25 Creative Ways to Display Your Art

Tout your treasures! We show you how to display your favorite pieces—and keep your collections from gathering dust.

Play With Color

Photo: Annie Schlechter

1. Play With Color

Pristine walls, floors, and trim serve as the perfect backdrop for this stunning abstract painting. Here, a simple, razor-thin frame keeps the exuberant piece looking neat and trim against white walls.

Show Off Vintage Valuables

Photo: Annie Schlechter

2. Show Off Vintage Valuables

A collection of antique Bahamas tourism ads gives new life to this cozy breakfast nook. Pink-and-blue mats unify the pieces and add a sense of playfulness, while dark bamboo frames nod to classic island style.

Expect the Unexpected

Photo: Sophie Munro

3. Expect the Unexpected

Why not put a painting in the bathroom? This elegant, unframed oil painting bridges the gap between the all-white, sparsely furnished space and its bright, whimsical ceiling.

Embrace Odd Numbers

Photo: Annie Schlechter

4. Embrace Odd Numbers

A collection of bright fish illustrations lends just the right amount of humor to this formal living room, while the odd number of prints—nine—keeps the symmetrical room from appearing too fussy.

Contrast for Cohesion

Photo: Lisa Romerein

5. Contrast for Cohesion

A collection of nubby, open-weave baskets lends the perfect touch of texture to this sleek, ultra-modern kitchen. Tip: Keep it proportional. These large pieces are just the right size for this alcove; anything smaller would look puny in the lofty space.

Wow with White

Photo: Lisa Romerein

6. Wow with White

Art doesn’t have to drip with color to bring boldness to a space. Here, a set of modern zebra paintings relies only on subtle texture. Paired with streamlined furnishings and complementary white walls, this arrangement hints at drama without overwhelming the small space.

Trust in Traditional

Photo: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

7. Trust in Traditional

A collection of blue enamelware looks fresh and preppy against this Nantucket cottage’s clean white kitchen. Tip: Keep a display fresh by sprinkling your collection with a few solid-color variants, such as these classic white pitchers. 

Don't Forget Transitional Spaces

Photo: Kindra Clineff

8. Don't Forget Transitional Spaces

Incorporate collections of smaller pieces into unexpected, overlooked places, such as hallways and office nooks. This technique adds interest to mostly utilitarian—and often smaller—spaces, and integrates the room into the flow of the rest of the house.

Incorporate Interactive Art

Photo: Jeff McNamara

9. Incorporate Interactive Art

Give your childhood storybooks a new life as vintage wall art. Here, a busy playroom’s white walls and low eaves provide the perfect place to showcase colorful, well-worn children’s books. Tip: A low windowsill is the perfect height for an impromptu shelf, just within a child’s reach.  

Feature Favorite Finds

Photo: Tria Giovan

10. Feature Favorite Finds

Turn a collection of beachcombing finds into art. Here, coordinated natural colors and textures offer balance to the cramped space, where dried sea life looks right at home next to a round bamboo-trimmed mirror, polished wood vanity, and open-weave baskets. 

Keep it Consistent

Photo:Tria Giovan

11. Keep it Consistent

Show off a collection of black-and-white photography by keeping your frames in coordinating sizes and finishes, livened up with an occasional splash of color. Here, photos layer casually on simple white shelves, while knick-knacks sprinkled throughout add depth and visual interest.

Stack it Up

Photo: Reena Bammi

12. Stack it Up

Collections of larger pieces often present a challenge to display. Here, a stack of vintage suitcases serves as a creative, casual bedside table, just large enough for a lamp and pile of favorite nightime reading.

Enliven Your Entry

Photo: Reena Bammi

13. Enliven Your Entry

Though often overlooked, entryway decor serves as a guest’s first impression. Try grouping different collections in unexpected ways, such as this foyer’s basket of antique rolled maps, blue glass jars, and woven baskets overflowing with beachcombing finds.

Play with Placement

Photo: Dominique Vorillon

14. Play with Placement

Try incorporating your favorite vintage finds into unexpected places. Here, an old-school reading poster placed in the living room—not the playroom—gives the room a casual, surprisingly playful vibe.

Find the Right Frames

Photo: J. Savage Gibson

15. Find the Right Frames

Give your favorite smaller pieces a high-end makeover by displaying them in thick, dramatic frames. Here, eye-catching gold frames draw attention to petite pieces, while the elegant arrangement make the entire space look polished. 

Balance Formality and Fun

Photo: Keith Scott Morton

16. Balance Formality and Fun

Even formal spaces need a shot of personality. Try mixing old-school bookshelf favorites with casual arrangements of your favorite collections, like this dining room’s scattering of pink conch shells amid antique book sets. Tip: Give center stage to a favorite piece (like this owner’s aqua ship diorama) for an extra hit of interest.

Make it Unified Yet Unique

Photo: Peter Murdock

17. Make it Unified Yet Unique

Skillful arrangements can make even new homes look like they’ve been around forever. In this pint-size powder room, uniquely shaped frames are unified by glossy black paint and cohesive subject matter.

Group with Purpose

Photo: Tria Giovan

18. Group with Purpose

If a minimal look is more your style, pick a few coordinating colors and display your favorite pieces in each hue, grouping them together for a pleasingly simple aesthetic. Here, a collection of ceramic pieces in unique sizes and shapes adds visual interest to the otherwise simple space.

A Study in Style

Photo: Dominique Vorillon

19. A Study in Style

This playful collection of maps and globes doesn’t take itself too seriously—and it looks smart and effortless when arranged along a low bookshelf.

Variation of Style

Photo: Jean Allsopp

20. Variation of Style

Turn awkward, unused corners into ideal display spots. Here, an empty corner transforms into a thinking-man’s reading nook thanks to a deep chair, lamp, and the homeowner’s diverse collection of art. Tip: When a space is sparsely furnished (and your collection has little to compete with), try displaying art in creative, mismatched frames.

Flaunt Your Feminine Side

Photo: Brie Williams

21. Flaunt Your Feminine Side

Even empty counterspace can provide the perfect venue to display your treasures. Here, the homeowner’s collection of antique silver brushes offers a sweet, subtle vintage feel to a bath vanity.

Invite Island Style

Photo: Jean Allsopp

22. Invite Island Style

Looking to imbue your home with a regional style? Try tucking hallmark design elements into discrete places, like this collection of iconic Hawaiian woven luahala boxes.

Take Advantage of Stairways

Photo: Roger Davis

23. Take Advantage of Stairways

Make the trip up and down the stairs more interesting by turning it into a display area. Here, an elegant collection of blue-gray coral is interspersed evenly among the owners’ antique books and vintage knick-knacks.

Go Beyond the Bookshelf

Photo: Keith Scott Morton

24. Go Beyond the Bookshelf

Tuck your collections into unexpected spots, like this rustic bench beneath a low window. Here, the homeowner displayed her collection of shells in three different ways, giving the space a just-back-from-the-beach vibe.

Give Your Art Room to Breathe

Photo: Lisa Romerein

25. Give Your Art Room to Breathe

Ultra-deep built-ins give this large space a sense of intimacy, displaying the homeowner’s collection of vintage baskets and stoneware. Tip: Stave off the desire to crowd shelves with too many pieces—spaced-out arrangements draw attention to individual pieces and don’t overwhelm the room.

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