Decorating a Cubby with Collected Antiques

I'm sharing some tips for decorating with a treasured collection, using a repurposed craft cubby to display some favorite antiques
cubby for antiques

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Good morning friend! I hope you and your family are staying safe and healthy! Today I want to share some tips for making a collection that you love really shine as decor.


I've long had a love affair with white ironstone and blue and white transferware dishes. I spent years scouring thrift stores until I built up a big enough collection that the pieces I own make a statement (and fill a hutch or two! 😉).

What's especially fun is that I've collected antique dishes from at least 4 different states that we've lived in! Click here to read more about our journey as a family.

Ideas for displaying a collection

Anytime you have a collection that you love, I think it's important to give it an opportunity to shine! Bring it out, dust it off and display it so you can enjoy it daily.

A few years ago I painted this craft cubby (that formerly held buttons, ribbon and other scrapbook essentials) because it was the perfect size to display my Rae Dunn mug collection in our farmhouse cottage kitchen.

I think I fell in love with Rae Dunn pottery because it's creamy white and the big letters that spell out a word or two are just plain fun and a great size for my morning mug of coffee! Here are some fun Rae Dunn inspired pieces if you're having trouble finding any authentic pieces.

As I've been organizing and cleaning  my home this Spring, I was craving more simplicity. Frankly, it was time for a break from all the Rae Dunn mugs in your face! If Mr DIY is reading this, I'm sure he is shocked! 😉

Here are some easy tips for decorating with a collection

My No. 1 tip for displaying a collection is to start with a clean surface Seriously. Remove everything that is filling up your shelf or bookcase, table or cubby (even if you think you might be reusing something). Emptying the surface is a great way to see it with fresh eyes (and give it a little dusting while you're at it!)

empty cubby

Next, spend a few minutes thinking about how you want your collection to look What I mean by this is to think about the overall feel you want to evoke. Are you simply highlighting a couple of fun pieces? Are you wanting to mix a couple collections together? Will you bring in texture in the form of greenery, wood, baskets, etc?

Now obviously with the piece I'm working with, I'm limited by the size of the cubbies. For that reason (and because I don't have enough blue and white transferware to fill all the cubbies), I decided to add some white ironstone as well. But, you can see that there is a shelf at the top that gives me multiple options for displaying something that's a little bigger. In the past, I've used a tray, a plate, a sign, cutting boards and wood beads up there.

Some time I've filled up that space, and other times I've left it more simple. This time I decided I liked the look and feel of the worn wood cutting board with just a few white glass bottles/vases from Hobby Lobby (see similar here). The bottles aren't vintage, but they remind me of vintage milk glass, so they work with the other items I'm using.

display collection

Now it's time to play Try things out with different pieces. Move your collection around until you're happy with the overall feel. I decorated my cubby using the blue and white transferware pieces on the top half (keeping them together gives them more impact), then filled in the rest of the space with white ironstone pieces.

display antique ironstone and blue and white transferware

Some of the shelves are crammed full while others are not, allowing the collection to breathe a little. That's not a decorating rule by the way, it's just a tip!

You do you! If you love it full and tight, if that brings you joy, by all means do what you love! If you're more of a minimalist and like more empty space, do that!

Let your decorating style dictate how your collection will look.

farmhouse kitchen with antique collection

Finally, tweak if necessary! It's funny but once you see a picture of your collection, you may notice a few things you want to change. For instance, now that I'm looking at this picture, I see that the top row of blue and white seems a little higher on the right hand side with the salt and pepper shakers and that tall mug. I might switch one of those with a smaller mug on the left.

That's being super picky, but you'll see what I mean. Part of decorating is tweaking as you go...even tweaking a few days or weeks later as you notice things! And if it helps to take a picture, by all means do that!

close up of collected tea cups

Fun story about this collection of mine. None of these pieces cost more than fifty cents (I think the most I paid was $2.99 for an ironstone pitcher!) And I can still remember some of the cramped and untidy shops where I uncovered a piece or two! But the best part was getting that blue and white transferware salt and pepper set for free from a local antique store here in Texas. They sent out a flyer promoting something (I can't even remember what!) and included a coupon for $20 off anything in the store! So that's how I came home with that matching set and didn't spend a dime 😍❤

I love how collections have stories to tell! One of my favorite ironstone pitchers broke into pieces when I accidentally dropped in on my driveway...but I glued it together with E6000 and it holds pride of place on one of my shelves!!

buffalo check curtains and antiques displayed in wall cubby

The craft cubby that I used for this display is no longer sold but I sourced a few similar storage cubbies if you like this look. And here's a few more.

close up

I'd love to know what some of your favorite collections are! Are you drawn to antique dishes like I am? How do your display them?

Go ahead and Pin for later!

antique collection

bringing beauty to the ordinary, 

This blog's content is for entertainment purposes only and is not professional advice. By reading this blog and attempting to recreate any content shared on it, you assume all responsibility for any injuries or damages incurred. Read my full disclaimer here.


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  1. The shelf is perfect on that wall with your lovely treasures. I inherited an enormous amount of collectibles when my mother died and was just overwhelmed so I put it all away except the pieces I wanted to display. Well, I am my mother's daughter because I have my own collections. My advice is to keep your collections out on display so you can enjoy them. If you are tempted to add to the collection with a "just gotta have it", then find a spot you can display it. Otherwise, all the wonderful pieces that are collected end up in a closet where no one can enjoy them. I'm just sayin'!!


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