As a kid, I never would have thought to display my Star Wars toys...they lived in the vehicle boxes in the closet for the most part, though for trips and vacations my favorites would get packed into my Darth Vader carrying case.
Back in '95 I bought the POTF2 line and started lining figures up on my dresser in my room at my parents' house...as that line continued into '97 I mounted shelves on my wall and displayed the complete collection there(including the vehicles sans the X-Wing and Falcon rereleases that looked just ugly to me.)
In '98 I moved out (which was a good thing because I was beginning to run out of wall space in the bedroom) and got an apartment I shared with my girlfriend. The toys got packed away then, but those favorites of each character wound up on my computer desk, along with any new stuff I found...which wasn't much as '98 pretty much saw the line die.
I bought a few of the key Episode I toys but nowhere near as complete as I had been, and things would get set out on my desk for a time and then get retired to the big box of figures. I actually still have the three original cardboard boxes from ten years ago labelled: Figures, Ships, Playsets/Creatures in my basement.
I moved around every couple years then, and when the Ultaramas came out my figures made their way back out of storage on a rotating basis to fill those shelves. I'd do themes like Aliens, Droids, Rebels, Imperials, combining the collection in different ways.
In 2002 I remember having an office space with a long (12 foot or so) black shelf the previous owner had put up. I set that with a big Star Wars scene that I remember fondly, with Anakin and Obi-Wan standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Han and Luke, fighting the combined forces of Vader and the Empire and prequel droids (and a squad of clones lead by the one and only Atha Prime.) I wish I had pictures of that set-up, I really enjoyed that.
Also that year I had been to the Celebration and wound up burning most of the weekend in NiubNiub's diorama room, learning the craft and putting my blood sweat and tears into the Docking Bay 94 centerpiece that was given away. From that point I was hooked on diorama building and went home to build a Star Destroyer bridge set. After that I tried a couple more pieces that didn't work out, and eventually built a Death Star playset and most of a Cloud City playset. During this time the figures became dressing for my "projects" more than a collection unto themselves, and even my Ultaramas wound up staying in storage at the next move. I was still buying all the new OT product, and PT stuff as I liked it or needed it to fill that "new toy fix." Most of it was destined to get put into storage whenever the desk/workspace got too cluttered.
A couple years back my wife and I moved into our current house, and the dioramas and all wound up staying in storage this time, to await the day we finish the basement as my toy room. In the meantime, I eventually wore down my wife's reservations and was given the ok to turn the walls of our office into my "collection display area" for the time being. I combined my current situation with my love for diorama making and came up with multiple shelf display projects that I have been enjoying completing this past year.
As I conceptualized what my collection was going to entail, I came to the decision that there was no way I wanted to try and display everything--I had collected a bit of the PT stuff, as well as all the upgrades of OT stuff along the way, so alot of the stuff I had just didn't feel like it belonged. At the same time, I wanted to make sure all the cool Cantina aliens that haven't been made yet would have an eventual home. In the end, I spent an afternoon coming up with my version of the ultimate collection, just basically going through the movies by memory alone and writing down every character I wanted a figure of. If I couldn't think of 'em, I must not need 'em. It wound up being about 350 figures, definitely modest collection-wise. (For the prequels, I decided I would stick to the "top 12" from each movie, to recall the vintage original 12). And that will be my collection. As for ships, my office has a drop ceiling, so I look forward to hanging my stuff (OT only, and then not all of that) from the beams. The BMF is getting the one wall I was holding off as the "wild card" slot in my original plans.