Dealing with Collections

Posted March 6, 2021 in Special Features

Dianne Morris 3-7-21, Clark County WA real estate agent

Most of us know someone who has a collection. Many of us might even refer to ourselves as collectors.  Very few people get an opportunity to work with a professional to properly display a collection.

Filling space with the things we love has become more common during the pandemic.  After all, shouldn’t we enjoy the items we love to collect or those items that someone close to us loves?

The first part of making a collection look like a purposeful collection is to choose the best place to showcase the collection. The second part is to choose the optimal pieces for the front and center display.  Organizing a collection is very important to being able to display it. Many collections are best when they can be changed out and so storage comes into play for some collections.

If you are planning to sell your home, you have a unique opportunity to think about how you want to enjoy your collection in your new space and should work with your real estate agent on this task. If you are at this point and have not created space to view and enjoy your collection, I typically advise to place the collection in storage instead of trying to work the collection into your staging plan.

If you are going to store a collection, you should work to store the collection appropriately. Marking items that are fragile and breakable is a good idea. Your designer can help you locate vapor barrier plastic to pack items to control any humidity from reaching the collection. There may be partner storage facilities that work directly with your real estate agent. Ask if there is a list of partners working with the agency you are interviewing to represent you in the sale of your home.

If you are working to design a space for a collection where you plan to stay in the home you have and simply want to have that designer look, decide first about whether the collection is suited to a wall space or whether it is more of a table top collection. The structure of the home will give opportunities to best present a collection. You can influence the structure of the display space by adding lighting. This makes the space more purposeful for a collection. Focusing on creating a background for the collection also provides structure for showcasing valuable items.  If you are lucky to have 20 foot ceilings in your home, you may have the perfect gallery space in your home.

When considering color, the first part is to note the colors found within the collection. Treat textures as you would a color and place those items together. Collections are the one part of staging that allows us to break the rules about color. Using pottery as an example, the pottery may have pieces that have multiple colors. Those multi-colored pieces should be treated as one color. Placing colors with like colors gives depth to the collection. If the collection has some singularly colorized items in it, those items should have their own section just like the items made up of multiple colors. Place like items with like items.

When there is a collection involved within a room, it is important to forego the other decorating items that one might normally see within a room. The collection becomes the accent pieces for the room. Utilizing collections can give a luxurious look like your designer took a shopping trip abroad for you to stage your home.  It can help others dream of the potential of a life within the home when a collection is properly showcased.  William Randolph Hearst employed three full-time collectors to shop for the purpose of decorating his castle in its heyday.  He was a collector.

It is important to have fun with your collection and to display that fun if possible. Some art collectors are hanging art in unexpected places. Some of the unexpected places include placing art immediately on the frame of a window or in the middle of where two windows meet. It is not uncommon to see art attached to a ceiling.


The goals for home include many more components than what existed prior to the pandemic.   Call me at 360.635.1121 to help you make the decision about how to best list your home. You can also email me at