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Published: Friday, 2/20/2009

Look To Your Hobbies For Great Decorating Ideas


Many people like to keep a token or two of their favorite hobby around their home or office as either a reminder of their interest or as a conversation starter. We've all seen them: a signed baseball in a plastic display box, a mounted fish, etc. Rather than having just an item or two placed randomly around the house, though, a hobby can become a complete and tastefully done decorating theme.

It's easier to start with just a room at a time, especially if other members of the household object to one person's hobby taking over the interior design. In a single room, a whole collection or accoutrements of a pastime can be displayed, making it something of a private hobby oasis. Carrying the scheme throughout the house is more difficult, but there are secrets to doing it right.

Many interior decorators like the concept of using groups of three for display purposes. To keep a certain theme going through the house, pick spots in opposite corners of the room, or perhaps framed sets of three on the wall.

For example, if you love art glass, arrange a favorite group of three on a table in the front foyer, carry it over to an arrangement on a credenza or side table, and use a similar grouping on a dining table or sideboard. Place a few on windowsills in the bathroom or kitchen, and arrange others around the computer workstation in the home office.

Some hobbies, unlike art glass, ceramics or other antiques, don't fit as easily into a home's decor. Not to worry, they can still mix with everything else. Consider a sport like baseball.

Framed memorabilia, such as covers from old sports magazines, cards, programs or even matted tickets are fine for the walls, and collectible bats can even be grouped in a corner. On tables and shelves, a signed ball or two and books on the subject are great, and a team blanket over the arm of a sofa is a finishing touch.

Those who travel for a hobby often wonder what to do with all their memorabilia; much ends up in unseen scrapbooks or boxes. Photos can be framed into multi-media time capsules, incorporating not only pictures but other memorabilia such as programs, ticket stubs, deck plans, dried flowers from trip destinations and itineraries.

Larger mementos like native crafts can be arranged in groups significant to each trip, or each room in the house can have a theme of certain travels, like the islands, Europe or Asia.

Other hobbies are just as conducive to decorating. Music lovers can frame posters, records or album covers (think of the great 1960s rock 'n roll albums), or a collection of ticket stubs from concerts for the walls, and display memorabilia such as instruments, jukeboxes and even old lunchboxes (Beatles and Kiss are hot right now) on shelves and tables.

Toy collectors and movie buffs are having a field day with this type of decorating, as there is no end to certain genres of toys and films. While you don't have to turn your home into a Star Wars shrine, there are plenty of paper and other memorabilia from most major action films over the last decade to display. Likewise for everything from model railroads to Lincoln Logs -- a little goes a long way. Don't overdo it; put only your favorite, mint condition pieces on display.

For showing off your hobby, make sure to use all aspects of a room's dimensions. Don't use walls for just the flat pieces; a display of old trout rods and reels looks great on a wall, as does a rack of antique baseball bats or hockey sticks.

Narrow shelves set high on the wall are great for lining up collectible baseballs, toys or fishing lures. Corner curio cabinets and display cases are the right spot for larger pieces such as plates, and even the ceiling can be used for banners and the like.

The key is to balance the collection in terms of shapes and forms, without a great deal of repetition -- and always make sure there is plenty of space for family and guests to sit down.

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