I am attempting to write an eBook tentatively entitled, How To Be A Glamorous Housewife, and I am currently working on the interior design chapter. I was writing about how to creatively display your collections when it occurred to me I have never really written on the subject before. I did do a post last year called, How To Organize Book Shelves That Have Lots Of Books, but that really isn’t the same. So I put together this post on displays that I like vs. displays that are not to my taste. I am not saying the displays that I don’t particularly find attractive are bad, just they aren’t the way I would go about displaying my collections.
For example, the above pictures shows us a fairly typical dish collection. They are all nicely displayed in rows and they are all basically the same shape and color.
Contrast the first dish display with this one. Notice how they turned the dishes into an art piece? This is my idea of a creative way to display dishes. It becomes a focal piece and adds beauty and dimension to the room, instead of just being a way to display some dishes.
So here we have some ducks. They are all perfectly arranged in rows and they are all lit the same. Again, not a terrible display, but I find it to be a bit pedantic and cold. None of the ducks really stand out and make a statement.
Here is a different way to display a duck collection. Notice there are birds at different heights and they are combined with other objects that compliment and don’t detract from the beauty of the ducks. The eye can travel through the display and delight on different aspects instead of just looking at a wall of similar objects.
Here we have a lovely display of boxes. They differ in shapes, color and height, creating a bit of flourish.
Now check out this display. Like the picture with the boxes, all the shelves are of a uniform height. However instead of displaying a wall of the white pottery, this person chose to intermingle her collection with books and other objects dárt. I personally like this display better than the boxes because it feels looser and less structural. I like it when my displays give off a warmth and feel lived in, instead of like a museum.
Speaking of museums, here is a display of tea pots that I feel are very reminiscent of a museum display. All the pots are lined up like little soldiers.
Here is another display of tea pots. Only this time you can tell that have been arranged with thought and creativity behind it. They are not all the same size, shape and color and yet they all work together to create a delight for the eyes.
In this tea collection, the pots are all brightly colored, but they are also all the same shape. Each one gets lost by everything looking so uniform. Your eye doesn’t really want to see the detail of the individual tea pot, it wants to view the collection as a whole, which detracts from the distinct beauty of each tea pot.
Compare that to this display. Yes, all the tea pots are very similar in shape and color, but because they are arranged as art on a wall at various heights, the eye travels throughout the display, occasionally lingering on a particular detail. I would also like to point out that you don’t have to display every single object in your collection at the same time. You can just put out a few at a time and then change them as the seasons, or your mood, dictates.
I believe collections should be displayed as art objects, but not in the same way a museum or art gallery would hang them. They should enhance your decor, and each other in the way they are exhibited. I always think of my shelves more like a fabulous boutique rather than a gallery. I try to add little moments for the eye to rest and let my mind delight in the object’s beauty.
However you decide to display your collection, remember the eye takes everything in at the same time and it wants to be able to notice details. This vintage tin collection solves both problems by working as a whole to create a pleasant pattern and yet because they are not all lined up perfectly, the eye can read it individually as well.