Notes from the Field: Gorgeous Groupings

March 28, 2011

By Karin Lidbeck Brent

I am always fascinated by people’s collections and, even more, the way they display the things they love inside their homes. Displays of such beloved items in large groupings add unique individual style to a home and say a lot about the passions of the homeowners. Sometimes these displays just jump out and grab you. One visual collection that really wowed me was in a house I styled for Country Living magazine. Their creative display of various rug beaters en masse acts like wallpaper, creating a fantastic graphic. Whoever thought rug beaters could be so interesting!

Photos by Michael Partenio


Often a collection is a simple idea, like these pretty white pitchers lined up on a wall. They make a pleasing group just waiting for occasional flowers to be added.

Photo by Johnny Valiant; styled by Karin Lidbeck Brent

A collection can be subtle, but it will make a greater impact when put together in a grouping. At another photo shoot, I was styling the home of a woman who collected everything about dogs. Every room had dog memorabilia individually scattered around the house. You had to look hard to see the connection. I gathered together this group of some of her favorite dog possessions and styled them in her bedroom to make a pleasing visual statement about her passion. The mantle was a great place to casually display her artful doggy objects. With the themed items displayed together they have much greater impact and make a clearer statement.

Photo by Johnny Valiant; styled by Karin Lidbeck Brent

While scouting a renovated bungalow in Massachusetts, I fell in love with the graphic repetition of these vintage radios and cameras. Used as decorations in a guest room, they create a colorful eye-grabbing element while adding some playful sophistication.

Photo by Karin Lidbeck Brent

A collection speaks to you and of you. My friend Bruce Elsass is a passionate collector of Halloween memorabilia. You definitely get the idea that he is a lot of fun by the creative way he displays this small part of his collection, like building blocks on a child’s colorful chair.

Photo by Michael Partenio

I visited a home in Greenwich, Connecticut, where the homeowner used her collection of old hat forms to make a sophisticated display in a sunroom.

Photo by Karin Lidbeck Brent

In Boston-based designer Susan Stacy‘s own home, she cleverly groups her collection of hat forms within four cubbyholes (and then perches an actual hat on top of the bedside lamp, for good measure).

Photo by Laura Moss

Creating a memorable visual display is all about finding something you treasure and adore and then sharing it in an artful manner.

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