The Art of Accessorizing

You have chosen a color scheme and the walls have been painted. Your upholstered furniture has arrived and is in place. The gleaming wood floors have been installed. But something is missing. It is now time to add all the small touches that turn a normal room into a personalized space that represents you and your family. These are called accessories.

There is a large list of items that fall under the category of accessories. They include lamps, artwork, books, photographs, collectibles, pillows, throws, rugs; even fresh flowers can be considered an accessory. But how do you choose the proper accessories and where do you place them?

A simple and fun method is to place everything you want to use in the middle of the floor. This allows you to look at each piece individually and determine if it will work in your space and, if so, where. Once you have determined what you will use you must decide where to use it.

Placement is based on size, scale, proportion, subject matter and color.

  • Scale is very important. If you have tall ceilings you will not want to use little tiny objects on the fireplace mantel or on the walls. They will disappear in the volume of the room, never to be seen or appreciated by you or your guests. For example, use large candle hurricanes in place of tiny tea lights on the mantel. Conversely, a large ceramic vase placed on top of a cocktail table leaves little room to place a teacup or book and can block the view of other people when sitting on the sofa. Consider, instead, placing a small bud vase on top of a stack of books for height that will not overwhelm.
  • Subject matter is not all that important. However, you may want to avoid hanging pen and ink nude sketches, for example, in public spaces. A hunting scene may not be appropriate for the kitchen. And children’s art may look out of place in a formal living room. You get the idea.
  • Your accessories do not have to match your color scheme. Let me say that again, your accessories do not have to match your color scheme. In an all neutral room you may want to add a pop of turquoise to remind you of your trip to the southwest. Holiday colors can be added to any room. A purple vase owned by your grandmother will be a nice reminder of her when placed in your brown and teal family room.
  • Collectibles should be grouped together for maximum effect. Line your bookshelves with the miniature portraits you have collected over the years. Create a spot to showcase your antique tea kettles. You will enjoy looking at your collection and they will tell a story about you to anyone who visits your home.

    Your accessories are like jewelry to your home. They are meant to be enjoyed and switched out occasionally to change the look and feel of the room.

    —Diane Haynie

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