Asked on Dec 09, 2016

How can I repurpose my mom's old china?

Anne Peck
by Anne Peck
I inherited my mom's old china & it is not my style, nor do I do formal dinners. Any ideas on what to do with a 12 place setting set? (its not worth selling already tried that)
  20 answers
  • Rozmund Rozmund on Dec 11, 2016

    If it is real china, has any distinctive labelling on the back..I would get it appraised before trying to get creative...jmho

  • Diana Kaighn Diana Kaighn on Dec 11, 2016

    My good china is Blue Rose by Thomas w/10 place settings and every extra piece you could imagine. It had been in a china box since we moved (and retired) 10 years ago. I mentioned one day at a family gathering that I would not use it, no longer formally entertained, etc. and immediately a 30 yr. old granddaughter said she wanted it and would use it every day!! She has two small children but uses it every day and it is a joy to go into her home and see it being used. It warms my heart and not a box in the garage that I never looked into.

    • Rozmund Rozmund on Jan 03, 2017

      I am so happy for you...the love that surrounds this set of fine China did not want to be repurposed my is where it wants to the family...and each time it is used, with food lovingly placed upon it, in the midst of happy conversation, and later gently carressed with care to keep for perhaps even another generation, if we are still so fortunate ....wouldn't it be wonderful if any of your remaining family members recalls anything about how it came to be.....I have such a single travelled aboard a ship protected in a wooden trunk surrounded by straw, ....even the packing was sat in the basement of my mother in laws home for almost 75 one wanted it...I was allowed to pick one item from the "treasures" in the basement some 40 years ago...I picked it...loved it...and still love until this day....I have never had it appraised's monetary value means nothing to me...but the love that surrounding the giving of this bowl from the grandmother of my mother in law when she was leaving Britain as a new bride to start a new life in Canada tells me alot....why she never opened this box, I have no idea...she quickly became a mom to 4 boys and 1 daughter...perhaps that was the reason....times were tough and I sort of got the idea that her treasures once sat on a dining room table that would be breathtaking in its size and uniqueness...perhaps what she could afford just would not measure up to what her grandmother doesn't matter now...but preserving the "intention" of beauty, bounty, and prosperity some day is what counted

      and still daughter is now 63, and I know she will not appreciate it....but I will wait...a new owner will claim it....they will find each other...but I will not leave it's mystery to chance...I plan on writing up the story of this bowl...what I know of it's past, and certainly what I know of it's that the new owner whoever she or he may be cherishes it.....have a simply wonderful 2017....Roz

  • Anne, you may be able to find a class where you can choose your own colors to design and paint over them. They then get re-fired so the paint is sealed and will last forever. That way if they're sentimental, the set can still stay in the family but with a fresh hand painted style that suits your tastes. Or perhaps use the cups as planters and crockery as garden art. Here are a couple of ideas for inspiration from my Pinterest boards: and

  • Wonderiris Wonderiris on Dec 12, 2016

    You could make these stands and give them to family members so that they all have a piece of your mom/grandma/aunt etc with them. These stands can be used for a multitude of things: jewelry, snacks, soaps, makeup, special nicknacks...

    This picture is one I made from mismatched, but a friend of mine made similar ones with her mother's china set and sent them to her family, brother, sister, cousin etc. They all loved them and it allowed her mom's china (that no one wanted as a full set) to be appreciated and the memory of her mom is ever present. You don't have to drill holes in them, you could glue them into stands using small candleholders, glasses, or other items that would allow for separation.

  • Connie Connie on Dec 12, 2016

    Could a salad plate be used coordinating with other plates to make a different place setting? Save for child you might give to. What is the pattern? Maybe it is what little ole me wants!

    • See 1 previous
    • Maria Garieri Zmijewski Maria Garieri Zmijewski on Feb 17, 2024

      Most kids these days don't want ANYTHING that is anything near fussy. I hear it from ALL my friends and much stuff. the generation now is not like us...some may want something but stuff is just not passed down like it was in years disappointing....but a reality....I have had to come to terms with it....My cousin literally couldn't wait to "get rid of her mother's sterling silver when her father passed" she had "miserable memories of having to polish that crap" and wanted nothing to do with it any longer....ok then....and neither did HER children....but theirs to dispose of as they saw fit...

