How to Display a Collection in Your Home

how to display a collection

When you buy or remodel a home, you consider many aspects of your lifestyle. You want your home attractive but functional. When you make changes, don’t forget about your collectibles. Perhaps it’s finally time to display a collection that’s been stored away. If you are building a new home, remodeling, or updating that spare room, keep your collection in mind. If you’ve put time, energy, and money into collecting something you cherish, give it its rightful place.


Protect Your Collection

Before you decorate with your priceless display you’ll want to make sure it’s well protected. Textiles, art, furniture, or musical instruments can deteriorate from exposure to direct sunlight and humidity. For metal, humidity or salt air–if you live near the ocean–could cause corrosion or rust. On the flipside, dry air can cause some items to become brittle.

When you build a new home consider what room gets less sunlight than others naturally. You may prefer the sunnier ones for everyday use, anyway, and keep north-facing or interior ones for priceless items. Also, consider UV-protective glass for your windows. Install a humidifier or dehumidifier, depending on your climate, that you adjust for that room only. Most importantly, do not permit anyone to smoke near your collection.


Shelving and Display Cases

Custom shelving can be built into a room to display your collection. You will want to carefully count and measure your items and consider how to arrange them. An interior designer can help. Remember to allow extra space if you’re still looking for new treasures.

Consider whether to put glass casing around your items. For those that are extremely rare or would be difficult to dust, you might go this route. Protective glass can afford another layer of protection from sun damage, too. Also consider who might visit your home, like grandchildren or pets. Make sure to amply protect your items from potential danger.

Even things you might not think of can look attractive on shelves. This article from Better Homes and Gardens suggests putting vintage suitcases on shelves and using them to store linens.  


Places You May Not Have Considered

It’s not often that people use their bathrooms to display a collection. This is understandable because some collectibles can be damaged by high humidity. But if you have a collection of items that won’t be damaged in that sort of climate it could be the perfect addition to a guest bathroom. Install a shelf above your sink or mirror, or have alcoves built into the walls.

Stairwells and hallways are typically the most underused display spaces. You might display a collection of vintage photos or valuable movie posters on the walls here. Or have display nooks built in under a staircase to show antiques.

You might think you need a dedicated garage to showcase collectible vehicles, but a vintage motorcycle can look attractive in a library or den. Commission a custom stand for it that fits your decor.

A bar is ideal for displaying sports or movie memorabilia. Get display cases built into the walls around and above the bar. Your treasures will make great conversation starters over drinks. Speaking of drinks, if you collect wine, a wine cellar is a must. Think ahead about capacity as you add to the collection. Houzz recommends choosing a location out of direct sunlight where you can maintain a temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit with 57 percent humidity.



Show your collection in its best light–literally. The direction of lighting can alter how an item looks. Light too far to one can cast unfavorable shadows while direct light can cause glare. To test the light angle first, HGTV suggests shining a flashlight on it.

To display a collection of artwork, choose the type of lighting carefully as well. A single frame might look good with one spotlight but the type of bulb you choose could change the look. The DIY Network’s article How to Light Artwork points out that oil painting create more glare than, say, an acrylic, so you want a broader light source.


An interior designer with experience in your area of interest can provide additional ideas. The contents you collect and the way you display show your personality and your life experiences. So don’t hide your collection away in a closet or a corner. Display the things you love proudly and make them a true part of your home.


PHOTO: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain