How to Make a Floor to Ceiling Plate Rack on a Wall

A floor to ceiling plate rack wall that looks built-in doubles as a place for decorative storage as well as a way to enhance an awkward wall that is hard to decorate. Making a wall plate rack for your home is easy to customize to fit a wall of any size.

Photos of plate display ideas for walls.

Photo credits: Pinterest | French Garden House | Hymns and Verses

I have always liked wall plate racks, but had a large china hutch in my previous home and didn’t really need another place to display my collection of white plates, pitchers and platters.

Now, after living without a dining room and that hutch in my current home for 5 years, I miss seeing my collection and wanted to find a way to display more of it in my kitchen.

I have the collection of white pitchers and soup tureens on the open shelves in my kitchen, but the platters have been hidden in my china closet.

Chalkboard wall in kitchen

I have the perfect wall for a floor to ceiling wall plate rack and made the decision to go for it so I could display my decorative plates.

Bye-bye chalkboard wall. I enjoyed you for the last few years, but change is a good thing, especially in decorating as our lives and tastes evolve.

For anyone who wants to know, it was easy to remove the chalkboard paint by rolling over two coats of KILZ Premium primer and then two coats of Sherwin Williams semi-gloss in the color Pure White that is on the kitchen cabinets.

There are many ways to create a plate rack wall. If you want to see just how many, do a search for “plate rack walls” on Google or Pinterest and you will see. :-) Inspiration abounds!

Plate rack wall is in between living room and kitchen.

I wanted a simple classic wooden plate rack painted white where the plates would stay secure. I went with the two guard style where a strip of lattice moulding is placed over each shelf as well as a safety rail 2″ above the lattice for each shelf.

I also chose to stop the vertical sides of the frame at the top shelf’s safety rail. If there wasn’t crown molding already at the ceiling line, I would have taken the rack all the way to the ceiling.

How to Make a Floor to Ceiling Plate Rack on a Wall

Spacing measurements and wood needed to make a plate rack on a wall.

A Few Things to Consider When Making a Plate Rack Wall

Where to Hang a Plate Rack?

A plate rack can go on any wall you want. The narrow wall between my kitchen and living room was the perfect place for mine. Look around your home to see if there is wall you can build a floor to ceiling plate rack wall.

How Deep Do You Want the Shelves?

Figure out what you want to display on your rack. Do you want beautiful plates to be layered on the shelves or single. Would you like to add items besides plates and platters?

For instance cookbooks, cutting boards, candlesticks or a plant? Once you know, measure the objects to see what shelf depth will be needed to hold the items so you can buy wood that is that right depth.

I wanted simple and clean lined and went with the depth of a 2-inch shelves. I found many plate racks that used 1 x 3’s. Customize it to be just right for your needs.

What Should the Distance Be Between Shelves?

There is no right or wrong distance that should be between the shelves. Most plate racks have the same distance between each shelf, but since you are custom making one, you get to decide what the space between the shelves should be.

Figure out what items you want to display on your rack to come up with how much space there should be. For my rack, I like the look of a larger space on the bottom that gradually gets smaller with each shelf as you move to the top.

I made the bottom two shelves 17-inches apart. The space between the shelves after these get smaller by an inch. 17″ – 17″- 16″- 15″- 14″ 13″.

What Style Plate Guard Rail Do You Like?

You can use a few different things for the plate guard rails. Lattice strips, screen molding, dowels, even metal pipe.

How Will You Attach It To Your Wall?

After looking at quite a few plate racks on Pinterest, I decided that I would have to build my rack on the floor first and then attach to the wall.

I had to do it this way since the wall my rack went on is hollow – there were no studs. My DIY plate rack has a built-in look, but you can hang a smaller rack using picture hangers.

Step-By Step: Building a Plate Rack Wall

The wall my rack is on is hollow. To make sure I could securely attach it, I made the outer frame on my worktable and then moved it to the wall. Once the frame was secure on the adjacent wall using long wood screws, I added the shelves.

