Collected Look Essentials #3 – Collections




In one of my recent posts, I talked about the fact that I think any room needs a touch of something antique, no matter the style of room. And recently, I also spoke of rooms that rely heavily on antiques and vintage items (like mine), really needing a touch of something modern in the room to break it all up. Since then, I’ve had several people comment or send me emails, either asking me to clarify (it seems confusing!) or stating that I’ve contradicted myself! And to some, it may seem that I have contradicted myself, but I assure you, I have not. Both of these articles exemplify my style of decorating, as well as some of what I feel to be the most important decorating tenants needed to make your house a collected home. I feel strongly that the best rooms really are the ones that take time to build, and that are not completed in a week. Houses should seem like they evolved naturally; like they took years to accumulate, and curate, and get right. They will have a comfort and familiarity that way, as well as speak volumes about those who live there.  So since I had so many questions, and I think it can be confusing for some who really want to get that look and don’t know quite how to do it, I decided to put together a list of what I think are some of the most important essentials a home needs for it to feel real and true to you. These are only my opinion, not written in stone, of course, but they are the things that I think make a home feel “collected” rather than “decorated.” It is how I’ve tried to do my own home, and it is how the most written about and beautiful homes are designed. Almost every respected designer talks about having a house be personal for you, and I think if you add a collection that speaks to you, it will add patina and warmth to your home.

Those past two posts covered two essentials; having something antique in every room, no matter what style, and needing something modern in even the most vintage-y feeling rooms. So here is, in my opinion, the third most important point in creating a room with character, and that is to actually have a collection of some kind. It can be any collection, truly, the sky’s the limit. But a collection is one of those things that just adds instant character to a room. Now just like the antiques can go too far and create a room that is too dated or too cluttered, so too can too many collections. We don’t want your house to look like a hoarder lives there! We just want to add a feeling that it has not been thrown together at one store. And what better way to do that, than to have a collection that takes years to curate? Now we can cheat a little! By going to antiques stores, we can get some pieces that might not have taken years to collect, but will look like they did. If you don’t have a collection yet, you can easily purchase an “instant” one by going on Ebay, Etsy or One Kings Lane. There are so many things to choose from that it’s possible to find one for any budget and any taste. And if you really don’t like a lot of “stuff” (and I get that), then just make it a small one. Four or five of the same item, in one room, is enough of a collected statement and gives the room a distinct personality. And no, I don’t think there needs to be a collection in every room in a house, just one or two will do.

China is one of the first things people think of when they think of “collections.” A gathering of blue and white ginger jars or groupings of white ironstone are lovely, and can work in any style of home; from contemporary, to vintage farmhouse, to French Country, to Mid-Century Modern, to traditional, to an eclectic mix.







I love these splattery pitchers! Something I’ve not seen before. That’s the nice thing about adding a vintage collection – it’s something you won’t see in every house in town.






Really three collections in this cute kitchen! The ironstone cake plates in addition to the red and white transferware and the silver.




But silver is also gorgeous grouped in a collection…….
Platters in a dining room built-in


And how adorable is this collection of mint julep cups?!


Art can also be a collection; any grouping on a wall that is similar in style or shares a color scheme counts as a collection.




And one of the funnest ways to display a collection? A gallery wall of family photos!
And an absolute classic – a collection of plates on a wall….


Here Joni Webb of Cote de Texas displays blue and white transferware platters in her breakfast room. There are only four, but it brings such personality to the room (note she also has an ironstone collection on the baker’s rack as well!)


Here Kris of Driven by Decor does one of the most perfect plate walls I’ve ever seen!


Another amazing way to display a collection is to use mirrors. This creates such drama!




Your collections can be anything you like, as long as it’s something that speaks to you. Think bottles, globes, shells, trophies, watering cans, old tools, vintage records… whatever!

Here Heather Bullard uses old trophies as storage – love this idea!

A collection of vintage baskets. They can be used to store items, or even to make a table in a family room.

Green glass bottles are popular collectibles and add sparkle and charm to this mantel.

Globes are always popular! Love this.

Another great globe display; love how it’s mixed with the artwork. Perfection!

Love this collection of antique bread boards!

And another beautiful plate display – can’t get enough of this!

A few years ago I started collecting white ironstone and I just recently realized that I really need more as I want to fill my dining room hutch with it. I’ve also just started collecting blue and white transferware. I have four platters so far but I’m still on the hunt! And that’s the fun part, the hunt. Even people who don’t think they are “collectors” end up loving it when they discover how enjoyable it is to find those things you love (especially if you find them for a steal!)














Sharing in some fun parties this week too!
Pop over to get great ideas and inspiration!



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  1. Thanks so much Terry! I am so glad you stopped by!

    Have a wonderful weekend!


  2. Thanks Lynn! A collection in the right hands can look sooo good, don't you think? Glad you enjoyed it! And thanks for popping by!


  3. ooooooing and ahhhhhhing over every photo! I will be leaving your blog today loaded with inspiration! Thank you for sharing these collections! I hope you have a great day!

  4. I'm a collector at heart, but this 'collection of collections' has me drooling! Looks like I need to get back out to the antique and thrift stores to up my game. I'm putting this in my pinterest tailwind queue so I can refer to it down the road.
    Have a great weekend!
    Hugs, Lynn

  5. Haha you do Karen! (just don't tell your husband I'm responsible!)


  6. Sheila,
    I didn't find any of your previous comments confusing, in fact, they clarify what makes a room appealing. I love the collection images you are sharing. These are perfect! Therein might be a problem, I might need to start collecting one more thing! 🙂

  7. First of all, you should definitely go buy more silver! Flea markets usually have it pretty dirt cheap – and they're heirlooms as well. And I have some white pitchers from Home Goods mixed in with my real ironstone. I am not particular about provenance, I just have to like it!

    Thanks for stopping by Shelley!


  8. I knew you were a woman after my own heart! Collecting is so fun, isn't it?

    Thanks for stopping by!


  9. Now you have me in the mood to go out shopping! Love all these collections! I have been thinking a lot about silver lately since we inherited a simple silver bowl from my late father in law. I would love to add some pretty silver trays on a shelf somewhere like you show above. I also adore blue and white china, pitchers, vases…anything! Right now I have a lot of white pitchers…just cheap ones from Home Goods but I do have a good collection. I also think the plates on the wall of Kris's dining room is perfect! Enjoy the rest of your week!

  10. I agree, a collection is also a must for decorating! I was collecting Staffordshire swans, but now I'm collecting antique Staffordshire figurines riding animals – but they have to be pretty special. I think next I might move on to some unique demitasses, how cute would they look stacked up on a 3-tiered stand? Anyways, I'll stop blabbing, great post once again!!