Collections are a wonderful way to add character and individuality to your home and display to the world your interests. As many collectors know however, collections can quickly add up to CLUTTER in your space. This poses a hefty challenge: how can you display collections in such a way that they don't look like clutter on your counter or shelves but add that charm that can come from any well designed and displayed collection?
To answer this question I will use my personal collection~vintage bottles~as an example. The advice can be applied to pretty much any collection. I remember when I got my first real old bottle. I was 15 years old and instantly enamored. My best friend at the time frequented several flea markets and antique shops in the local Seattle area, and because of him, my collection quickly grew. Since then, many people have added to my bottle collection, so much so, that I have never purchased a bottle on my own! I think the fact that my bottles were all gifts, makes my collection all the more special. But enough about my collection.
Here are some ideas on how to display vintage bottles, or any collection, in a fresh, pristine, purposeful way.
1) Start with unique, truly special pieces. Vintage bottles are best~most new or newish bottles just look like clutter or worse, a pile of recycling garbage sitting on your counter. The older the better with bottles. Look for bottles with nice patina, interesting character, shape or color. My husband is famous for stashing his new, so-called collectible coke bottles in my collection of vintage and antique bottles. Sorry hun, it doesn't work!
2) Group by likeness. Displaying your bottles in groupings by color, shape or size is a great way to make your display look organized and not haphazard.
3) Unite your bottles by placing them on a tray or in a bin of some sort. This makes the display look like one unit visually, versus a dozen or more small pieces~less pieces and more unity equals LESS CLUTTER to the eye.
4) Split up your bottles. If you are a collector, like I am, you are likely to have A LOT of bottles. Don't put all your bottles in one room. It will be overwhelming visually and start to look messy. The exception to this would be if you were to have a special room dedicated to your collection or if you have a large display case. Putting them all in one dedicated area can also serve to unify the collection into ONE WHOLE.
Otherwise, split up your collection in several smaller collections and display them thoughtfully throughout the house. That being said, don't go overboard with bottle displays throughout your whole house either. In my opinion, bottles go wonderfully in the kitchen/dining room areas and guest and master bedrooms and bathrooms. I wouldn't put vintage bottles in kids rooms (too fragile anyway) or in formal areas of your house. Newer more modern bottles and vases look stunning in formal, but I would keep vintage bottles in more casual areas. This keeps the more formal rooms from looking cluttered.