A solution for risers might be as close as your garage. Old bricks and wood scraps can give a literal and figurative boost to smaller products, especially jewelry. The bricks were used at Voces de Copal Gallery in Oaxaca, Mexico, and the lumber at Union Handmade. AMY MEADOWS PHOTOS

By Amy Meadows

We have all had those moments of chemistry — discovering the perfect dress, house, or spouse.

When it feels like this match was meant to be, go for it! Whether you are following your gut instinct or your retail brain, they are both good at knowing when the pieces fall into place.

In gift stores, one of the greatest challenges can be finding ways to create harmonious adjacencies when, in fact, the styles or categories might vary. The automatic and completely understandable default setting is neutral.

Yet, if you have some wiggle room or wish to extract and spotlight a certain vendor, style, or material, the more congruent your display props and materials can be, the more successful the overall appearance — and sales — can be.

Reclaimed Lumber

Have we seen the end of shipping pallets as tabletops? Overhead grids? Backdrops? Nope!

Not to worry — they are timeless and extremely useful. While these rough, rustic elements can be used as contrasting materials, I think they are best used to complement the featured merchandise.

Examples of these elements are upcycled or recycled goods, such as textiles and yard art, and wooden items like trays, bowls, and platters.

Or, how about fences? Lengths of picket fences can meet very similarly, especially if your merchandise is more nostalgic or cot­tage-core. The sturdy upright slats can accommodate cup hooks, picture hangers, and other devices for hanging or mounting products.

The trick? Keeping the fence standing up straight. I recom­mend creating a base with lengths of lumber that sandwiches the fence base. In a pinch, use bricks! Again, if the merchandise is a bit rough or rustic, this is the perfect pairing.

What is not to love about books? We created curtains of individual, vintage book pages with monofilament. SUSAN KEZON PHOTO
While I cannot condone ripping covers and
bindings from books, there are candidates
at thrift stores that are fine. These books are bound with twine, serving as a handy prop. AMY MEADOWS PHOTOS
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