Displaying Your Collections

Displaying Your Collections
Displaying Your Collections

Monday, May 4, 2015

Displaying Collections

What do you collect?  Art, books, and Asian artifact collections are on the rise around the world.  Some people collect tea pots, vintage jewelry, beer steins, rocks, thimbles, or dolls.  Others collect classic cars, homes, or tiles- the list goes on and on.  I’ve had numerous collections over the years: Barbie dolls when I was young; 
shells, Depression glassware and oak antique furniture as I matured; crystal glasses and sets of dishes would still currently fill my home if it weren’t for the fact that we don’t have a lot of space anymore.  My husband has his collections as well: Seattle Mariner and Washington Husky memorabilia for instance.  Then there’s the inevitable story of how Mom threw out his baseball card collection years ago.

We often have so many collections that we don’t have room to display everything so that their magic is as apparent to others as it is to us.  After all, when properly displayed they can start meaningful conversations about who we really are, often recalling warm memories. They represent what makes us unique, and often help to offer glimpses of past generations and family history.  Sometimes they take over the house, though, and then we tend to ignore the clutter, or pack them all away labeling them (in our minds) as useless clutter or trinkets.  

This week we’re going to talk about how you might creatively display these treasures so that their majesty is something awesome to our guests and as importantly, to us.

You Likely Will Need to Purge
If you haven’t gone through your collections for a long time, or ever, it’s normal to have it feel overwhelming to start, so begin slowly and small: one box or 1 shelf.  Keep what’s truly special, and only what’s honestly exceptional to you.  Suggestion: Pay attention to the feeling you get when you look at a picture of someone you really love- it might be a spouse or partner, but it also might be your parent, sibling, grandparent, grandchild or even your favorite pet at an early age.  Now, when you go through the box of artifacts you saved, see what brings up those same feelings.  Keep what really touches your heart, and dispose of the rest.  Marie Kondo (who you either love or hate) calls it “sparking joy” in her book, Life-Changing Magic of Tidying UpThe affect of a carefully maintained smaller collection can be much greater than a huge collection in a disorganized box of stuff or a packed display case.  If you simply can’t bear to give it to charity, gift it to another person, or throw anything out, then consider putting out collections on a rotating basis- perhaps make a change every season. If you like the result of your first staging, be sure to take pictures before you pack it up for the next rotation, so you can recreate it in a year.
Crowding makes this display less appealing.

This Waterford crystal display affords plenty of light & space.
Wall Mounted Collections
  • Framed old family legal documents, often times yellowed with age can make a wonderful montage on a wall.  You’ll want to make color copies of them if they’re something you need/want to pass down to younger family members.
    Credit: Pottery Barn
  • Do you have a meaningful handwritten note from your parent, aunt, or grandparent?  Consider framing it and putting it where you can appreciate it every day.
  • Black and white photos can be stunning, even in a more contemporary setting when framed identically in a plain frame with white matting.  These are particularly nice when placed on a dark wall.  Frames are available at craft stores, Target, and Ikea if you can't afford to have them professionally framed.
    Credit: Pottery Barn
  • If your items are 3 dimensional but still fairly flat, then consider shadow boxes, which are available at craft stores and Ikea.  Remember too, that DIYers find spray paint their friend when they love it, but doesn’t come in the right color.
  • Consider mounting collectibles directly to your wall- they make a statement in and of themselves.
Camping gear makes some hearts sing!

Scissors of all size & shape: barber or seamstress collection?

Melamine, bakelite, plastic items from the '40s & '50s


Collections on a Shelf
  • Floating shelves, available at Target, Ikea and higher end stores is a great way to display your collection of 3 dimensional treasures.
  • Finding old wooden or metal boxes to mount to a wall is another option.  Find these at public salvage stores, antique stores, or salvage stores such as Second Use or Earthwise (in Seattle.)
    Collectible cameras are featured in this collection

    Jewelry is featured in this collection.

  • Try grouping these by color if you have many varieties.  Shape is another option to consider.
Credit: Buzzfeed.com

Pitchers & teapots are combined with books.
  • If your collection is of very small things, such as thimbles, bottle caps, or even match books, then consider placing them all together, on a grid.  Having a few of them on many shelves can look like clutter and they can get lost from view.
  • Consider using contrast (another color from your decor or pattern versus solid) on the shelf or its back for a more dramatic effect if your collection is all the same hue.  Paint, shelf paper, wall paper or craft paper all make awesome backdrops for collections such as crystal or white dishes.
  • Combining two collections can sometimes be a very effective way of displaying treasures.  Setting shells next to and on top of a collection of books can work beautifully, for instance.
  • Display in odd numbers: 3, 5 or 7 of something is more visually appealing than even numbers.

