the knack of knick-knacking

bedside display via perfectly imperfect living

Years ago, when Small Acorns was still a mere baby, and I was obviously still precious about it, I was out at a party one night, and was introduced to the group as the owner of a ‘knick-knack shop’. What?!!!! I was shocked and horrified at the thought.

It’s not that I was too big for my boots or anything like that. Well maybe just a little too big. But more importantly, I just didn’t see myself as the owner of a kitsch, tacky knick-knack shop.

gallery wall via perfectly imperfect living

After all, the dictionary says that knick-knacks are small worthless objects, especially household ornaments. As in “the room was filled with tables, knick-knacks, and a large three-piece suite”. I kid you not, that’s the dictionary definition and wordplay example, word for word and it is just possible, given this definition, that I too would put knick-knacks alongside or in the same bad-taste bracket as a three-piece suite (upholstered in brown dralon). Kitsch, tacky, cheap and nasty. All connotations of the word ‘knick-knack’.

colour and pattern in the home via perfectly imperfect living

My store couldn’t, wouldn’t, didn’t sell knick-knacks! I had much better taste than that! I was, to put it mildly, quietly insulted.

kitchen display via perfectly imperfect living

Fast forward 20 years plus, and with the wisdom (!) this brings, guess what? I am still the owner of a ‘knick-knack shop’. I’m just no longer shocked at the thought.

vintage bottle display via perfectlyimperfectliving

The dictionary definition is still the same. My taste is still the same. (Give or take a little more eclecticism). The dollar value of some of the treasures I sell is still the same, give or take a little for inflation.

displaying your treasures via perfectlyimperfectliving

My confidence levels are however, higher. I completely understand that some of my merchandise may be worthless and knick-knacky to some. But to me, most of it is priceless. I only buy and sell knick-knacks that I love. Emotional value is high. One man’s knick-knack,  another man’s treasure.

And guess what, sometimes I love those knick-knacks so much that I don’t sell them. I take them home, where my room is filled with ‘tables and knick-knacks’, but definitely not a ‘large three-piece suite’.

Curate and display your knick-knacks with love and thought. You have to put as much of yourself into your home as possible. Do this and your home will give back in spades. And you will have an authentic space that is truly your own, and always makes you smile. As I’m sure you’ve guessed by now, and as anyone who knows me will tell you, I am definitely not a minimalist. I am a collector of beautiful things. Things I love, that inspire and intrigue me, that have a memory of where I was when I bought or found or was given it, that have emotional significance, that are a timeline of my life and loves. I am a collector of knick-knacks.

Live what you love! Long live the knick-knack.

Amanda xx

(styling by Amanda Holland, photography by Anna Briggs and Amanda Holland, for perfectly imperfect living)

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  • Helen Wilson

    May 6, 2018 at 10:26 am

    Hello Amanda
    I just love reading your columns. I read and re read them when I get time!
    Being a nick knack person myself this latest one has given me a few ideas
    on how to display some of mine – again when I get time……..

    • Amanda

      May 17, 2018 at 11:28 am

      Thank you so much Helen. I think you should definitely make time for some productive faffing about with your treasures. It’s so inspiring! xx