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"That's not Clutter, It's a Collection!"

(ARA) - For some people, collecting is not just a hobby, it's a lifestyle. But how do you tame collectibles so they don't look like clutter, or worse, junk?

Diane Blazy, photography instructor at The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale, treasures her prized collection of antique glazed pottery and picks up new pieces at antique shops, flea markets and yard sales whenever she can.

According to design experts at The Art Institutes, no matter what you collect - dolls, old glass bottles, antique kitchen gadgets and so on - the impact is always great when treasured items are grouped together. Instead of spreading collections throughout the house in a haphazard way, group them together to create a beautiful, eye-catching focal point for your home.

Blazy's collection ranges in several period colors. "When we moved to a new home, our kitchen had this nice roomy sofit over the kitchen cabinets. It became the perfect place to display my pottery," she says. Currently her collection numbers about 21, but she hopes to add more.

Joan R. Faison, an interior design instructor at The Art Institute of Charlotte, likes to use collections, whenever possible, for practical purposes, as well as for display. "Using collectibles for practical purposes allows the pieces to be seen often," she says. "I use a compote to hold decorative soaps, a tulip vase is used as a toothbrush holder, a toothpick holder is filled with Q-tips. A beautiful old sugar bowl holds colored votives so that they are convenient to the bath."

Be passionate about what you collect, and have fun with it. The value doesn't matter as much as what your collection means to you.

Other great collecting tips from Faison include:

* You don't have to play with all your toys at the same time. It is good to rotate or change collection displays occasionally.

* Avoid having too many items placed on one level as you would see on the shelf of a store. Rather alternate heights and colors to give visual appeal.

* Grouping one color together and placing the collection against a contrasting wall draws attention to the items.

* When displaying a collection of small objects, placing them on a tray confines them to a space, making them appear more important.

* Baskets are a great way to house small collectibles. Antique photographs in a basket with the stereograph viewer are user friendly to family and guests who are curious about the collection.

* A collection of postcards can be placed in handsome matching linen covered boxes. These boxes have a metal plate designed for the purpose of labeling and are readily available from many sources. A grouping of boxes on a book shelf gives relief to an entire case of books.

* When grouping items of varying sizes, create a hierarchy by placing the tallest items in the center for balance.

* Some collections lend themselves well to being displayed in frames handkerchiefs in 12-inch record frames, buttons sown onto stretched fabric, christening gowns mounted in elegant display frames.

To learn more about The Art Institutes, visit: www.artinstitutes.edu/nz.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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