Displaying Collections

Displaying Collections

How do you display 302 Pez dispensers in your home without looking like you belong on an episode of Hoarders? For many collectors, displaying your treasures is almost as fun as seeking them out. However, showing off collections can be tricky. You want to share your passion for (insert collectible here) without overwhelming your home. There are a few simple tips to keep in mind when displaying a collection and all of them will prevent you from winding up on Hoarders, I promise.

From Shelter PopBefore you even display your collection, ponder it. Yes, ponder it. Do you love it? Is it something that you’re proud to show off? Or was it inherited from your Great Aunt Muriel, and you just feel too guilty to throw it out? Don’t display Muriel’s collection in your home if you don’t love it.

You should feel happy and comfortable around your things. If her glass clown collection freaks you out, it might be time to bestow it upon somebody else (or a dumpster). Once you’re unburdened of unwanted collections, check out your stuff and see if there are any patterns. Sometimes you unconsciously gravitate to certain things, and without realizing, you’ll have several in your home already. Three or more of anything can be considered a collection. Or if you already have an established collection, gather it up and get ready to show it off!

So the most difficult part is to turn your things from a pile of stuff, to a well-curated collection. The first step is to pick your favorite items. Chances are you don’t live in an art gallery, and thus don’t have tons of available space to display every item in your collection. Sorry. Keeping your collection mind, decide how many items will fit into the space without looking cluttered.  Generally smaller items are easier to get away with, because they don’t take up much room. If it’s hard for you to pick only a few favorites, you can keep the others in easily accessible storage and rotate the pieces out every so often.

From Ruffles and StuffAlthough it may seem like a good idea to spread it through the house, for enjoyment in every room, it’s a good idea to keep your collection together. If you keep pieces from your elephant figurine collection in every room, you’re going to end up with a theme home. And nobody wants to be the family with the elephant themed house. Keeping your collection together allows you to appreciate it in its entirety. On that note, keep your collection in a relevant room where it will make sense with the space. For example, vintage magnifying glasses or globes would look great in a home office, while tea pots or silver spoons would be most suitable for the kitchen.

Once you have the best pieces and perfect spot picked out for your collection, it’s time to arrange. You want to show it off without looking kitschy. Sometimes, this is unavoidable if you collect something that is inherently kitschy, like Pez. If this is the case, run with it. It’s fun, so have fun with it. It would look silly to put all of those colorful dispensers behind a glass case.

Keep objects in odd numbers. This prevents anything from looking too matchy and is more visually appealing. You should also group for color. Color-blocking creates visual interest by drawing the eye towards a group of similar colors. Pick a color scheme and organize your collection accordingly. Neutral backdrops look best against colorful collections, while a bold color can bring out the best in a soft colored collection.

Any small items can be neatly organized with a divided case. Within the case, mix up colors and sizes. Other small pieces can be placed in glass jars or vases. Consider arranging three different sized glass containers and placing some of your collection in each. Larger items look great when hung directly on the wall, just be sure you can hang it safely. They can also be placed in deep shadow boxes. These boxes can then be hung neatly on a wall. Floating shelves eliminate clutter on tables and furniture and can make perfect platforms for your larger collection pieces, without adding bulk.

From Real SimpleShould you decide to show off your collection in a bookcase, display case, or atop a table, find a way to add interest. For example, your crystal geode collection will look great on your coffee table.

Find a tray to keep the crystals on, so it can easily be moved. This sets the collection apart from anything else on the table. You can add depth by stacking a few books underneath some of them. Keep the crystals clustered in groups.



Hopefully these tips and hints have encouraged you to display your collection proudly. No need to worry that your collection will fill your home with clutter. These easy tricks will highlight your treasures and keep them looking like the well-curated collection they are.

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