Collections in Containers
  • Vases, decorative bowls, glass cloches, stemmed cake plates, and water goblets are all objects for consideration when displaying collections.  Placing your collectibles in these can elevate their importance.  

  • Setting items on a shelf, coffee table, window sill, or side table all can work beautifully.  Sometimes the old wooden horse you got from Aunt Hannah can look sad on its own, but placed with two other items that share its hue or age can make it an interesting artifact.

In Conclusion
Check out stores to see how they display collections in their windows- they have experts who design them, and often we can glean an idea of how we might display something from them.  Also check out hotels’ public spaces like lobbies, bars, etc.  Again, they can inspire you to think outside the box.  

Sewing Machines in commercial window Credit: AllSaints.com


What do you collect, and how do you display it?  It would be awesome if you shared pictures for your fellow readers.  If you need help, contact me at www.TransformationsforInteriors.com and we’ll set up an appointment to help you best display your treasures.


Monday, April 27, 2015

Plants Improve Almost EVERYTHING!

On a recent Southwest Airlines flight, I read a brief article that said that desk plants boost worker’s productivity by 15%.  Since many of us sit at a desk for at least part of our work week, I decided to do a bit of research on the effects of plants.  Not only was this the easiest blog entry on which to find current research, I discovered a whole host of other positive benefits to having plants in our homes and workplaces.

Bringing plants indoors has gone in and out of style, depending on the time frame.  The Greeks and Romans started the trend way back in history.  Victorians loved them, and the seventies wouldn’t have been complete without at least one wandering jew and spider plant in a home’s decor.  The trend right now is for a lighter touch when it comes to house plants.  After I read all the benefits, I’m not only adding a plant to my office desk, I’m adding some to each part of my home. Previously I've said that I had a “brown thumb” when it came to the care and feeding of plants, but in the last ten years, I’ve kept all my “easy to grow” plants healthy and thriving. Read on and see if research doesn’t encourage you to go out and get at least one plant.

Plants Boost Productivity
As many people will attest, being in nature can lower stress levels and improve one’s outlook. According to a University of Michigan study, however, the presence of plants in one’s indoor environment can improve concentration, memory and productivity by as much as 20%.  Two Norwegian studies found that productivity was greatly enhanced by the presence of plants in the office.  Texas A & M University noted the “work performed under the natural influence of ornamental plants is normally of higher quality and completed with a much higher rate of accuracy than work done in environments devoid of nature.”

Plants Help Us Breathe
We all know that we inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.  During photosynthesis*, plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen, making them the ideal partners for anyone with breathing issues like asthma or COPD.  When photosynthesis stops at night, most plants switch to absorb oxygen and give off carbon dioxide just like us, however so they aren’t great to have in a bedroom.  A few special plants, however like orchids, succulents, and epiphytic bromeliads (which can be grown effectively on driftwood or in terrariums,) and continue to take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen at night.  So put those in your bedroom to keep the oxygen flowing at night!
*the process by which green plants and some other organisms use sunlight to synthesize foods from carbon dioxide and water. Photosynthesis in plants generally involves the green pigment chlorophyll and generates oxygen as a byproduct.
Orchids are gorgeous when blooming & are popular today.

Here's one example of a epiphytic bromeliad- gorgeous!

Succulents are the easiest plants to care for.

Plants Clean the Air
NASA has spent time and energy researching air quality in sealed environments, and found that plants play a pivotal role in removing trace levels of toxic vapors from inside tightly sealed structures.  Low levels of chemicals such as carbon monoxide and formaldehyde can be removed from indoor environments by plant leaves alone.  Furthermore, the ones on the list below are hardy plants, although they take varying amounts of light and watering.  The top ten plants that remove indoor pollutants, according to NASA include:
  1. Peace lily (Spathiphyllum wallisii


  2. English ivy (Hedera helix)
  3. chrysanthemum (Chrysantheium morifolium
  4. gerbera daisy (Gerbera jamesonii)
  5. mother-in-law's tongue (Sansevieria trifasciata ‘Laurentii')
  6. bamboo palm (Chamaedorea sefritzii)
  7. azalea (Rhododendron simsii)
  8. red-edge dracaena (Dracaena marginata)
  9. spider plant (Chlorophytum comosum). 

Plants Discourage Illness
Outside, plant roots tap the groundwater table for water, which then evaporates through its leaves.  Studies show that this accounts for about 10% of the moisture in the atmosphere. Having plants in your home or office increases the humidity indoors (which might sound less appealing in the humid climates during hot months) and is wonderful for you in the drier months or if you live in an arid climate.  They decrease the occurrence of colds, sore throats, dry coughs and dry skin, according to studies done at the Agricultural University of Norway.  Other studies show that higher levels of humidity decreases the survival and transmission of the Flu virus.

