Monday, September 12, 2022

Decorating Tabletops With Objets d'art Collections.......Maximalism Style!

With the return to elegant old world maximalist interiors, learning to display your treasured collections, or as the French say, objets d'art, is a must. Objets d'art literally means "art object" (or work of art) in French. In English it is used to describe works of art that are not paintings, large or medium-sized sculptures, prints, or drawings. Usually these treasures are small, three-dimensional, quality bits and pieces.

While there are many ways to display a collection of heirlooms, this blog post will be featuring the tabletop display reminiscent of English interiors. The English perfected the look during the Victorian era when collecting hit its peak, and unique collections were seen as a symbol of status and wealth.

In recent design trends, we see a move away from sterile minimalism and carbon copy design that can be purchased by anyone on the showroom floor. The trend now is the embrace of unique personalization. Preserving and displaying antique treasures and family heirlooms is one way to ensure your home isn’t like everyone else's. The days of cookie cutter homes is over!! 

Have fun collecting and enjoying your objets d'art. I hope you take away an idea or two from the images I have gathered to help you style tabletops in old world maximalism style.
via Pinterest

Maximalism is making a comeback in interiors everywhere and displaying curated collections of objets d'art are not a problem as long as you do it the right way. Just remember Curated.......NOT Cluttered!

via Pinterest

Recently the design world is seeing a move away from uninspiring minimalism.  The new trend is all about imagination and the art of layering. The new mantra is definitely More IS More.

Robert Zellinger de Balkany in Paris 

Maximalist décor is all about embracing and displaying excess. Purchasing antiques and other objets d'art to pack in boxes and store or relegate to curio cabinets because you are afraid of damage is first of all, no fun whatsoever, and secondly, just not the trend of the day.     

 A side table in Brigid Berlin's home is filled with tortoise shell snuff boxes and other favorite items. Display your collections and stop worrying about dust!  It's really not that hard to keep things tidy. Someone told me recently that dusting their objects d'art just made them remember why they fell in love with the piece in the first place. To which I replied, " well said! Brigid Berlin

Decorating on old table or desk with your beautiful treasures is the perfect way to display and ENJOY them!!!

A maximalist vignette from the late Mario Buatta's Manhattan Apartment

photo by Féau & Cie Boiserie

There’s nothing quite like the thrill of the antiques and collectibles hunt as you look for an interesting piece to add to your tabletop collection. Highly recommended!

Bunny Williams, designer

The line between a decorative collection and unattractive clutter can be a bit tricky. This is especially true when it comes to arranging small items. Curation is key.  Curation is the act of organizing and maintaining a collection through careful selection and coordination of objects for presentation. 

You should showcase items you love by layering them using different heights and depth of field. This image s a great example of these two principles. A maximalism style collection can definitely go south on you  unless you display according to the principles of three-dimensional design.

John Rosselli

Consider placing some pieces on boxes, plinths, or other items that will provide a different level and give you more options. Your display will be more interesting this way.

Enrich your home with a collection of exquisite pieces as in a room in Susan Gutfreund’s apartment designed by Henri Samuel.

 Three-dimensional designs should look equally good from the front, sides and back so be sure to inspect your tabletop arrangement from all angles.

Here, a unique and colorful lamp is a sculptural focal point next to treasured collectibles on this maximalist tabletop.

John Rosselli

Maximalist English tabletops full of treasured collectibles were many times displayed on tablecloths. This look is gaining in popularity again today.

Waddesdon Manor. (Chris Lacey (c) National Trust Waddesdon Manor)

A collection of eye-catching objects d'art belonging to Coco Chanel. Enjoy treasure hunting for that extraordinary piece to display on your tabletop vignette.

Designer, Jacques Garcia

Some items lend themselves to small tabletops

Howard Slatkin via “Fifth Avenue Style” (Vendome Press)

Enhance your primary display by adding in some smaller items. These smaller items really provide the charm. In this maximalist tabletop display by Howard Slatkin the colors are from the same color palette which helps bring cohesiveness to the variety of items.

This display reveals how a lamp adds vertical interest to a collection of treasures spread out on a tabletop. 

In order to display your collection of well chosen treasures for maximum visual interest, make sure to vary their size and shape.

A table top bronze objects d'art collection in designer Jacques Garcia's luxurious 17th-century Norman estate, Champ de Bataille.

Howard Slatkin

A desk acts as the next best thing to a tabletop for the display of an objects d'art collection.

Tabletop collectibles scene from Timothy Corrigan's home in Los Angeles. Try adding  books to your display.

Kenneth J Lane via

Of course pictures can also be worked into tabletop displays.

The tabletop objets d'art display is perfect for anyone who wants to finish their space with a highly-curated feel.

Collect items that are a similar size or color as seen here featuring antique tortoise shell treasures. Then make an impact by gathering them in one spot such as a tabletop.

A lovely collection of tortoise shell objets d'art by designer Charles Faudree. photographs by Jenifer Jordan

 Use trays to group similar items and to help keep a collection of small objects orderly. Displayed here is a small enamel trinket boxes collection from Halcyon Days, a British company supplying luxury home goods.

Harmonize objects of different shapes and sizes with an asymmetrical arrangement. Balance a tall, large object with several smaller ones.

Nancy Lancaster, designer

Maximalist design schemes work better when a balance exists between visually light and heavy pieces. Don't forget the use of flowers and plants!

David Hicks, designer

A tabletop of your favorite treasures adds an instant personalized touch of style to your living space. 

Nancy Lancaster's famous butter yellow library in England. This room is the epitome of the English country manor's tabletop collections display.

Another view of the tabletop display.

Tabletop collections of objets d'art  play an important role in the opulence of the maximalist Parisian apartment of Counts Hubert et Isabelle d'Ornano.

via Pinterest

Close-up of one the the tables in the image above.

You can't go wrong today whether you choose to display a mixture of your favorite treasures ......

or make an impact with multiples of a single item. Here it is globes!

Here an ivory colored whippet collection is lovingly displayed en mass by John Rosselli.

via Pinterest

This stunning malachite collection is proof perfect of how a maximalist tabletop display can elevate your space. 

Interior designer Timothy Corrigan's Château du Grand-Lucé

The best part about collecting art and antiques is that you get to live with them. Your objets d'art collection can be displayed in grand style or you can enjoy even the small spaces!! Just remember you shouldn't accumulate stuff just for the sake of accumulation. That is what ends up looking like clutter. Be selective and enjoy the hunt for the perfect piece.

Click below to see the previous blog post.

This blog post was published by Lisa Farmer

In the event that I have not credited the correct source of an image, please contact me at and I will be glad to correct it.

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