More than 1,000 years ago, the art of decorating porcelain dishes originated in China and later these dishes were exported to Europe. As the popularity of ’fine china’ exploded across Europe, these collections expanded to include extra pieces like cocoa cups and English companies, like Spode, began manufacturing their own patterns of fine china dinnerware. From the Victorian Violets of the 1920s to midecentury Franciscan dinnerware, one thing is for certain in 2019- We have a modern china paradox; families hardly ever use it, but there’s an expectation it will be passed down, inherited, stored, and then what? For many of us, a set of china reminds us of cherished memories and family traditions while for others the dishes only fill up the precious commodity of space.  Here are a few various ways to use inherited sets of dishes.


Use it. From everyday ware to special holidays, regularly incorporate the dishes into your routine. Let the little kids in the house play “dress up” tea and use the teapot and cups and saucers. Decorate your walls by hanging plates. 


Repurpose it. Plant a flower in a cup and saucer. Transform the plates into a tiered cake stand. Chipped plates? Break them and turn the shards into mosaics or trivots. Word to the wise- seek out a professional to help with some of these projects! Otherwise, you might shed a lot of tears over broken glass or a bloody finger. 


Give away. Maybe a niece is moving to graduate school and needs a set of dishes. Maybe you like a charity’s mission of helping people get back on their feet. Going this route allows you to clear some space and rest knowing the dishes are put to use. 


Sell. Depending on the pattern and condition of the set, you can try to sell on Replacements, Ebay or Craigslist, and buy a set of dishes more to your liking. 


Keep it packed. Perhaps you remember the feeling of delight when you received it or you are just plain sentimental. The only person possibly inconvenienced by holding onto the set of dishes is you. Pack it securely, add some personal notes of why it means so much to you, and decide at a later time whether you want to keep it in the family or not. 


Have you ever inherited a set of china? What did you ultimately do with it?