Plants Boost Healing
One study conducted at Kansas State University found that viewing plants during recovery from surgery led to major improvement in physiologic responses.  They include lowering blood pressure, and reported lower ratings of pain, anxiety and fatigue when compared to patients without plants in their rooms.  Texas A & M University noted that patients tasked with the job of taking care of plants caused significantly reduced recovery time from their medical procedures.
One more obvious benefit is that many plants have valuable medicinal properties.  Natural herbal remedies are simple and holistic ways of treating common illnesses and maladies.  My acupuncturist/herbalist, Dianna Dean regularly prescribes herbs to help me balance both physical and emotional systems.  Why not consider herbs, rather than chemicals to fix minor maladies?

Plants Improve Learning
Research done at Texas A & M University showed that children who spend time around plants learn better.  Furthermore, spending time in natural environments improved the ability of children with Attention Deficit Disorder to focus, concentrate and engage with their surrounds.

In Conclusion

I am so absolutely psyched about all these findings that I’m running out before I post this entry on my blog to buy some new plants!  I already have a dozen plants in my home, but I’m definitely buying more.  What an easy way to improve concentration and memory, increase productivity, stay healthy, as well as breathe more deeply in cleaner air, and lower stress! This is so much better than any multi-vitamin I can take.  Are you convinced?  If not, you can read more at http://ellisonchair.tamu.edu/health-and-well-being-benefits-of-plants/#.VTaj8lw9dsM  If you need help purchasing the right plants for your environment at work or at home, contact me through my website at www.TransformationsforInteriors.com   I look forward to hearing from you!


April Showers Bring May Flowers!

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Return of Wallpaper

Guess what?  Wallpaper has returned to the design forefront to add pizazz to interiors both residentially and commercially.  They are not only more beautiful than before, they’re also better quality, making installation less challenging and the result breathtaking.  I can remember helping my sister wallpaper her bathroom when I was in my early twenties, and finishing with a much greater understanding of the old saying, “Busier than a one-armed wallpaper hanger.”  We were busy alright- trying to keep the wallpaper from migrating, shrinking or stretching, peeling, buckling, getting bubbles when we were hanging it.  (We were challenged and there were four arms involved!)  I also recall, decades ago, when my cousin Debi said that she’d never again wallpaper after discovering the joys of faux painting using techniques such as stencils, sponge painting, graphic painting using painter’s tape.  Well, things change, don’t they?

Two panels of wallpaper add a wow factor to this accent wall.









A powder room is a great place to wallpaper!




















The coved ceiling of a dining room gets a treatment.
Why Wallpaper?
Wallpaper is durable, and often is cleanable in adorning your walls.  Keep in mind that you need not use it on every wall of a room.  I’ve previously written about adding an Accent Wall to your decor in one room.  Wallpaper is an excellent way to do just that.  While wallpaper has significant historical significance, it has become en vogue for today’s home fashions as well.  Artistic designs and contemporary color palettes can give your home a step up in class, and contribute to your home’s value.

The opportunity to add depth, complex textures, intricate patterns and varied hues can be easily achieved when you use wallpaper.  Modern technology combined updated printing techniques into wallpaper, giving everyone an opportunity to enjoy a new/old art form in their home.
Wallpaper can connect a color scheme.

Back cupboard shelves with a wallpaper background.

A little wallpaper gives a spark of interest here.

Metallic wallpaper is great for shiny objects on these shelves. 

Children's Bedrooms

Our children's rooms have become a focus in design in the last decade.  Consider wallpaper to add a splash of color and show the individual interests of a particular child today and in their future.


Pattern is very important in decorating for children because of the repetition within a design. The rhythm of a pattern promotes problem solving and gives the child a sense of stability. Ignite a child's imagination and understanding of the world in which we live through the use of wallpaper.

More Uses for Wallpaper


Farrow and Ball's website has instructions for this "headboard."







If you're a DIYer and really want to do this yourself, check out Farrow-Ball paints and wallpaper's website, http://us.farrow-ball.com/pws/client/images/content/newsimages/how-to-hang-wallpaper.pdf 
where you can get the important steps in getting a perfect outcome while knowing what you're getting into before you start a project.




What are your questions or thoughts regarding the use of wallpaper?  We'd love to see your finished project, so send pictures, please.  As always, if you need help in determining where or how you might use wallpaper in your home, please go to my website, www.TransformationsforInteriors.com
and get my contact information.

HAVE A GREAT WEEK!