Want to display your collections but not sure how? Whether you love Majolica teapots or vintage hula nodders, these tips will take your collections out of the closet and into the world of decorating.
Admit it, you’re a collector. Your attic is overflowing with cuckoo clocks, vintage cookbooks, and cigar boxes full of rhinestone brooches. Time to get those items out of hiding! Your collections are decorator touches that make your home uniquely yours. And how you display your collectibles can turn ordinary stuff into a grand conversation piece. Just gather your collections together and follow these tips for arranging them like the pros.
Start With Your Shelves
Most homes already have areas that are perfect for collections. The scale of the fireplace mantle makes it great for larger objects like McCoy cookie jars. Niches are great for smaller items like ceramic pie birds. And a china hutch can display anything from souvenir collector plates to retro barware. It can even showcase your Barbies! (It’s as near to the kitchen as she gets!)
Everyone has bookshelves, so create a few spaces between the books for your Peanuts collectibles. If you still need more room, look for display pieces that fit each collection. A glass cabinet with doors will keep the dust off Aunt Tina’s teacups, and a shadow box coffee table will protect your “Gone with the Wind” memorabilia from the elements. Just remember to match the scale of your display to your collection. Thirty thimbles are just too teeny for the top of a grand piano.
Don’t Forget Your Walls
Got more wall space than shelf space? Make like a gallery and use your walls! Frame flat items like lobby cards from old Westerns and hang them in an organized grouping. Exhibit your antique noisemakers in shadowbox shelves hung in a row. Or be a daredevil decorator and hang a collection directly on the wall. With a few hooks and nails, vintage saws, scythes, and spades become rusty-chic decor.
Get Creative With Your Displays
Some collections are just begging for creative displays. What to do with a thousand bottlecaps? Put them in mason jars on your windowsill! A handful of hatpins in a vase makes a glitzy bouquet. Or if you collect fishing bobbers, display them in an old tackle-box, open of course. Look beyond your shelves for other opportunities. A row of 1950s lunch boxes along the floorboard looks yummy. Cowboy boots are a kick when you display them ambling up the stairs. Running out of space inside? Don’t worry! Items like duck decoys are ducky outdoors. And once you start decorating outside, there’s no stopping you!
Cluster, Don’t Clutter!
When it comes to arranging, don’t let your keepsakes look like clutter. If your collectibles are the same size, like Pez dispensers, space them evenly and face them the same way. If they vary in size, put tall ones in back and short ones in front. Have a case of Beatlemania? Then place your Abbey Road LP behind your Fab Four bobbleheads to create a little vignette. Framed photos of your trip to Moscow make a great backdrop for your Russian lacquer boxes. Just make it tidy—not like a table at a garage sale. A collection arranged with loving care is like a museum exhibit. Your own mini-Smithsonian!
Our Top Three Tidy Tips:
1. Don’t let that feather duster knock over your Faberge Eggs. Dust with a blow dryer instead. When the dust settles, vacuum.
2. Take a fresh look at each collection. Now that you have real Bakelite purses, you can let go of the imitations. Just keep the good stuff and weed out the rest.
3. Still have more stuff than display space? Make like a museum and rotate your collections each season. (Serve wine and cheese at each unveiling!)
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