Displaying Collections in Your Home

Mother’s Day is this weekend, and in honor of my Mother, who has collected and curated objects and obsessions for decades (i.e., before eBay), Surroundings offers a few ideas for displaying and styling beloved pieces.  Whether it’s art, teacups, Lalique, thimbles, African masks or depression glass, you can show off your collections without auditioning for the next episode of TLC’s Hoarding: Buried Alive.

A few rules of thumb to consider when displaying your collections:

Neutral, monochromatic backgrounds (think museum walls) will allow your collection to “pop” and speak for itself.

Unify collections by highlighting one color, shape, texture or theme.

Venture outside the glass.  Curio cabinets are beautiful and stave off the dusting, however, some of your precious objects might really shine if they are allowed to breathe (and yikes) be touched.

Consider collections part of the architectural landscape, and really build or create a place for your passion to add personality and dimension to a room.

Finally, there are no rules that can’t be broken when it comes to collections…be creative, proud and impactful!

These two bold plate collections are fantastic examples of collections that can’t be ignored.  The first picture capitalizes on color,  focusing on green, blue and white.  As the plates climb the wall, almost floor to ceiling, the eye travels along.


White is a color, and in this display, it pops against the gray walls.  Instead of a linear installation, this collection is hung in a relatively circular pattern that creates visual interest and is a nice accent to the straight backed chairs.


In this more traditional home, a linear arrangement of prints provides order and emphasis by covering the wall almost entirely.


A picture hanging rod sets this collection apart.


However, art work doesn’t have to be hung over the fireplace or behind a sofa.

Here, art is hung on the back of a door.


Or in the bathroom.


Even the kitchen provides an unexpected, but impactful space for art.  Besides the portrait hanging below, everyday dinnerware in shades of white becomes a collection when displayed on open shelving.


Set off your collection and give it a place of promenence by building a niche or custom shelving unit.


The arrangement of antique teacups here provides color and whimsy to this modern kitchen.


Choose a color the accents your collection.  The neutral sea fans and seashells really stand out against pretty blues.



Even those figurines hiding in an old box in the attic are lovely in the right setting.


Nothing makes us happier than a client with a collection.  It really gives us a starting place, framework and inspiration.

This Surroundings client collects hats.


Antique mirrors are on my list of collectibles.


Surroundings Media Director’s two sons love Legos.  So many great ways to display a collection of Legos or any small toy.  Below is one example.


Mom’s collection of Corday figurines, sitting prettily on a two-tiered glass table, and her perfume bottle collection gathered together on an antique mirrored tray.



Send us pictures of your collections.  Happy Mother’s Day, Mom(s)!  

Images via  Surrounding InteriorsPinterest and House Beautiful