What are Some Ideas for Displaying Collections in the Home?

wiseGEEK Writer

If you’re a collector, you may have many ideas for setting up or displaying collections in your home. How you choose to begin displaying collections is largely a matter of choice, space and the extent of your collection. If you’ve ever been to a museum, you’ll get numerous ideas, but it is also helpful to look at the homes of friends who are avid collectors for more ways to exhibit your favorite things.

Some people choose to display items by grouping them together.
Some people choose to display items by grouping them together.

With any collection, you’ll need to decide whether you’d like to group items together, or disperse them throughout your home. Perhaps you have a number of gorgeous prints from a particular artist. Unless you have very large rooms, you might prefer to put these throughout your home. This way you and your guests can enjoy art in various rooms of the house. If you only have a couple of Native American pottery examples, you might consider placing these at key places in a single room. They can be grouped together or on opposite sides of the rooms, depending upon what you think looks best.

Wall shelves should be mounted with brackets.
Wall shelves should be mounted with brackets.

If you have a medium sized group of related items, you might consider grouping them together in a glass display case. Look for those that are lighted and that feature shelves that can be moved as your collection grows. Sometimes these cases can be just as lovely as your collection, and they provide an easy way to keep track of what you have. To enhance the overall theme of the collection, you can keep a piece or two of your collection displayed elsewhere in the same room. This can help set the theme and tone of your room.

Cases can be expensive, and a good alternative is an open case, a bookcase, or you can choose to install shelves. The nice thing about shelving when displaying collections is that you can easily add more if your collection increases. Further, you can place shelves in areas where the collection will be kept safe.

If you’re trying to protect porcelain items, from children or grandchildren, putting shelving up high can help keep your precious items intact. On the other hand, if you live in areas where there are earthquakes, you may want to consider displaying collections that have delicate items in a closed case with locked doors, to minimize breakage. You can buy installable cabinets with see-through doors so that your collection is still visible.

If you’ve collected just a few things, you can also use something as simple as a table for displaying collections. You can use a coffee table, end table, or larger types of tables for display. Again, consider the fragility of the items when you consider displaying collections. A low table with expensive fragile items on it may not be best for parents or grandparents of young children.

A current trend is toward displaying collections of various items to provide themes at meals. These don’t have to be expensive items. For instance, if you collect chicken related items, you might have a “chicken dinner” with pieces of your collection forming the centerpiece of the table. If you have frequent parties, a themed table can be a nice choice; just remember that collectible items are more likely to be picked up and examined when you call attention to them. If you’ve got very valuable and fragile items in your collection, the best place to display these may be behind locked and closed doors.

Collections are often prominently displayed as a focal point in the home.
Collections are often prominently displayed as a focal point in the home.

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