Decorating Inspiration: Displaying Collections in Your Home

Are you a collector?? As a kid I was always collecting something – I collected stamps, anything and everything Garfield, gum wrappers (to make gum wrapper chains of course),and mice figurines (no, I don’t know why…) among many other things. For some reason, I did a 180 as an adult and no longer collect a thing.  After recently coming across images of gorgeous rooms made all the more gorgeous by displaying collections as part of their décor, I’m inspired to go back to being a collector.  (Of something other than mice this time…) I love the idea of collecting an item that you can look for at flea markets, antique stores, and vacation destinations with the anticipation of stumbling upon a fabulous new addition to your collection! If you have a collection to display or are starting a new collection, the key is to display your collected items as a group rather than scattering them around the room where they’ll look more like clutter than a collection.

Need ideas for what to collect? First of all, think about what’s in all of the boxes packed away in your basement or attic – you may already have the beginning of a collection that would look fabulous on display.  Have nothing to start with? I’ll show you some of my favorite images of displayed collections to give you some ideas:
A collection of vintage watering cans displayed along a tall shelf in this shabby chic porch adds the perfect decorative touch: 

{Better Homes & Gardens}

Vintage rug beaters of all shapes and sizes are displayed along the walls of this farmhouse staircase:

{Country Living}

A collection of baskets hung on the wall adds texture and interest to the space above this seating area: 


A collection of vintage clocks is displayed in an antique shelving unit flanked by architectural salvage pieces:

{The Vintage Inspired Home}

A collection of antique trophy cups serves as a useful display in this kitchen where they hold spoons and other kitchen utensils:

{Heather Bullard}

These beautiful bookcases are filled with shells and coral intermingled with books and other decorative items:

{Time Worn Interiors}

A fabulous collection of vintage weathervanes takes center stage above the sofa in this living space:

A simple collection of hats becomes decorative art when hung as a group down the length of a wall:

{House Beautiful}

A collection of globes is displayed in graduated sizes along the top of this tall furniture piece:  

{Better Homes & Gardens}

Blue and white striped pottery pieces are the focal point in this kitchen by being displayed on open shelving:

{Country Living}

A collection of ceramic bowls grouped by color adds some vibrant color and a touch of whimsy to this fun kitchen:

{Martha Stewart}

A grouping of white plates and trays looks gorgeous when arranged in a seemingly random pattern above a couch:

{Nesting Place}

A mismatched collection of plates (how fun to collect!) becomes wall art when arranged in a wavelike pattern:  


A collection of glass bottles staggered in shape and height and filled with simple ferns creates a beautiful mantel display:

{Better Homes & Gardens}

Similar bottles are filled with flowers and displayed along the length of a table, serving as a eye-catching centerpiece:

Kelly Wearstler used a collection of antique tortoise shells to decorate the walls of this dining area at the Tides South Beach Hotel. (I don’t know how much luck you’d have in finding antique tortoise shells to collect, but I couldn’t pass up showing you this gorgeous image :-)

{Tides South Beach}

The two collections that I’m thinking about starting are a collection of globes in our home office and a collection of glass bottles (I already have a few!) for the window ledge in our kitchen. Is there anything that you’re inspired to start collecting?


  1. says

    As a child I collected rabbits, not real ones but porcelain ornaments and the stuffed variety. Unfortunately I have only kept a few small favorite ones but really wish I had of kept all the ornaments, I had some antique type ones that when a teenager I thought were daggy and would never want again so got rid of them but now wish I had of kept them! Like you i dont collect anything now… I might go back to collecting small antique ones i find at old wares stores and antique shops as I have a really nice shadow box I could keep them in. Thanks!

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