Option: Depending on your wall, you can build the frame right in place on the wall.

supplies needed:

  • 1 x 2 primed boards
  • 1 – 1/4″ primed lattice strip
  • 1 inch screen molding – flat not ribbed
  • Mitre or circular saw
  • Tape Measure
  • 2″ wood screws
  • Brad nailer and 2-inch brad nails or hammer and finishing nails
  • If using a hammer and nails, Nail punch to countersink nails.
  • Bubble level
  • Paint Sherwin Williams Pure White -semi-gloss
  • 1″ angled paint brush
  • Small paint roller
  • Spackle
  • Caulk
  • Painter’s tape
  • 100-grit sandpaper

Time needed: 5 hours

How to Make a Floor to Ceiling Plate Rack on a Wall That Looks Built In

  1. Measure Wall Space

    Measure the area on the wall where you would like the plate rack to be.

    Figure out how many shelves you want your rack to have. One way to determine this is to gather what you are going to display on the rack and measure the sizes to make sure they will fit where you envision them going.

    For instance, I wanted larger items at the bottom and smaller at the top of my rack, so I made the space between the bottom two shelves 17 inches. After these measurements, the space between the rest of the shelves is one inch less for each shelf.

    Figure out how to space your shelves when making a plate rack for a wall.

  2. Sketch Out Your Plan

    Once you know your measurements and the amount of shelves needed, draw out your rack plan on paper to figure out how much wood you will need to buy.

    Hand drawn plan for my plate rack.

  3. Vertical Wood Height

    When figuring out the distances between the shelves, don’t forget to figure in what length the vertical outer frames pieces of wood should be so the top safety rail is flush with them when you add the shelves.
    Top most section of DIY built in plate rack wall.

  4. Assemble Frame

    Lay out the cut to size 1 x 2’s on your work table and create the outer frame using 1′ x 2’s.

    Next: Measure the distance between the inside edge of the left and right 1 x 2’s and cut two 1 x 2’s for the bottom of the frame which is the bottom shelf and one for the top shelf.

    Attach one side of each shelf to the frame. The other side of each will be attached once you hang it on the wall where you will be able to level each one before securing.

    Assembling wood 1 x 2's to make a plate rack.

  5. Use a Countersinking Drill Bit

    When attaching frame and shelves together, use a countersinking drill bit to recess the heads of the screws.

    Countersinking drill bit

  6. Repeat for Each Shelf

    How to Build a Plate rack from scratch.

  7. Move Frame to Wall

    Once you have your outer frame made with the one end of each shelf attached, move it to the wall and secure to the wall.

    Adding plate rack frame to wall.

  8. Use Wood Screws to Attach to the Wall

    I used 2″ and 3″ wood screws to attach the frame to walls.

    How to attach a plate rack frame to a wall

  9. Attach Horizontal Shelves

    Place the first shelf piece of wood inside the frame. Make sure it is level before securing it to the wall with brads or nails. Countersink all nails.

    Level each shelf before securing.

  10. Spackle, Caulk and Paint the Frame and Shelves

    Spackle over areas where you countersunk any nails. Caulk around edges if needed. Paint the plate rack frame and shelves. Let dry.

    Spackle over wood screw holes

  11. Add Guard Rails

    To determine how wide to make the front guard piece (lattice) and the safety rail (screen molding), measure from the outside edge of the frame.

    Cut both the 1 – 1/4″ lattice strip and the 1″ screen molding to this measurement. You will need one of each for each shelf. Sand cut edges smooth.

    Building a plate rack on a narrow wall in a kitchen.

  12. Attach the Guard Piece

    Attach the 1 – 1/4″ lattice. To do this, place the lattice over the horizontal 1 x 2 shelf so that the bottom of the lattice is flush with the bottom of the horizontal 1 x 2 shelf. Attach with finishing nails, countersink if necessary. Repeat this process for each shelf.

    How deep should a plate rack be?

  13. Attach the Safety Rail

    Place a 1″ piece of screen molding 2″ up from the top of the lattice. Attach with finishing nails.

    Close up of plate rack in kitchen.

  14. Paint the Front Guards and Safety Rails

    If needed, Spackle and caulk, then paint. Let dry.

    Wood Guard and safety rail placement on wood plate rack

  15. Place Plates and Platters

    Once the paint touch-ups are dry, fill your rack with your collection of plates, platters and other items.

    Floor to ceiling built in DIY plate rack wall

Completed platter and plate rack on kitchen wall.

