Products Styling

Tips for Displaying Treasures

Penelope Herbert
Written by Penelope Herbert

One of the most common home decorator issues is how to display treasures. Whether it’s wall art, a collection on a coffee table, awkward spaces or just ‘too much stuff’, there is a solution to suit you. When displaying treasures, think of the basic design principles of shape and balance.

A well-designed collection will have:

– elements of unification such as colour, shape, and texture

i.e. objects are different but all blue, or, objects that are different hues of the same colour

1-Chris Dyson - displaying

2-Fry Dog Design- displaying

i.e. all objects are oval or square but different colours

i.e. all objects are wooden, metallic, woollen, glass, ceramic, etc.

3-Mazzie - displaying

4-Kimberley Ryan - displaying

– visual balance such as size

When displaying small items, avoid placing them on a giant dresser where they will get ‘lost’. Similarly, visual balance will be ‘off’ if you hang a small picture on an oversized wall. Always try to balance the size of the objects in your collection with the furniture and room in which they are displayed.

Another tip for flat surfaces is to visualize a pyramid. Large items go at the back and smaller items go towards the front or side. You can also create a visual pyramid using books, to elevate objects and create different levels.

5-Julie Ranee - displaying

6-Ryland Peters - displaying

7-Chris Dorsey - displaying


I am a big fan of the flexibility that flat, floating shelves provide for displaying wall art. A key to looking stylish is to display artworks that have a cohesive element, such as all black frames, all square, or some other defining similarity.

8-Sigmar - displaying

9-Turner Pocock - displaying


Perhaps you are eclectic with treasures, so don’t own ‘collections’ as such. Create cohesion and delineation by painting the back of a bookcase in a bright or metallic colour. The single colour and boundaries of the bookcase will bring cohesion to an assortment of different objects.

10-Violet & George - displaying

If you have the luxury of designing a purpose built space, uniform alcoves with downlighting are perfect for displaying eclectic objects of a similar size.

11-Artefacto - displaying


12-Tamara Mack Design - displaying


Every home is bound to have an awkward corner or two; whether it’s near windows, under stairs, on a landing or in a passageway. Awkward spaces can be handled with the same display rules of colour, shape and texture with the necessary adjustments for the space. For example, Cindi Carter has used a variety of objects but all are either metallic or brown, thus being visually organized.

If you have a curved space, well then you just have to go with the flow! A round wine table fits perfectly and the addition of a chair makes it a flexible reading nook.

13-Cindi Carter - displaying

14-The Anderson Studio - displaying


Using pegs on a metal wire or bulldog clips on a wooden rail provides flexibility to display the never-ending artworks children desire to bring home. These display methods are also good to brighten up neglected spaces, such as a garage wall.

15-22 Interiors - displaying

16-Maison Design Build - displaying

So there you have it, so many different and creative ways to display your treasures by simply following some basic design principles. HAPPY DECORATING!

Penelope xx

Feature image: Chris Dorsey

About the author
Penelope Herbert
Penelope Herbert

Journalist / Style Editor
If it’s cool, quirky, chic or unique then I’m interested in writing about it, interviewing it, promoting it, or trying it out. An inveterate fashionista of wardrobe and home, I should have become a designer (fashion, interiors or homes) but instead I became a writer. It’s something I love, writing about my lifelong passions.
It was a convoluted path interspersed with work in the film industry, corporate marketing, public relations, magazine publishing and radio broadcasting. Yet here I am. I write a weekly Home + Interiors newspaper column, blog at (where I offer specialist writing and promotional services to design based businesses) and I interview people in design from across the globe on Please e-mail me if you’d like to chat about your passions in design and home.