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How to Display Collectibles by Barbara Jennings

Are you a collector? One of the best ways to really establish a unique look to any home is through the displaying of collectibles. For those who are committed, have the knowledge about what they are collecting and who use good self control, displaying your treasures can be very rewarding and attractive.

The mistake most people make who build collections is that they want to display everything all at one time and in one place. This can be very tedious and in the end quite boring.

Avoid displaying more than seven items in any one place at one time. It is just too cumbersome for the eye to take in more than that and you defeat your purpose that way. If you can't bear putting some things away to be displayed at another time, then at least find somewhere else to display them - not all in one place.

Look for surprising ways to highlight the most special ones, such as placing a beautiful crystal bowl on a pedestal instead of in the china cabinet.  In the picture above, this collection of Japanese sumi brushes were hung on a black asian stand between a candle and a wooden vase. This is a great way to display several small items without the display becoming too cumbersome.

When placing an object on a stand or against a wall, make sure the background doesn't take away the attention. You don't want the backdrop to interfere with the display which can easily happen when it is busy wallpaper. In most cases, a soft solid color for the background works best.  In the photo above, the figurines were white against an off-white background and would have merely blended into the background. A round mat on a plate stand placed behind created contrast and continuity to the grouping and helped to fill the vertical space as well as the horizontal space.

Consider adding lighting to a display to add shadows for more dramatic effects. Place the lights in different places until you find the most pleasing effects. You can place the lights above, below or to the side or behind the objects.

Any part of your collectibles that have real value should be displayed behind glass doors for protection. This discourages well-meaning but clumsy friends from touching them and keeps children away from them too. It will also cut down on dust and dirt from causing any damage.

For more detailed training on how to professional arrange your collectibles, general accessories, art, plants, furniture - the whole nine yards - get your copy today of my ebook called, Decor Secrets Revealed. It is 25 chapters devoted strictly to the subject of professional arrangement concepts. There are over 350 color photographs and plenty of detailed explanations so that you'll always know exactly how best to arrange any room in your home.

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(2004-05 Copyright Barbara Jennings)

Barbara Jennings
is the West Coast Pioneer in Redesign, author of 7 decorating books, a published artist, corporate art consultant, and furniture arrangement consultant. For training in professional furniture and accessory arrangement, or to start your own redesign or art consulting business, please visit: