The difference between an average room and a fabulous room is in the details! I have found most people have an easier time selecting “big things” like furniture, wall color and finishes; but sometimes it’s all the “little things” like art, lamps, and decorative objects that are the hardest to pull together.
As a professional interior desiger for over 17 years, I have learned a thing or two about accessorizing a home (not to mention made every mistake in the book!) So here are my top ten tips to keep in mind when accessorizing your home:
1. Bigger is Sometimes Better- Using too many small accessories will look busy and cluttered, try to select a few larger-scale items to give your room a focal point and more impact. I once heard that you should never use anything smaller than a grapefruit...you get the idea!
2. The Rule of "Three"- When working on a vignette or table top or bookshelf, try to arrange items in groups of three- something large, something medium and something small, this will add visual interest and variety. For example, a nightstand might have a lamp (tall) a framed photo (medium) and a vase of flowers or greenery (small).
3. Books and Bookshelves- Be sure to use plenty of books when styling bookshelves, this will prevent your shelves from looking like a "gift shop" display of accessories. I like to arrange groups of books first, and then fill in the empty spaces with decorative items, framed art, photos, and greenery.
4. Accessorize Your Walls- Nothing looks worse than large empty, vacant walls. With so many great options, have fun experimenting with things like: framed art, painted canvases, metal and wood wall hangings, fabric panels, wall clocks, mirrors, shadowboxes, and candle sconces. For even greater impact, mix it up and try hanging a grouping of items together.
5. Don’t Forget Lighting- When accessorizing your home, be sure to select beautiful table, floor and accent lamps for your spaces- not only will they look great, but they are functional as well. A well-lit room is always more comfortable and inviting, and overhead lighting is the most unflattering form of light for any space, so be sure to PLENTY of lamps and accent lighting to your rooms.
6. Use Living Things- Live plants, greenery, flowers, herbs, bowls of apples or lemons- all of these items make wonderful accessories, they will also add authenticity and life to any room. Flickering candles also bring a room to life, I always use lots of candles when decorating- they especially add sensory anbiance to a space when you use scented candles!
7. Use Functional Items- Let your accessories do “double duty” as storage solutions with attractive functional items such as canisters for your counters, a large wooden tray or basket for remote controls and magazines, or decorative hooks and shelves in a hallway, nice looking baskets and bins are a fabulous way to hold other "not-so-pretty" life neccessities.
8. Use Seasonal Accents- Fresh flowers in the spring, seashells for summer, autumn foliage and gourds in the fall, poinsettias for winter- be sure to celebrate the seasons in style with simple seasonal accents throughout your home.
9. Use Personal Things- Frame photographs of your family and loved ones, display a special collection, showcase passed-down antiques or treasures from your travels- displaying personal items will give your home PERSONALITY!
10. Know “When to Say When"- Using too many accessories can overwhelm a room- but if you don’t use enough, a room can feel empty- strive to find a good balance. When working on a space always take something away, if it looks empty add it back, but if it feels better, don't replace it.
The best way to accessorize your home is simply by trial and error - edit or rearrange items you already have for a fresh new look. Study photos in magazines or go online to look for ideas, and don’t be afraid to try something new. Whatever you do, remember that accessories are a fun and inexpensive way to update your home- good luck!