  • B B on Dec 12, 2016

    If they really aren't worth anything but have some sentimental value break them and create stepping stones or trivets.

    • Erin Erin on Dec 12, 2016

      Be careful with that idea. If you don't have porcelain or the china is really old and you live in a colder place, the china will split.

      Experience speaking here.

  • Nan7503035 Nan7503035 on Dec 14, 2016

    Have you tried This company buys china. You never know who has the same pattern and is looking to replace broken items. Worth a shot!

    • Laura Laura on Jan 06, 2017

      I tried that with my mother-in-laws Noritake china set, a huge set of dishes and I think they quoted me under $100 for everything! AND I had to pay to for the special shipping to get it to them. It would've cost me more to do that than they were going to pay me!

  • Eroque022810 Eroque022810 on Dec 16, 2016

    You could see if a young couple at your place of worship would care for it and give it away to someone who would appreciate and use, or if they have rummage sales donate it and you can take off taxes as a donation.

  • Suellen Hintz Suellen Hintz on Dec 28, 2016

    I wonder what age you are...the older I've gotten the more sentimental I've become. I know my taste and life circumstances have changed over the years. The pattern of my mother's china, picked out by my father in the early fifties, was one I never cared for when I was young but now I'm amazed at how timeless the pattern and colors are...

    Keep the chin, packed away and intact for now. Revisit it as you age and your family undergoes changes.

  • Attic And Barn Attic And Barn on Jan 08, 2017

    Yes, just carefully pack up the whole set. They are hard to come by.

    Also, I have found my 20 something daughters Love my late mom's Post Modern stuff, as I prefer my Grandmother's fruitwood and walnut French Provincial furniture!

    Skips a generation......

  • Sal3170064 Sal3170064 on Jan 08, 2017

    Make theminto candle holders. Look on pinterest.

    Give them as presents, either fill with sweets and wrap in cellophane and ribbon.

    add an easter egg and somefaux flowers, for easter present.

    You can also make table center pieces using floristry foam and flowers.

  • 49668276 49668276 on Oct 04, 2020

    I know this is a few years old, but I created a service specifically for this dilemma. I take your family china and carve it into jewelry that you actually want to wear. That way you can still honor your family and use your family objects without the burden of storing an entire china set. Check it out at

  • Kelly Denoyer Russell Kelly Denoyer Russell on Oct 05, 2020

    Break it and make a table top art piece with broken china and grout.

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Feb 03, 2023

    Have you tried a discontinued china company that resells to the public when they break somthing or want more to make up a set? The only other thing, if you have tried and failed to kep in the family is to have it made in to articles you would use eg:

    Applied to a Mirror or Picture Frame or resurface a table or piece of furniture or Lamp. Make a bird bath or Bird Feeder. Make something as a gift for all the family as a keepsake. Take a picture of some of it and frame it up. Hang some of the plated on the diningroom wall oor upo the stairs. Use Tureens as Planters. Stack some pieces to make Candlesticks etc. Maybe atleast one piece might be welcomed by the family as a momento. Best wishes, I too miss being able to give dinner parties or accept invitations as I used to......I have a number of different designs and date line place settings in store - hoping one day they will find a home as a complete set...AH!

  • Mogie Mogie on Feb 05, 2023

    I would give it to someone who would use and take care of it.

  • Dee Dee on Aug 27, 2023

    1. Candles. One of the easiest transformations is a candle.
    2. Lamps, Chandeliers, Candelabra, Nightlight.
    3. Mosaics.

    Are 3 things I thought of besides hanging on a wall in the kitchen

  • Betsy Betsy on Feb 17, 2024

    Hi Anne: If your mom's old china is in decent shape, maybe you can donate it to your local historical museum.

  • Redcatcec Redcatcec on Feb 18, 2024

    Donate to a family who will cherish this set.

  • Hi Anne! You can check out this article for amazing ideas on how to repurpose your old china. Hope this helps!