Showing off ceramics in a white-on-white room

The Baltimore Sun

The high ceilings in the loft to which we recently moved make our low-slung modern furniture seem badly out of scale. I've learned from magazines that this problem can be effectively addressed by painting the ceiling a dark color. OK, but how should I display my collection of ceramics? None of the items is especially large but each can be clearly seen from a few feet away.

Without knowing the room's actual dimensions or - most importantly - its lighting array, the best I can offer are some general thoughts as well as a photo of a setting that may have similarities to your own.

This image comes from The Nest Home Design Handbook, written by Carley Roney and published by Clarkson Potter. It's a well-illustrated guide for those seeking suggestions for integrating personal accessories into a residential space.

This minimalist-style loft features white walls, a white lacquered floor and modern furnishings. The pleasantly monochromatic color scheme includes bits of beige as well as variations in texture that are especially important in a design of this sort.

As you can see, the most prominent element in this room is the self-standing, see-through shelving unit, which is also lacquered in white. It serves as a partial divider even though its sheerness makes the piece practically disappear into its surroundings. Consequently, the collection of mostly white ceramics seems to be floating in space.

Attention can also be diverted from the height of the ceiling by displaying a collection like yours on a shelf extending right across one of the walls and probably painted the same color as that wall. The shelf would have to be wide enough and high enough off the floor for your ceramics to be securely displayed. This option might be better suited than the free-standing unit to a collection that includes objects of various colors.

No matter how you decide to display your ceramics, please note that they won't look their best unless they're properly lit.

Rita St. Clair is a Baltimore-based interior designer. Readers with general interior-design questions can e-mail her at the above address.

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