The High's decorative arts and design collection is the most comprehensive survey of American decorative arts in the southeastern United States, with more than 2,300 objects dating from 1640 to the present.

Strengths of the collection include international works of 20th- and 21st-century design that explore the intersections between art and design, handcraft and technology, and innovation and making. Highlights include the Virginia Carroll Crawford Collection of American decorative art, with important works by Alexander Roux, Herter Brothers, Tiffany & Co. and Frank Lloyd Wright.

Other notable gifts include the Frances and Emory Cocke Collection of English Ceramics from 1640 to 1840. Recent acquisitions focusing on design from the 20th and 21st centuries include key additions of Gerrit Rietveld's Red/Blue Chair (1918), Ron Arad's Blo- Void 1 chair (2006) and Joris Laarman's MX3D (Dragon Bench) (Prototype) (2014).