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Collection obsession: 3 ways to display your prized possessions.

Most of us are collectors in one form or another--whether it's pottery, postcards, or something infinitely more exotic. But why tuck those treasures away in a dusty cabinet? Here are three of our favorite display ideas to get your best finds out in the open.

1 Take it vertical

Portland photographer Elizabeth Soule hasn't lost her love of toys. Her cache of miniature animals--from dinosaurs to donkeys--has even morphed into works of art: Soule shoots them against colorful backdrops and mounts them on boxlike frames. "They're inspirational, lighthearted, and fun," she says. Above her mantel, she creates stair-stepped towers of the photos interspersed with the figurines.

TRY THIS WITH Boxy, stackable objects such as books or wooden blocks.


INFO Photo boxes (from $48 for a s-by 5-inch) available at

2 Stick to a single color

Fifteen years, more than 120 pieces: Debra Heisel's collection of 1940s-era pottery is even more stunning when viewed enmasse. "I just love the crisp look of it," says Heisel, who's based in Carmel, California, and hunts for McCoy, Shawnee, and Haeger pottery at flea markets and thrift stores. The white, matte-glazed pieces are displayed in a living-room nook painted to match.


TRY THIS WITH Large collections with distinct finishes, such as old trophies or milk glass.

3 Celebrate diversity

Do you have a mismatched yet beloved stash? Sometimes it's best to just go with it. We hung colorful plates from Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters (and a few from our editors' own kitchen cabinets) in an asymmetrical wavefike pattern on a plain white wall. The blank canvas allows the dishes to pop without competing for attention; a colored wall could also work, as long as the hues are complementary.

TRY THIS WITH Themed collections such as vintage postcards or old 45 rpm records.

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Title Annotation:Easy style
Author:Nunn, Jennie
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Nov 1, 2008
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