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Displaying Your Treasures and Collectables

Learn several ways to display your treasures and collectables.

Whether you collect plates, antique candlesticks, dolls, seashells or family mementos, Sue Pelley of the Decorating Den suggests several creative ways to display treasured items and make them part of your home's decor.

Grandmother's Box
For a special grandchild, create a shadowbox with baby pictures (Sue suggests pictures from the first three birthdays) and mementos that may someday be passed on to that child's own children. In an attractive antique frame, arrange special items from Grandmother's youth, such as a glove, pieces of costume jewelry, photos, etc., and tuck in sprigs of dried baby's breath for accent.

Grandfather's Box
Make a shadow box display of Grandfather's military or sports medals or other mementos as a keepsake for a son or grandson. (Sue used her husband's high-school track medals and varsity letters to create a shadowbox for their grandson.)

Family Photographs
Frame family photos in a variety of shapes and group them together To display these pictures on a table, be sure to create a "pyramid effect," forming a triangle from the bottom of the table to lead the eye upward and around the collection. Add a taller object such as a lamp to give height to the grouping and add visual interest. To create interest, you can add other objects to your photo display, for instance, a stack of antique books.


A pine table specially designed with a glass-covered shadowbox-type top over a pull-out drawer makes a great display area for a seashell collection. Arrange the shells attractively in the drawer on a bed of white sand and you'll think you're back at the beach!

Don't just display a plate collection on a plate shelf near the ceiling. You can also get special hangers and mount the plates on a wall at eye level for an interesting change from (or accent to) framed artwork.

Bulletin Boards
Crisscross grosgrain ribbon on a bulletin board for a handy and colorful way to display cards.

Other Suggestions
Don't hesitate to display dissimilar objects together. Even objects that don't at first seem to go together can be attractively arranged to give plenty of eye movement to the viewer. Consider displaying small and/or fragile objects, such as perfume bottles, inside an end table with enclosed glass shelves. This really cuts down on the need to dust frequently.

Tip: If you want to make a piece of new lace look instantly old, dip it in a bowl of water in which a teabag has been brewing. You can dip it once for subtle dyeing, or several times to achieve a darker shade.

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