Creating a Collection: Use Your Life

(Image credit: Apartment Therapy)

We love seeing collections in our House Tours. They not only tell us a lot about the interests and passions of the people who live there, they also add visual interest to a home as a very personal form of art. Some people were born to collect — they hoard Pez dispensers or old movie posters, ironware or paperweights and they display it proudly. And then there are the rest of us, who shy away from the label. We think we don’t collect anything. If you’d like to start a collection (or curate the one we’re sure is probably hidden away in your home), here are some ideas on how to do it.

  • Check the knick knacks on your shelves, on your coffee table, on your credenza. Take a good look at them. What draws you to certain objects? Do they have a common color? A common shape? Grouping like objects together creates order out of chaos.
  • Clean out your junk drawer. What’s squirreled away in there? Movie ticket stubs? Bottle caps with funny sayings? Fortunes from the cookies from many nights of take out?
  • Check your kitchen cupboards. Grandma’s pottery, your mother’s crystal wineglasses, the silver you got for your wedding are all collections. Bring them out into the open.
  • Look at your clothing accessories (ties, scarves, hats) and your jewelry. Collections which spring from stuff you’re already doing or using grow organically.
  • Think about your activities. Do you like to go out to eat? Though fewer and fewer people smoke, many restaurants still give out matches. If you love wine, a collection of wine corks (mark them with the date drunk and who shared the bottle with you) can be a very personal collection. We have one friend who collects sand from beach vacations. If you’re an avid photographer (as many of our readers are), show off your work with an every changing gallery on your living room walls.
  • Sometimes it’s all in the display. Abbey’s Funky Collection is still one of our favorites — a humble object elevated by how it’s displayed. Check out 10 Collectibles Display Ideas for some more ideas on how to display the collection of items you’ve found.