Starting A Home Decor Collection

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A collection of similar items can be a great way to decorate a space in your home. In this post, I’m sharing my tips and tricks on how to start a home decor collection.

gallery wall going up a staircase.

Where to Start

This past weekend I did a little antique shopping and while I was perusing the aisles for some of my favorite antique finds, I was thinking about a few of the home decor collections I have in my home and thought it would make a great series here on the blog.

As I began to write this post, so many new thoughts worth sharing kept popping into my head. I quickly realized, that with all I wanted to say and share, this topic was going to require more than one post. So, I’m thinking this will end up being a three-part series over a few weeks. Here’s what that will look like:

Sound fun? I sure hope so. Collecting things to style my home brings me so much joy! I love the thrill of the hunt, I love how they look displayed in my home, and I love showing them off to visitors, guests, and friends.

If you’re looking for a creative way to decorate your space and want to start a collection of your own, then this new series is just for you! Let’s get into it.

vintage tins on a shelf.

1. Find Something You Love

I think the key to a really great collection is choosing an item that you personally enjoy. As I scroll through social media, I’ve seen a lot of the same collections. While it’s possible that everyone likes the same thing, my assumption is that people started collecting things because someone else did and it snowballed from there.

My recommendation is that you find something that YOU really love. Collect something that interests you, that excites you, or that makes your heart smile. The more unique, the better. I love quirky decor. These are the collections that will bring you the most joy and will end up being something you keep for a lifetime rather than a collection that winds up at the thrift store because it was just a trend. (Know that I say this with zero judgment; I’ve been there too!)

cabinet with white kitchen serving pieces.

2. Try Something Quirky

In my opinion, some of the best collections are things that are a bit different or quirky. Think outside of the box. I’ve shared some of my home decor collections. While I hope my collections spark some ideas for you, remember that your collection doesn’t have to be like mine or someone else’s to be special.

As I mentioned above, choose something that you’ll love to hunt for. Choose something that will bring you joy every time you see it as you walk into your home.

Another benefit to choosing something that is quirky and unique is that not everyone will be searching for the same item so the price may be lower. Some of my favorite collections are antique items and over the years, as certain items became more popular, I found that the prices started to skyrocket and things became harder to find. There have been a couple of collections I had to stop just because I didn’t want to pay the inflated prices.

vintage plastic christmas deer on a shelf.

3. Set Some Parameters

Collections can quickly spiral out of control if you’re not careful. When I’m thinking about my own collections, I like to set up some boundaries. I learned this the hard way because there was a time or two I started a collection while perusing eBay and when all of the packages started to arrive I was filled with regret. It was impulse shopping. I wish I would have had some parameters in place back then.

Some questions to ask yourself:

  •  Is there a certain size, style, shape, material, age, etc. that I want to limit my collection to?
  • Do I only want to shop in person or can I search online?
  • How many pieces are the max for my collection?
  • What will I do with pieces of my collection that no longer fit or I no longer love?
  • Where will I store or display my collection?
  • Is this collection bringing me joy or causing me stress?
  • Do I want new items or vintage finds?


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As you can imagine, this list could go on and on. I just recommend you think things through before starting in order to avoid any buyer’s remorse.

paint by number paintings hung in a group on a wall.

4. Think Practical

If you are tight on space or tend to be more of a minimalist with your home decor, think about collections that are practical or functional. For example, you could collect vintage clothing or jewelry that you could wear. You could collect vintage baking dishes and tools that you’re able to use in the kitchen.

Practical could also mean collecting a certain style of art to decorate your walls or vases to display flowers and cuttings from your yard.

Also, this is your collection so you can determine how many items are in it. You can collect 5 of something or 100. Again, be realistic, practical, and honest with yourself. No matter what size space you call home, you can have a collection too.

rolling pins in a large crock.

5. Start Shopping

With all of those things in mind, you’re ready to start shopping.

I’ve built a collection overnight (thank you online shopping) and I’ve been building other collections for 10+ years. While there’s no right or wrong way, I’ve found that taking my time to build a collection is much more rewarding and typically leads to better results in the end. You may feel the pressure to build your collection as quickly as possible, but I say take it slow. You can enjoy a collection when it’s a just few pieces as much as you can when you have twelve items in it.

Depending on what your collection is, do some research as to where you might shop. Will you be looking at antique stores, thrift shops, home decorating stores, or even your own backyard? Is your collection going to be pieces you only buy while you’re traveling or are they going to be homemade items that you create yourself?

For me, shopping is one of the best parts of building a collection, so be sure to have fun with this part. If you enjoy vintage shopping, I have a post dedicated to my must-have tips for antiquing.

close up of wood and brass spoons hung on a wall.

Wrap Up

I bet you never thought you’d read so much about starting a home decor collection. I know that there is a lot of information here and some of it may seem like common sense, but I wanted to share with you all of the lessons that I’ve learned along the way in hopes that it will help you to more fully enjoy your collecting adventures.

Happy Collecting, my friends!

vintage brass animals displayed on a shelf.

More Home Decor Ideas You Will Enjoy

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  1. What is the little “tree” you have growing in the transferware pitcher? It looks like it could be an olive tree or such. Thank you. I have long treasured my transferware pieces and it is wonderful to read of your love and enjoyment for them as well.
    All the best.

