Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Editing Collections With Style...

I love a collection as much as the next person. What makes me cringe though is when the collection becomes consuming in the space and down right cluttered. I have seen homes where you cant even get up the stairs because hoards of teddies, dolls etc are on each riser....really!!
So, I thought I would show you a home and some examples on how to edit and use your collections to make them stylish, and work in your space...
I am a lover of old signs and this owner has loads of them. Instead of shoving them all in the one area, she has scattered them through out the home which makes all the areas relate and flow. That way each sign takes on a new personality depending on what and where it is hung. The collections of small drawers are also scattered throughout the house as well.
If you buy what you love and it relates to you or your family, it will work...just don't have everything out at the one time in the one space.
Try and collect items that have a similar tone, from the same period maybe or of the same topic. Like these old Dog prints in a sepia tone. They are all framed in a similar sized frame, which have a similar tone to them. The little dog on the table is the same natural tone too, which makes it all relate. You could have botanical prints from the same artist, old text from a Theatre or old yard sticks...the possibilities are endless.

Here are some more of the signs from the owners collections. These are all related to the kitchen and make a great feature of an otherwise unused wall and also soften the pine panelling. Notice that they are all the same type of lettering and all white with black.
The queen of editing a collection would have to be Atlanta Bartlett. Here she has used shells of the same type and tone to create a very chic grouping. I know that a lot of collectors think that every piece should be displayed, but...if you put say half or more of it away and change it around all the time, I guarantee you will look at it more and more people will notice your collections instead of secretly thinking...."this place is a dust magnet"...you know you all do!

Some kitchen collections can be used as art like the pie tins on the wall above the oven, the white ironstone pitchers, which you could have some blooms in too- or some antique silver cutlery, or natural coloured hand thrown plate collections. They don't necessarily have to be kept in the kitchen either...I have even seen a collection of well grouped soup tureen lids (all white ironstone) which were hung above the toilet!! Looked great though.

I love this collection of old washing boards...and because they are above eye level the masses of them doesn't overwhelm you like they would if they were on a lower shelf. I actually noticed the sign first and the old pie safe, then I seen the boards. They all relate through the tin, wood and age...and the fact it is the right room for them. Old prints from washing powder or soap ads would work well in here too.

Here you can see that this owner has loads of collections, but it is all related in tone and size and she has been very careful with the way they are featured and the amounts that are on show at any one time.

You want to make you collections seem full, not cluttered and to add some personality to the space...not to choke it and make it look trashy. So, if you have a collection, take everything down look at it from a designers eye and group by colour, type, size etc...then place one thing back at a time, stand back and look at it become a stylish display...and don't be afraid to put some away for a while. Trust me it works wonders!!!

Ness xx

all photos from Country Home except #4, Atlanta Bartlett


  1. All beautifully edited spaces Ness. I especially love the fossilised shells.

  2. What a great post on gorgeous collectables x

  3. I do love the detail of the shells with the flowers.

  4. Wow, there is a lifetime of collecting dog pictures and how fabulous does it look?! I agree that Atlanta Bartlett does things beautifully. Her styling is relaxed and classy.
    Clare x

  5. Great tips, Ness. Atlanta Barlett is a favourite of mine!

  6. Fantastic post, love all those photos,some real good inspiration,thanks...Chrissy

  7. Great advice. Now i need to go take it and apply it in my home. All of us collectors should have a rotating storage system to house our junk, I mean stuff. But then the hoarding would begin. It's such a conundrum, but I agree: edited collections are the best.

  8. These are fabulous! Thank you for sharing Ness~


I love to read what you have to say, so don't be shy! I try to answer your comments via email and will add answers in the comment form as well. I appreciate you taking the time. xx