Fabulous Collecting: Displaying Treasures

Admit it, we all collect something: rock records or vintage photos, jadeite or jewelry.  What you collect doesn't really matter, that's your prerogative; but it's the art of collecting and cataloging that seems inherently human and completely universal.  That urge to cultivate your distinctive, eccentric "thing" and to look for that "thing" at flea markets and to proudly display those "things" in your home.
But, mention your collection to a designer and she might just cringe.  The mere word "collection" conjures up images of grandma's rows and rows of kewpie dolls or Aunt Verna's penchant for porcelain cats. However, integrating a collection into a room can be done stylishly.   Collections show your personality and tell a fabulous story about you and your many adventures. 

Here are a few examples of collections done right:
A tray of seashells and starfish adds an aquatic touch to any room.  Rule #1 of decorating with collections is to keep the collection together rather than spreading it throughout a room or the entire house.  Create visual impact by grouping like with like.
Rule #2: For smaller collections like antique buttons or jewelry, consider an elegant apothecary jar or a chic dish to contain and organize your treasures.
Rule #3: Treat your collection like a still life.  Give each object presence, but arrange them together for ultimate aesthetic oomph.
Rule #4: A large display shelf filled with your collectibles can look timelessly elegant and keep things neat.  The goal here is quirkiness amid the monotony.  Notice how some of the saucers are standing up behind the teacups and others are laying flat. 
What do you collect?  I have trays of tiny travel souvenirs and also a taste for Eva Zeisel mid-century modern ceramics.

Images borrowed from CocoMale, SmugMug, CountryLiving, AFabulousMom, TheDecorista


  1. Small boxes and bookmarks for me. Although all my bookmarks are currently jammed into a (cute) jar. Let me know if you have good tips! :)

  2. I love the collection of perfume bottles, Pink Frenchie.

    One crystal perfume bottle alone is not nearly as interesting as it when found in a collection.

    Our brain delights in seeking out the similarities and differences. We like grouping things in "families".

    Our collections speak to who we are. There's always a story behind why YOU would choose to collect X object.


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