Interior designers have long honed a trick for making rooms speak volumes about the people who call them home. How you ask? By putting personal collections on display. From copious coupe collections to caches of brass figurines, collections can instantly take a room from generic to deeply layered and personalized. Need ideas for the best things to collect to personalize your own home? We asked 18 designers to share their most prized collections that they use to make their own abodes feel like highly curated expressions of themselves. Warning: the ideas ahead are highly collectible!

Brass bar tray with blue jadeite wine glasses and silver ice bucket
Photo by Stacey Van Berkel


“Currently, I am obsessing over vintage colored glassware, including everything from beautiful bi-colored Steuben cordials to French opaline coupes.” —MA Allen of MA Allen Interiors

“Cabbageware! I collect every color.” —Meg Braff of Meg Braff Designs

“French marble mortars.” —Lauren Buxbaum Gordon of Nate Berkus Interiors

Wedgwood Jasper China.” —Jenny Wolf of Jenny Wolf Interiors

“Linen napkins, silverware, dishes, and glassware.” —Grant Gibson of Grant K. Gibson Interior Design

“Blue and white pottery and small paintings.” —Erin Gates of Elements of Style

Vintage stemware.” —Brittany Zwickl and Shannon Wollack of Studio Life/Style

Wood bookshelf with pink ottoman and assorted framed photographs with ceramic vase
Photo by Brittney Ambridge / Design by Les Ensembliers


“I have a collection of sketches and etchings. They’re from all over—some from Paris, some from flea markets, and some from Chairish! I like anything that has a sense of hand to it; usually gestural and sketchy, in ink or pencil. I’ve hung about 15 to 20 pieces salon-style in my kitchen in NYC.” —Dan Mazzarini of BHDM Design

“Art…always art.” —Richard Ouellette of Les Ensembliers

“Vintage nude art.” —Louisa Pierce & Emily Ward of Pierce & Ward

A black wood dining chair is used as a nightstand in this bright bedroom with neutral textiles
Photo by Brittney Ambridge / Design by Les Ensembliers

Furniture & Accessories

Chairs! I think I have a chair problem. In any given period, a chair is always the best example of that time. If I see a good chair, I can’t resist.” —Ashley Whittaker of Ashley Whittaker Design

“Tole flowers.” —Celerie Kemble of Kemble Interiors

“I have a thing for old baskets. Bahamian, Appalachian or European. I love the warmth they always seem to add to a space.” —Matthew Carter of Matthew Carter Interiors

“I have a problem with buying far too much vintage brass. My latest acquisition is a brass bamboo coat rack from…Chairish.” —Caitlin Murray of Black Lacquer Design

A stack of book, glass box of matches, and brass insect sculptures sit on a wood desk
Photo by Stacey Van Berkel


“Bright 1960s and 70s needlepoints of mother and baby leopards.” —Courtney Coleman of Brockschmidt & Coleman

“Zebras. Think zebra figurines, zebra rugs, zebra-covered books, and even a zebra bombe chest!” —Lindsey Coral Harper of Lindsey Coral Harper Interiors

“Elephants. My husband loves them too. They remind me of our honeymoon in Africa.” —Tharon Anderson of Tharon Anderson Design

Bright dining area with assorted hanging masks, tulip table, and zebra-hide rug
Photo by Stacey Van Berkel


“It may be cliché, but Grand Tour souvenirs. Imagine an age before photography and the internet and going to see the world that you’d only seen in paintings or engravings and then taking home remembrances to last a lifetime.” —Bill Brockschmidt of Brockschmidt & Coleman

Lead photo by Brittney Ambridge / Design by Les Ensembliers


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March 20, 2019

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