Tips for Artfully Curating Your Home

The practice of artful arrangement, or curating, is obvious when visiting a museum and evident in almost every space we occupy — from grocery stores to fabric emporiums, and, of course, our homes. Make the most of yours.


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An expertly curated collection of art creates cohesion and symmetry.

Photos by Ramona d'Viola; interior design by Laura Martin Bovard Interiors

Whether it’s clutter or curios, humans are prone to collect. Now that everyone is reveling in the “magic” of a tidy, uncluttered home, what are you doing with the “joyful” things that escaped the purge? Time to curate what’s left and enhance all that joy (or create a little wabi sabi).

In today’s hyper-organized minimalism, the practice of artful arrangement, or curating, is obvious when visiting a museum and evident in almost every space we occupy — from grocery stores to fabric emporiums, and, of course, our homes.

Even with a newly pared down collection of personal items, there’s a certain pleasure that comes from a well-curated — or eclectic — display of interesting, beautiful, or meaningful items. The joy comes from creating something perfect in spite (or because) of  age, or utility (that’s the wabi sabi bit).

Perhaps your personal style groove is emerging, and it’s time to shed your IKEA and Pottery Barn phase. Look at what’s left from your cleaning frenzy and select the anchor pieces that set the stage for a home that reflects your personality, passions, or iconoclastic tendencies.

Keep in mind less isn’t always more when it comes to collections. If you’re a person who goes big, by all means, go big. It’s all a matter of perspective (and space). David Lebovitz’s assemblage of Fiestaware was legendary — with every built-in cabinet in his apartment filled top to bottom with hue-and-color-coordinated ceramics from every epoch. And it worked.

No matter if your tastes run from trendsetter hipster, minimalist, or maxed out, it’s your beautiful stuff, deserving of admiration, if not awe. If you’re looking for inspiration, try imagining your home through a stranger’s eyes — as if seeing it for the first time. Does it tell a story? Could someone divine your illustrious life from the possessions you’ve surrounded yourself with?

If you see “hot mess,” time to get busy.

What’s your pleasure? A collection of Dias de los Muertos skeletons? Vintage vinyl and a real record player? Or is it a penchant for mid-century memorabilia? Options for showcasing your curios (literally) are no longer limited to that fusty, faux Louis IV cabinet (stuffed to the gills with fussy tchotchkes — unless that’s your thing).

Even an exquisite piece of Venetian glass will lose its luster when forced to reside around lesser objects. Start with a single object, or a theme of like objects, and curating will evolve organically.

Steel and glass medicine cabinets, gleaned from a doctor’s office, are the go-to pick for those who love simple form and function or a modern industrialist vibe. But don’t limit yourself to the obvious. Found and repurposed objects are enjoying a second act as shelving, while DIY options abound. And for those with a penchant for the bespoke, custom-built display cases or even built-in cabinets for the fancy stuff.

Lastly, don’t limit your curating to just the curios — every room, every cubby, every overlooked corner is an opportunity to curate and create a singular home. Who doesn’t love a kitchen sink cabinet neatly arranged with all your cleaning supplies in perfect order? Almost makes cleaning a life changing joy.

Almost.

 

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