaving it half empty will look odd. Instead, opt for a smaller-scale version to suit your kitchen.

A small plate rack by itself might look lost in the space, so adding it between two cabinets or shelves will make it feel like part of the larger kitchen storage. Sticking to open storage maintains that sense of rustic style while allowing you to display your favorite pieces.

The blue paneled wall in the kitchen helps the dark wood plate rack to stand out and become the main feature of the design. Paired with the cabinet skirt and terracotta floor tiles, the space has an authentic rustic flair.

4. Create a plate rack between floating shelves

Blue and pink kitchen with a plate rack integrated into the floating shelving

(Image credit: Naked Kitchens)

If your kitchen style leans more modern rustic, a traditional-style plate rack won't be the best fit, so introducing it in a way that feels in-keeping with the rest of your kitchen design will ensure it feels on-trend, rather than dated.

'Plate racks are a super neat way to store plates. It's a win-win as not only are they functional, but they also look great. The plates are easy to get to and pop away, and different-sized plates can be housed without stacking, avoiding rummaging through the plate tower and potential chipping,' says Elizabeth Sherwin, creative director of Naked Kitchens.

'Designing the plate rack bridging two floating shelves is always a firm favorite – the length of the rack can be determined by how many plates you want to store,' she adds. This kitchen's plate rack is a perfect example – the plate rack still has all the practical and aesthetic qualities but in a more appropriate way for the space.

5. Make a decorative feature with a plate rack

devol shaker kitchen with wooden beams and classic style

(Image credit: deVOL)

Traditional plate racks feature slots for the plates to be stored sideways, however, this is not the only plate rack style to consider. If your plates are decorative, you might want to display them, so opting for a plate rack that allows the plates to sit facing outwards will allow your plate storage to double up as kitchen wall decor.

This doesn't take away from the rustic appeal, though. In this farmhouse kitchen, the plate rack is the only fixture on the walls, and while it might not be the classic style, it still has a traditional feel to it with the waved edges. In this scheme the plate rack has been kept neutral, leaving all the attention to be on the striking ceiling beams.

Shop plate racks

These five spaces prove a plate rack can add rustic charm to any kitchen, it's simply a case of choosing the right size and design for your scheme. Whether you stick to a natural wood finish or paint it to match your kitchen color palette, a plate rack is one kitchen accessory you surely won't regret.

Kitchens & Bathrooms Editor

I joined the Homes & Gardens interiors team at the start of 2024 as the kitchens & bathrooms editor. My undergraduate degree was in Magazine Journalism and Production, which I studied at the University of Gloucestershire. Before joining Homes & Gardens, I worked for two interiors titles across both print and digital channels, writing about a range of topics from room design ideas and decorating trends to timeless kitchen schemes and the best places to source pre-loved homeware.