Plate Rack Wall In White Kitchen. Text overlay says Make It Plate Rack Wall

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  1. Damayanti says:

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  2. Looks beautiful! I envy people that have wall space in their kitchen for hanging things. Maybe someday:)

  3. I’ve wanted to do a version of this for a long time but I do not have any wall space available! A couple of years ago I placed a tall bookcase at the closed end of floor to ceiling cabinets where I have my cookbooks, some decorative birdhouses and some pretty China pieces on display. I love how well it works for me. I think that between the two, I wouldn’t trade my bookcase for the plate rack….but if I had some wall space I’d find a way to have both! Good job, Diane and thanks for sharing. Like your new picture, too. And I love that huge clock in the family room!

  4. Stacy See says:

    You are so talented! The plate rack looks great!

  5. Terri Driggers says:

    Good morning…. Just now seeing this post… Incredible !!! Just beautiful !!!!!! Thank you for sharing this beautiful project!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Thanks Terri – It has been a week now since I finished the plate rack and every time I pass it, I think… now why didn’t I make this sooner. The wall is perfect for it.

  6. Stephanie A says:

    Your plate rack wall is absolutely stunning, Diane. Thanks as always for sharing your ideas, skills, and positive inspiration and encouragement. Today’s post is one of my favorite Diane-creations!! I appreciate you.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Stephanie – Thank you and also for reading my blog and taking the time to comment and connect with me. I really appreciate you – without wonderful readers like you, I wouldn’t have a blog. :-)

  7. This is such a nice addition to your kitchen & while the chalk board wall was nice, this really brightens things up. You are so talented to have designed & built this yourself.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Linda – I am very happy that I decided to make the rack. The white rack and plates really does lighten up the room.

  8. Hi Diane,

    You are amazing – what a great idea. Thanks for sharing

  9. You know, Diane, I love all your projects, but this one is my all time favorite! What a great use of a small-ish space. You are so clever! I’ve got to figure out where to put this in my home ?

  10. Nice job. I have NO wall space left; otherwise, i’d be dragging out the wood right now!!

  11. That turned out great! I love how you can see your collection now and that the wood platter adds some color and warmth. Nice job, as usual!

  12. Diane, As usual you’ve hit a home run with this project. I have 2 spots that could work in my kitchen. The thermostat is on one of the walls and this might be a great camouflage for that–just another white spot on display :) Thanks for sharing your creative mind with us!!

  13. Looks fantastic ?
    But can’t believe you’ve been there 5 years already ?

  14. Deanna Rabe says:

    Thanks for sharing this DIY plate rack. It’s well done and looks great!

  15. Nan, Odessa, DE says:

    Good job on the plate rack!
    Please share the bread board when you make it! I like bread and cutting boards but find the cost to high to purchase Will your board be treated so it is useful with food?
    I enjoy adding hanging garland on my plate rack.
    Be well!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Nan – I will write a post about making a bread board. I don’t plan to use it for food, just decor as I have big cutting board on my kitchen cart island that I use. But I know I will give options. Hanging garland on your rack is a great idea. Thanks for sharing.

  16. Absolutely beautiful! I love all the white & brightness it adds to your home instead of the heavier looking blackboard & I also love the addition of the round cutting board at the bottom along with your beautiful collection.

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Holly – Thanks. I enjoyed the chalkboard, but like to refresh every so often to give new energy to my house.

  17. Rebecca Mercer says:

    OMGosh, Diane, just beautiful. This project is way above my pay grade. Thank you for your budget friendly values, clever ideas and inspiration.


    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Rebecca – Making the rack wasn’t hard since the pieces of wood were small and easy to work with. I did need Ed’s help to hang it. Thanks for the nice note. :-)

  18. Wow! beautiful! I continue to be impressed with all you can do and your great ideas ?

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi Susan – Thank you. :-)

  19. I think this suits your personality more than the chalk board. It had a time and place but this is perfect for your home. Well done!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      Hi K – I agree. I liked the chalkboard, but LOVE the plate rack. I didn’t realize how much I missed seeing the white platters out on display.

  20. Diane,
    You’ve done it again ! I love this. I’ve been wanting to make a similar plate rack for my kitchen!
    This post is a keeper!!

    1. Diane Henkler says:

      This is great to hear Cyndi. Thanks.