22 Creative Ways To Put Your Collections On Display
It’s the classic conundrum of any casual collector: you’ve amassed this wonderful collection of alarm clocks, vases or vintage handkerchiefs, but how do you show them off without overwhelming your home? Here are our best tips and tricks to beautifully displaying personal collections.
Corral your pieces with a frame. Instantly make your collection feel more cohesive by framing the hanging with an empty frame. NYC shopkeeper Michelle Varian unified similarly themed pieces — horns and antique pastoral paintings — with this simple trick.
Repurpose furniture pieces. A bar cart holds a collection of plant pots, bringing height to the vignette and allowing the plants to be quickly wheeled to the next sunny spot.
Frame textiles as art. Putting a collection of pocket squares in similar frames instantly turns them into a beautify display. Pro tip: Arranging the frames in a simple grid helps bring order to a mix-and-match collection.
Create an unexpected gallery wall. A collection of humble wooden spoons is transformed into a sculptural wall display. Curate and edit your collection down to an assortment of unique-looking items that complement one another.
Make your pantry Pinterest-worthy. Pantries aren’t just for canned goods anymore! They’re the perfect place to store your collection of larger items, such as Dutch ovens or matching chinaware. For a cohesive look, keep them all in the same colorway.
Create a shoppable showcase. Take a note from jewelry boutiques and keep all your baubles in plain sight. Here, a stand sits atop a glass display drawer, creating layers to display the homeowner’s collection without overwhelming the eye.
Use statement lighting. To really show off your collection, use lighting to highlight it. Here, an articulating sconce elevates a humble wine collection into a standout design moment.
Spring for custom. If you’ve got a priceless collection, it’s worthy paying a little more to get a custom display. This hanging arrangement of guitars was made bespoke for this home library, but allows flexibility in what is displayed. The owner can rotate his roster of guitars to suit his playing whims.
Make the most of unexpected nooks. In architectural designer Nicholas Lewin’s Chester, Nova Scotia, home, the exposed framing of the house is a natural spot for display. Behind a wood-burning stove, the family’s collection of model trains has an equally industrious vibe, turning the corner into a hardworking one.
Keep it casual. If your collection is one that you use often, keep the display casual and imperfect. Here a collection of straw sun hats strikes a relaxed note, allowing the owner to pluck off a hat and wear it without disrupting the hanging.
Create a centerpiece. Groupings of homewares, like vases or candlesticks, can make a fun focal point on a table or counter. Display a variety of styles, heights and shapes with a common element, like the red and clear palette seen here, to keep things visually interesting.
Take a cue from museums. For more delicate pieces, choose a pretty glass box or case and place it on top of a coffee table or sideboard. If housing your collection in a glass or Lucite casement, keep the arrangement loose and asymmetrical — it’ll keep it from feeling staid.
Use contrasting colors. A custom Josef Frank–inspired cabinet perfectly sets off an eclectic collection of dishware thanks to its saturated green background. The color complements the metallic finish and painted flower design of the pieces.
Update an old classic. A wall of dishes is nothing new, but give it a fresh look by choosing mod plates in varying sizes and patterns.
Feature one small detail. If you’re tight on space but have a large collection of dishes, take a photo of your favorite plate’s most interesting feature, like the vintage stamp on the bottom, and enlarge it to create a 2-D display. Get step-by-step instructions here.
Go vertical. If you’re feeling the squeeze of a small kitchen, why not display some vintage baking tins? They make wonderful food-inspired wall art that is not only practical but appetizing, too!
Use all space available. This wall unit by Simcic + Uhrich Architects makes use of dead space in a hallway — a great idea if you’re running out of shelf space for your paperbacks. This would also look great with records or magazines!
Treat it like art. For collections that have great visual appeal, but their original purpose seems a bit fusty (hello doilies!) treat them like abstract art and frame a selection of them.
Choose an under-appreciated detail. People might not think of lids as an immediate showpiece, but when collected as a group, tureen covers have a fun impact on a whimsical wallpapered backdrop.
Use antique vessels. A wooden trug is used here to display a collection of utensils and kitchen bits and bobs. Not only does it seem more collected and curated, but it instantly adds charm.
Color-code it. If you have a large collection and the room to display it all, organize it into a colorful rainbow. This look offers a curated and collected vibe without having to do any editing down!
Choose an unexpected venue. This Toronto homeowner decided to display his collection of antique Catalin clocks by Seth Thomas in the dining room. An unusual choice of room perhaps, but perfect dinner party fodder!