  2. I’m so excited for this series! I have been un-seriously collecting vintage postcards for years and I just have never known what to do with them. I love the idea of collecting a specific type of art to display together too. I appreciate that your posts always feel real and attainable. Thank you for sharing!!

  3. Love this post! I myself collect vintage painted trays, brass animals, handmade pottery to name a few. I only allow myself to grow these collections by shopping in thrift stores. This makes it feel like it was meant to be and was waiting for me! Sounds corny, but it feels so much more special knowing I didn’t just go on line to buy it. Takes a lot of patience though 😉 Looking forward to the other related posts and thank you for your continuing inspiration! 👍🏻😁

  4. I totally agree! Parameters are a great point. I collect globes, salt & pepper shakers and floral art. In all three cases I have pieces that I regret because I just grabbed the first thing I saw. Now I’m much more discriminating- globes have to be old, unusual colors or sizes and the more so the better. Salt and pepper shakers need to mean something to us or be a color pallet I like. Floral art- is a gallery wall in my dining room and there is only a little space left! Good luck collecting everyone!

  5. I never thought about collecting pictures and your groupings are so inspiring! My ex took every piece of wall art with him when he left and I rushed to the thrift store just to fill the empty space. Nothing matches and nothing really sparks joy so I’m now looking forward to choosing something I love and creating more visual interest on my walls. Thank you for always being an inspiration! I’m glad I randomly found your blog. You’re amazing! <3

  6. My dad worked at the Post Office for decades and collected stamps he purchased throughout the years. After he passed, I found comfort and joy leafing through binders of his stamps. Love your work and this post!

  7. Your posts–like your home–are spot on and unique, and the love shines through. Displaying collections is challenging for us with open floorplans and modern furnishings. Curating, editing, and grouping become even more critical. I have found in modern spaces the most effective displays are limited numbers/groupings of items the size of a soccer ball or larger. Interesting how beloved collections can work in modern spaces!

  8. Thank you so much for the informative post. I almost cried looking at the deer display. My mother had several and displayed them at Christmas. I so enjoy your site and also the playlists.

  9. Hi Michael,
    Just a quick note to say that something I really appreciate about your site is the variety of content. As well as the quality! Thank you for the time and thought you put into each post.
    You may have addressed this before; I find the photo groupings you’ve hung to have that elusive, well curated yet eclectic look. Would appreciate any guidance on how to achieve something similar. Have a lovely weekend!

  10. Thank you for this timely post- especially about collecting what you love and brings you joy. I love silver and have quite a few pieces. I do not mind cleaning it because of the beauty that shines after a little effort. I am looking forward to thoughts about how to display and use.

  11. I love these thought provoking ideas. They are very helpful. You gave me things to think about. I like collecting things, but sometimes I have to put breaks on, because I find myself buying to many.

  12. Hello Michael- I so enjoyed reading your post on collecting things. I love to collect Depression Glass, but only cobalt blue in color. It can be very hard to find, so that in itself, keeps my collection under control!! And at Christmastime my kitchen is filled with Gingerbread Houses and sugared/glittered Gingerbread men. And as you know, those can be packed away!!

    Have a fun weekend…

  13. About 30 years ago I started collecting vintage brooches, mostly when my husband and I were on business travel. I was able to wear them, these tiny pieces of art. I also displayed them in curios. Then one year I got 800 pieces of vintage jewelry from my husband for Valentine’s Day! He bought several auctions. It took us days to go through the boxes and pull the treasures for my collection. How exciting. But, what to do with the other pieces? Well now we are retired and my collection has turned into an enjoyable business. I sell online and in a local antique shop. I work when I want and never dreamed I could be making this kind of money that started from a simple hobby. It keeps me active, engaged with people, and we now travel many times a year and always where there are great flea markets and antique shops. Michael, I love your blog, yours is the only one I follow, and as busy as I am, I always make time to read it. Thanks for sharing so much of your life with us.

  14. This was an excellent post on collections! I have several, but my favorite is my collection of Nancy Drew books, earlier printings. I’m still deciding how to “honorably” display them! Thank you!

  15. My husband and I collected antique brass candlesticks of different styles snd heights when on a road trip through New England at the time we were young marrieds. I planned to surround them in a base of evergreens for Christmas on our mantel. Forty years later I still love them. They have been used so many ways as table decor…the most recent a grouping with ferns and orchid plants to suggest a conservatory . They are useful and beautiful …and easily divided among my children who also borrow them all the time. We usually spread them throughout the house in bookcases and they give an old English feel with the books.

  16. Great post! I love so many things I’ve got quite a few collections and quite a few grew while living in London and visiting antique shops and portobello road. I do always try to know where it will go before I bring it home. Anything Green, China, two handled mantle vases, amateur portraits, topiary/plants, Old mirrors, anything figural….
    Collecting is fun!

      1. Great ideas! I started collecting vintage holiday postcards and had no idea how readily available and inexpensive they were going to be. I maxed out my Christmas, Valentines and Easter collection pretty quickly. Now if I could just find some Halloween ones.