Collective Wisdom: Tips for Styling Your Collections

To me, the best curated home interiors are those that reflect the hearts of the people who live there. A fun way to infuse your home with your personality is to collect treasures that delight you, and use them in creative ways in your displays.


Enjoy the process.

If you’re new to the idea of collecting, my suggestion is to only collect things you love, then enjoy the process of finding new treasures and weaving them into your decor. I love to poke through dusty antique stores or unique shops, scouting for that hidden gem that captures my fancy.

Way back when I was in 5th grade, a friend gave me a little decorative box as a gift. That present ignited a love affair with boxes that is still burning bright. Through the years, I’ve had fun collecting everything from porcelain boxes from France to simple wooden boxes. To display them, I group them on tiered servers in my bedroom. If you have a collection of small items, try this trick. It gives your petite pieces prominence.


Celebrate family treasures.

Sometimes you are lucky enough to inherit family collections. When my cousin Anne lucked into these Toby mugs, she used them to add a bit of whimsy to her kitchen. The long, thin shelf above her range needed a little something, and this phalanx of mugs was just the ticket. Do you have an open space that needs a spark? Consider using it as a stage for a few of your favorite pieces.

You can also work your collections into a display or two in your home.  Anne knocked it out of the park when she added one of the Toby mugs to the centerpiece on her kitchen island.


A nod to fond memories.

Often, collections are born when you travel. You are drawn to unique pieces that reflect the culture or natural beauty of a place, and bring back a memento or two. Marsee loves the beach, so she’s amassed a collection of beautiful shells cleverly stashed in a concrete garden urn at the foot of her piano.

In the same room, she’s pooled more sea shells into a footed bowl on her coffee table. The secret to success is to curate a few beautiful displays that spotlight your treasures, then stop there. Don’t let your collections take over the house.


Create a powerful display.

One of my favorite ways to display collections is to mass a number of items together in one jaw-dropping presentation, like Jean did with her collection of silver serving pieces. Instead of stacking them away in cupboard, she put them on show in this dark black cabinet, the perfect backdrop for all this dazzle.

To make this grouping more visually appealing, Jean broke up the mass of silver with a few carefully chosen accents, like old books, artwork and dishware.

Similarly, Cynthia has a collection of blue and white pottery that makes my heart hammer with love every time I see it. She picked a few of her favorites to fill the shelves of a butler’s cart and to craft a lovely centerpiece in her dining room.


Next Week … Spring is just around the corner! I’ll have ideas for giving your home interior a Spring Break.