Moving Toward a Collected Home

by Magnolia
Published on February 7, 2022

Open shelves styled with collected decor.

"My home is always evolving. Some things come and go, while others—like storied pieces and heirlooms—will always have a place. Embracing the mix of old and new is at the heart of a collected home—and the inspiration behind our collection. Here’s to creating a home that reflects who you are and who you’re becoming." — Jo

The Intention Behind a Collected Home

A collected home means embracing a mix of old and new to tell a deeper story of who you are and what you love. The beautiful thing about this approach, and one of the reasons why Jo loves to design this way, is the permission to simply follow your instincts.

It’s the freedom to give a family heirloom the spotlight even if it doesn't make perfect sense, or to keep a favorite book in sight so you can remember the impact it made on you. But it's also an invitation to remove a piece that no longer carries the same meaning that it once did and replace it with something new. Creating a collected home is not about following rules or trying to achieve a particular look, but all about enjoying the slow, unhurried process of letting your spaces evolve as you do.

Collected decor on green open shelving.

The Collected Approach On Display

If you’re not sure where to begin, look for a flat surface in your home where you can display a collection of things you love, like a bookshelf or console table. Starting in a small area like this helps narrow your focus as you add, remove, and adjust until the space feels like you. Let’s take a look at a few practical ways you can bring this approach to life.

A blue chaise next to green open shelving.
An antique-inspired table clock sits on a shelf.

See the Whole Picture

Take a step back and look at every plane of your shelves or surface: front to back, left to right, top to bottom. Are there any gaps that feel empty? Or overcrowded spots that need to be pulled back? More things to keep in mind:

  • If your scene only has hard angles (books, mirrors, or frames), see where you can include decor with round edges (like bowls, vases, or accent beads).
  • Play with varying heights and sizes to add dimension.
  • If you want to group similar objects together (such as vases), create visual interest by mixing materials, like clay, ceramic, and brass.
  • For a layer of life and color, add a plant or two!
  • Does the whole scene either look all old or all brand new? If so, see what swaps you can make to create a look that’s less uniform.
A wooden console with decorative accessories and faux florals.

Keep it Practical

Don’t feel like you have to sacrifice practicality just to create a pretty space. If you need to use your shelves for storage, like firewood or an unused vase, go for it! Your home is meant to showcase the things you love, but also to serve the things you need.

A kitchen scene styled with decor from Magnolia's fall collection.
A nightstand stack with decor.

Make it Personal

Next, bring in pieces that speak to who you are: books on topics you’re interested in, artwork you found at a flea market, or old family photos and mementos. Have fun here! Setting up a scene that represents you and the people you love is what creating a collected home is all about.

A white marble tray on a black dresser.
A green built-in stacked with books, art, and decorative accesories..

The Collected Approach in Action

Jo designs every project through this lens, and that includes Mini Reni and Fixer Upper: Welcome Home. From construction to final styling, Chip, Jo, and the team all operate with the goal of pulling details together that speak to the homeowner’s personality and lifestyle. Here are a few of our favorite scenes that reflect the collected approach:

From Mini Reni 02

A styled shelf in the dining room of Mini Reni 02.
Mini Reni 02: Living Room
Breakfast Nook after photo

From Mini Reni 01

A tall wooden cabinet displaying collected decor.
A styled corner in the living room from Mini Reni 01.

From Fixer Upper: Welcome Home

We hope this inspires you to take a step back, look at your spaces, and tweak until they feel like you. Don’t pressure yourself to achieve this in one day! The slow process of letting your home evolve is part of the magic.

explore the collection