At Laura U, we believe that the objects you collect, the photographs lining your walls and the furnishings in your home are the backdrop to the memories you make.

Our approach to design focuses on understanding what’s important to our clients, listening to their story and using pieces to bring their story to life. The first step in our Process of Design is to go in depth with our clients, learning about what they love, what they collect, where they travel and how they spend their time. My team and I absolutely LOVE this part of the process because it gives us insight into how we can design a space that highlights those collections. 

Whether you have a handful of beautiful glasses or hundreds of books, you want to show those off! Those things are special to you and add so much personality to a room. So today I wanted to share a few ideas for unique pieces you can start collecting and adding to your home.

Vintage Spirits and Barware 

Glasses, decanters and ice buckets look beautiful on a bar cart or on bar shelves. These pieces elevate your bar area with a touch of vintage glam. You can keep the look classic and clean with crystal pieces or add a pop of color by incorporating a few colored pieces of barware.

Cobalt blue bar cart with vintage spirits and barware - Laura U Interior Design

Custom wooden cabinet design with vintage barware display - Laura U Interior Design

For a unique way to display your vintage wines, replace the standard wine bar with an eye-catching wall installation. And the best part is you won’t have to travel far from the table to grab a new bottle when you’re hosting dinner parties!

Custom wine cellar wall with vibrant modern art - Laura U Interior Design

These vintage oak barrels add a warm and rustic element to this modern bar. The wood barrels help soften the all-white space and tie in the beautiful floor tiles. And how fun would it be to use these barrels as cocktail tables when you’re entertaining?!

Vintage wine barrels in modern interior wine cellar - Laura U Interior Design

Old-World Bookshelf Décor

Bookshelves provide the perfect opportunity to dress up your space. Blend the past with the present by pairing antiques and historical artifacts with sleek, modern bookshelves. The simplicity of the shelves makes sure that the items aren’t competing for attention with the other pieces in the space.

Modern industrial bookshelves with iconic objects - Laura U Interior Design

Of course, you can never go wrong by lining your bookshelves with beautiful vintage books. Arrange them by genre or by color for an unexpected visual pop. If you’re still looking for copies of your favorite books, August Antiques in the Heights has an extensive collection of old and rare books that might be just what you’re looking for.


Rare book collection displayed in mid-century inspired study - Laura U Interior Design

Bookshelves are also a fabulous space to display larger objects like typewriters! Instead of creating a traditional book display on these kitchen shelves, we opted to show off these beautiful typewriters. They add a whimsical, retro touch to the crisp white shelves.

Vintage typewriter collection in modern kitchen - Laura U Interior Design

Pairs of Antique Mirrors

Antique mirrors are a fabulous way to add a bit of European flair while creating depth and dimension in the room. The mirrors balance the room and make the fireplace the focal point. And the gold finish on these ornate mirrors really pops against the room’s neutral color palette. To source opulent vintage mirrors and eighteenth and nineteenth-century antique and industrial pieces, I love going to Found for the Home.

Gold ornate vintage mirrors in transitional dining room - Laura U Interior Design

Pair of antique mirrors in transitional living room - Laura U Interior Design

Vintage Tea and China Sets

Vintage tea and china seats are perfect for tabletop displays and china cabinets. The gorgeous colors and intricate patterns add visual interest and can be used to create a bespoke display. If you’re looking to uncover a vintage tea set of your own, visit David Lackey Antiques and Art, which specializes in collectible patterns of china and crystal, from Spode, Wedgwood, Royal Doulton, Lenox, Baccarat, Val St. Lambert and Waterford.

Vintage tea set displayed in minimal asian-inspired interior - Laura U Interior Design

Vintage glass sets are great for adding a splash of color to your dining room shelves. The bright sapphire blue and gorgeous green tie the painting into the space to create a cohesive look. And the curved shape of the glasses provides a nice contrast to the clean, modern lines of the shelves.

Colorful glassware display on modern shelving - Laura U Interior Design

Vintage Scarves

Another alternative to housewares and furniture is vintage accessories, like scarves and jewelry. These pieces are perfect for coffee table displays or to showcase in your office. And for one-of-a-kind wall décor you can frame a vintage silk scarf.

Vintage scarf displayed in transitional living room - Laura U Interior Design

Vintage Vernacular

Photographs are also wonderful pieces to collect. They help us remember special moments in our lives like celebrations, vacations and holidays, but they can also help us remember the more everyday moments. Vintage vernacular pieces tell the stories of those everyday moments and are definitely a conversation starter!

Black and white vintage vernacular in modern dining room - Laura U Interior Design

As you’re thinking about adding to the collections you already have or deciding on pieces you want to start collecting, remember to make sure the collection reflects you. Whether you love vintage greeting cards, tennis rackets or books, don’t be afraid to show those pieces off! All of those items can be incorporated into your design to tell your story.

I love hearing stories and I want to hear about your collections! Leave a comment below to tell me what you collect and how your collection was started. For more ideas and inspiration on how you design a space to show off your collection, follow us on Instagram and Pinterest.


Laura U

Laura Umansky is a story-teller at heart. Her unique perspective and tailored design process empower her to create singular interiors for clients all over the world.

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