5 Ways to Turn Your Prized Collection Into Decor

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Record collection hanging above two leather chairs.

Design: Mary Patton / Photo: Molly Culver / Illustration: The Spruce

When it comes to decorating, most designers agree that one key element is infusing your personality into the space. Without nods to your individual hobbies and interests, a room can easily feel like a hotel at best, or sterile and cold at worst. 

While there are plenty of ways to go about adding your unique perspective to your home, one we’re loving lately is the use of collections as decor. From cowboy hats to plates, we’ve spotted endless inspiration for decorating with a cluster of collectibles.

With the primary goal of figuring out how to do this stylishly, we turned to the experts to ask for their advice. Whatever your collection, if it's a part of your personality, it's the perfect addition to your home.

Meet the Experts
  • Jennifer Hunter is the founder of Jennifer Hunter Design, a boutique residential interior design firm based in New York City.
  • Jennifer Walter is the founder of Folding Chair Design Co., which specializes in inputting their clients' personal items and personalities into their spaces.
  • Mary Patton is the founder of Mary Patton Design. She creates elegant, eclectic interiors by mixing high art with personal treasures.

Create a Plate Wall

Classic blue and white living room with blue plate wall.

Design: Jennifer Hunter; Photo: Jack Thompson

While gallery walls have expanded to include more than just art or photos, interior designer Jennifer Hunter suggests thinking completely outside the picture frame when it comes to using collections as wall decor. 

“Clients have come to me with inherited china collections that they are not sure what to do with,” Hunter tells us. “They don't necessarily want to display them in a traditional sense like propped up in a china cabinet. However, creating a plate wall is an opportunity to display family heirlooms, but in a fresh and modern way.”

Sawysine Invisible Adhesive Plate Hanger

Create Some Uniformity

Gallery wall made with framed records.

Design: Mary Patton; Photo: Molly Culver

Interior designer Mary Patton suggests that whatever you’re displaying, pull it together with common elements. For example, if you’re displaying something like album covers or art, “I suggest using the same type of style and color when the pieces of art are different sizes,” Patton says.

“Treat the collection as one large art installation," she suggests. "I would style the room around it as I would a painting, with plenty of visibility. Consider the color and scale of the collection when adding decor to the room.”

Smashed Banana Music Album Frame

Use Textiles for Texture and Color

living room built ins

Tina Ramchandani

When you use objects alongside traditional art to adorn your walls, you're able to infuse more than just color.

“I love displaying scarves or other textiles that are framed in a modern way, for example floating in an acrylic box,” Hunter says. “It adds dimension and a pop of color to any space.”

The Display is Key

chestnut color built ins

Whittney Parkinson

Hunter tells us that it’s not necessarily what you’re displaying—it’s how.

“Invest in displaying your collections, whether that be framing or hardware,” she says. “Avoid mixing too many colors, shapes, or themes. When it comes to displaying collections, simplicity is best."

Pull from the Past

Office with built ins filled with color-coordinated books.

Design: Folding Chair Design Co.; Photo: Jenn Verrier

When Jennifer Walter of Folding Chair Design Co. worked with a client who wanted to feature a special collection of books in their first-floor redesign, she was on board. But, it wasn't until they got started that true inspiration struck.

"When it came to refurbishing the existing bookshelves, we pulled the client’s collection of monochromatic books," Walter explains. "It wasn’t until we explored storage boxes in the basement that we uncovered hundreds of books—in a rainbow of hues—from his wife’s old boxes, dating as far back as the '60s and '70s. Everything from biographies, home decorating, novels, and more were packed into the boxes, waiting to return to a shelf somewhere.”

Rolanstar Bookshelf

Rolanstar Bookshelf