The best curated home interiors are those that reflect the hearts of the people who live there. A fun way to infuse your home with your personality is to collect treasures that delight you, and use them in creative ways in your displays.
Enjoy the process
If you're new to the idea of collecting, my suggestion is to only collect things you love, then enjoy the process of finding new treasures and weaving them into your decor. I love to poke through dusty antique stores or unique shops, scouting for that hidden gem that captures my fancy.
When I was in fifth grade, a friend gave me a little decorative box as a gift. That present ignited a love affair with boxes that is still burning bright. Through the years, I've had fun collecting everything from porcelain boxes from France to simple wooden boxes. To display them, I group them on tiered servers. If you have a collection of small items, try this trick. It gives your petite pieces prominence.
Celebrate family treasures
Sometimes you are lucky enough to inherit family collections. When my cousin Anne lucked into Toby mugs, she used them to add a bit of whimsy to her kitchen. The long, thin shelf above her range needed a little something, and this phalanx of mugs was just the ticket. Do you have an open space that needs a spark? Consider using it as a stage for a few of your favorite pieces.
You can also work your collections into a display or two in your home. Anne knocked it out of the park when she added one of the Toby mugs to the centerpiece on her kitchen island.
A nod for fond memories
Often, collections are born when you travel. You are drawn to unique pieces that reflect the culture or natural beauty of a place, and bring back a memento or two. A friend who loves the beach amassed a collection of beautiful shells, which she cleverly stashed in a concrete garden urn at the foot of her piano.
The secret to success is to curate a few beautiful displays that spotlight your treasures, then stop there. Don't let your collections take over the house.
Create a powerful display
One of my favorite ways to display collections is to mass a number of items together in one jaw-dropping presentation.
To make a grouping of silver collectibles more visually appealing, for instance, break up the mass of silver with a few carefully chosen accents, like old books, artwork and dishware.
Similarly, my friend Cynthia has a beautiful collection of blue and white pottery. She picked a few of her favorites to fill the shelves of a butler's cart and to craft a lovely centerpiece in her dining room.
This column was adapted from Mary Carol Garrity's blog at nellhills.com.