One of my favorite home decor things is accessories: I love shopping for them, trying them here and there in a room, storing them for another season and then “shopping” my own home, giving them as gifts, rearranging vignettes to make room for new……you see the trend? Accessories are the fun, the jewelry, the finishing touches that can really make a space personal and make it special. BUT, and it’s a big but, they have to be chosen with care. Too many random accessories make a space cluttered and uncomfortable. Too few make a space sterile and uncomfortable.
What are Accessories?
Any object that adds a decorative detail, that adds convenience or completes the look of a room is an accessory. Things like wall decor (decorative), lamps (convenience/practical), a vase to complement your color scheme (completes a look). Family pictures in pretty frames, silk floral arrangements, candles, boxes, books, figurines, vintage collectibles – just about anything that “sits around collecting dust” (according to my husband!) is an accessory.
The challenge is to display accessories in a cohesive, pleasing way that really enhances your space and gives it designer appeal. Here are some valuable designer tips to help you.
Top 7 Designer Tips to Accessorize Your Home
In no particular order, here are designer best-kept secrets for harnessing the power of accessories:
1. SCALE. Go big. Go tiny. But don’t get caught in that never-never land of everything being medium sized, medium color, medium impact. Oversize items (even in small rooms) really make a statement. They might be more expensive, but you need fewer of them and you’ll be amazed at how dramatic, dare I say “designer” style, your space will look. Tiny can be fun too, just remember to collect all tiny things together in one place for maximum impact.
2. GROUP. Gather your accessories together in groupings. A group doesn’t mean a collection where you have variations on a particular theme like fruit or boxes or thimbles or whatever. A grouping (or vignette) is a gathering of elements to create a cohesive unit. Groupings are much more impressive than a single item scattered here and there around the room. (*the exception is the occasional single oversized accessory)
3. TEXTURE. Your groupings will sing when you display a range of textures. The contrast of rough and smooth, patina and shiny and matte, or wood against metal next to glass will have an instant designer feel.
4. LAYERING. Use the technique of layering when creating your accessory vignettes for depth and hide-and-seek interest. Whenever you have any depth at all on a shelf or mantel, place your accessories with some in front of others, hiding parts of some pieces. Interest is created by making viewers wonder what’s missing (the part they can’t see) or making different parts of the accessories visible from different angles. Generally taller pieces go to the back, but not always – sometimes it’s fun to ‘break the rules’ and just let a smaller piece peek through from behind something tall.
5. CONTRAST. Contrast is your friend. Contrasting shapes, colors, textures and sizes all beef up the wow factor and make your vignette memorable. If you have a pair of tall, skinny crystal candlesticks, combine them with something round like a plate, bowl or ball in ceramic and a wood box stacked on a couple of books.
6. BLEND. Accessories are the final details in a room and not the main player. They should blend with the style and colors of the decor but don’t create such a matchy look that they fade into the woodwork. Use a variety of shades from your color palette – this is the place to introduce much darker and lighter shades of color.
7. PERSONALITY. Use your accessories to tell a story – your story. They should represent things you love….your travels, your family, nature, a sense of history, hobbies, etc. If you follow the first 6 tips when displaying the things you love, you’ll end up with a space that’s perfect for you AND will look like a designer created it.
More Accessorizing Tips
I’ve written about accessorizing before (since it IS one of my favorite aspects of design) and if you want a little more info or a different take, you might read these earlier articles: Top 5 Accessory Props, a series about accessorizing that starts with Wall Decor, and a reader favorite, Potshelf Decor Picture Tutorial.
Tomorrow I’ll continue the accessorizing theme but with a twist……check back tomorrow to get even more ideas and tips. Remember, if you need help with an accessorizing dilemma, or color or furniture placement or whatever, drop us a line with your question and we’ll do our best to help. We have so many readers contacting us now that we’re kept pretty busy helping everyone so please limit your requests to a single dilemma. If your concerns span a range of topics, you may want to consider purchasing one of our design packages – you can read about the services here.