Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Decorating with collections

I inherited a gene for collecting.  Some call it hoarding, or being a pack rat, hopefully it really isn't that extreme and it can be more delicately called "collecting."  Collecting can cause it's own problems: where to store a collection, when to stop, and what to do when a collection gets out of control.  Never fear, collections can be tamed, and in some cases it is okay to say goodbye to a collection.

My first collection gone wild was a collection of suns and moons that I started in the 90's.  Remember those?  Celestial imagery was everywhere.  I thought it was charming, so I bought, created, and collected many, many suns and moons.  My family got on board and I couldn't pass one holiday or birthday without receiving at least one celestial gift.  You can imagine that eventually it spiraled out of control.  I had a solution.  Confine them.  Instead of having suns and moons strewn about the house, I decorated the bathroom with them.  It wasn't even a full fledged bathroom, more of a powder room.  To embrace the theme, I painted the walls a bright orange and hung the best of the suns and moons on all four walls.  I must admit, it was a bit overpowering, but it was confined and contained.  It was kitschy and cute. 
Since then, I have broken that collection and I only have one unique ceramic sun left on a wall in my home.
I learned a lesson, though.  Grouping items is a great way to display confine a collection.  I used this technique when designing one of the bathrooms in our 1890's home renovation. I have a large collection of vintage photos.  Some are family shots and some have been collected at flea markets and yard sales just because they are interesting.

Using black and white in that bathroom seemed like a natural choice.  I found a white waffle weave shower curtain, and simple black towels.  I framed my collection of hand me down antique photos in black wood frames, and incorporated some black and white artwork as well.  I decoupaged a tissue box with black and white imagery.  I scoured the other parts of my house for a white kettle, a white pitcher (to put flowers in), a black glass bowl (for soaps). I painted the walls white and the built in shelving, window trim and door trims black. 

The overall effect is quite nice and was easy to achieve.  I didn't have to spend much to get the look.  I used old photos and vases.  The frames, if they weren't black, were painted or found at local discount stores.  I made the tissue box and the polka dot candle with black and white papers and Mod Podge. 

With white walls and only black accessories, there is potential for an easy switch up, if I want one.  I can add red towels in December for a pop of color.  If I find a really great antique accessory with a bit of color, I could add that too.  It's a great look, and I haven't tired of it yet!

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