interior design

20 Great Collections and Ways to Display Them

by Grace Bonney

I was inspired by this morning’s #DSArt challenge to round up great examples of the ways people have created artwork in their home from beautiful collections. From tiny deer figurines and mirror collections to stunning framed botanical prints and shadowboxed handkerchiefs, these homes have used so many creative ideas for displaying collections without them feeling overwhelming, or by relegating them to closed books and cabinets somewhere. I love the way these display ideas have brought treasured objects – even the most everyday objects like spoons – to life and turned them into a conversation piece in everyone’s homes. I hope they’ll be inspiring and perhaps lead to a little weekend re-decorating! xo, grace

Click through for all 20 collection display ideas after the jump!

house and home diy framed handkerchiefs
Grouping like objects in a shadow box is a nice way to display collections without having your space feel too cluttered.

Arrowhead image via Live Auctioneers, Framed jewelry from Elsa Mora, Framed spoons by Victoria McIntosh: ‘Spoon Collection’ (Found spoons and pins), Pink room via Elle Decor, Handkerchiefs via House & Home Magazine.

interiors magazine june july 2009
houseandhome tray collection lee caswell
Using Collections as Artwork is a great way to have them “live” with you more than something that’s framed or closed off in some way. Grouping a small amount of like-objects on the wall makes treasured objects double as artwork and lets them be a part of discussions whenever guests visit.

Basket image via Interiors Magazine, Tray image via House & Home magazine, Hats via Leonie Hartard’s home tour.

Grouping items by color is a nice way to add unity and create a cohesive look with objects of different heights and sizes.

Photograph by Johnny Miller for Martha Stewart Living Magazine.

better homes and gardens
Plate Walls work for not just plates, but any circular object that can be layered or displayed in an organic shape or pattern.

Layered plates from Better Homes & Gardens, Plate wall by Lisa Congdon.

Chair Rails are a great way to display thinner objects, like these mirrors from Martha Stewart Living.

Screen Shot 2014-03-04 at 2.37.47 PM
A label or naming system is a fun way to make your collection easy to interact with when guests are over. Drawing attention to the types of plants behind a frame or cameras on a wall, like this photo of the Levi’s store by Shawn Hoke, can create conversation or teach little ones about your favorite items.

Giving items room to breathe on a shelf makes them feel more like a fine art display than simple storage.

Photo above from Emma Jeff’s home tour on DS.

The Fridge is often overlooked as a place to display a collection. But if you group things with even spacing, it can be a simple and easy way to give prominence to fun collections like tickets and tags.

Image above from Paul Donald’s home tour on DS.

Amanda McLauchlan photo
Grouping objects by material is one of my favorite ways to create an insta-collection. It creates visual unity and allows you display things you may not automatically think of combining.

Image above by Amanda McLauchlan

Little Nooks (added or found existing spots) can be a great space to show off tiny collections, like Stephen and Shauna’s collection of plastic deer.

Slightly Cluttered Groups of objects can be overwhelming, but they can also be beautiful if they’re contained in a smaller space, like on a shelf or corner of a room.

Tea Tins from Corbin’s DS home tour and wall art from Geraldine James’s “Creative Walls” book on the Laura Ashley blog.

Classic displays arranged on shelves are never a bad way to go. Simple is not always boring – these beautiful crocks and bowls on display at Huniford are a great example.

Suggested For You


  • Collections! My absolute favourite things. I have some in boxes that I open up from time to time; sometimes for guests, sometimes just by myself.

  • I recently made use of wooden embroidery hoops to display old doilies and handkerchiefs from my grand and great grandmothers. Did a fine tacking stitch as not to damage the material. Hung up in various sized loops it looks great if I do say so myself!

  • Inspired! I love how a displayed collection can turn one’s passion, interest, hobby, whatever into incredible art. I especially like the plate walls and how circular shapes can create added movement in their display. I’m ready to tackle a collection of my own.

  • Love this–especially the deer and jars grouped by color. Just wondering if any of the rock collectors out there have good ideas for framing/displaying rocks.

  • Rachel – I put (part of) my rock collection into a typecase that I turned into a table (glass on top, thrifted bench/side table with top removed for legs).
    Won’t go into the fact that I need about 12 more….

  • I love these ideas for displaying collections! My husband and I have a huge collection of figurines from our favorite movies and games, but we don’t have anywhere to put them. I like your tip about using tall shelves to display our tings. It really does look more like art than simply a way to store them. I’ll have to find some shelves like these, so we will have more room for our collection!

  • I am an inveterate collector, and like to see my collections, but now I see how it can be done in delightfully creative displays. Thank you!