The do’s and don’ts of displaying your decorative items without looking like a crowded collection of knick-knacks.

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Gone are the days of keeping the table set and formality in living rooms and family rooms. Functional, aesthetically pleasing and colorful tabletop décor items are now in.

Creative tabletop décor is part of the current trend in styling that for many is also an integral part of how they wish to live and present their home to guests.

Decorative items have long been considered to be for display purposes only (as opposed to actually used). However, in today’s environment in which people wish to use what they own and enjoy their collections and collectibles, placing decorative items front and center is indeed in vogue.

But what are the best decorative items to choose? And what is the best way to display them so they don’t come across as crowded knick-knacks? In general, there are a number of do’s and don’ts to follow to stay on track.


Do display those items that you truly love, but in moderation. There is an art to not overdoing it. Remember, less is more.

Do mix materials as well as color and textures.

Do add greenery. There is nothing that adds life and energy to a space quite like greenery. Aim for living plants as opposed to artificial.

Do consider florals as tabletop items. Simple arrangements can be both colorful and aesthetically appealing.

Do use books. The use of books has long been a secret of designers. They are an affordable and colorful way to add décor to your tabletop vignette.

Basic jute rope from a hardware store wrapped inside a tall glass vessel creates an organic, industrial-inspired item. (TNS)
Basic jute rope from a hardware store wrapped inside a tall glass vessel creates an organic, industrial-inspired item. (TNS)


Don’t overcrowd your tabletop. Too much décor can be just as unappealing as too little décor.

Don’t follow trends. That color or item that is suddenly “in” can as easily be “out.” The best purchases are those that do not follow trends and can stand the test of time.

Don’t mix too many colors and materials. While mixing materials can add interest, too many can overwhelm a space.

Don’t forget to try using natural materials. Items such as rope, branches and driftwood are very popular right now and perfect for those looking for a seaside, rustic or industrial look.

Don’t be too formal. Gone are the days of untouchable display items. These days great décor is seen and heard. Don’t be afraid to display favorite pieces.