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Design Tips - How to Showcase Collections -
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Design Tips – How to Showcase Collections

Today’s design tips: How to Showcase Collections. Showcasing collections can be a challenge. Tina is a real collector and her home demonstrates that. She has many collections around her home and all of them are interesting because she knows how to display them.

klm 2

klm 3klmSince 1952, these KLM houses have been given out by the airlines to their international business travelers. Tina’s collection started when her Dutch friend Yvonne gave her 6 houses.

Here are a few tips about collections:

Using The Whole Collection in One Place

This has far more graphic impact than putting a few pieces around the whole house. Tina has a collection of architectural tools that she has displayed in her living room. If she were to divide up the pieces and spread them around the house the collection would be lost. It is by placing them all together that it works so well. The like objects read off one another and make it far more interesting and a real conversation piece.

tools 2architectural tools

Create A Boundary Around The Collection

This could mean putting the items in a bookcase, or on a shelf, in a glass box or in a bowl. It could even mean laying out the objects on a side table but they must then have some negative space around it to define it as a collection.   You need negative space around collections to prevent looking cluttered.

AA vase 2Seashells are placed in an Alvar Aalto vase to contain them in an interesting way. 

chinese vases



better statuesThese architectural icons are placed on a white shelf. This contains the clutter and focuses the eye on the whole collection.


If you have a collection of items that need to stand up, make sure you create a balance with these items. You want the eye to flow around the collection as one and not start and stop as you “see” the collection. Tina has a collection of Statues of Liberty. See how she groups them together to create a balance?

statue of liberty

nudesCollections Should Tell a Story

And, of course, your collections should tell your story. They should be from your travels or from family and/or friends but they should tell a bit about who you are. Looking around Tina and Graham’s house you can see exactly what interests them. They really tell their story.

watch faces

These vintage watch faces came from a dockside flea market in London.

keysThese keys came from a used building supply yard in France and the broken tile came from the Expo ’92 building site in Seville, Spain.

shoe forms

These shoe lasts are from Kensington Market in Toronto

Do you have a favourite collection you’d like to share with us? Send us a picture!




  • Beth
    April 29, 2015 at 2:44 pm

    balance is so key! thanks for sharing!

    • tina
      May 4, 2015 at 4:39 pm

      Hi Beth,

      You are so right balance is critical and so is knowing when to stop collecting!!! Tina xo

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