Tuesday, June 11, 2013

How to Transform a Room with Accessories

If I had to choose my favorite part of decorating, I would definitely say accessorizing or styling. I really enjoy creating vignettes and object groupings to make a room come alive. It's sort of the "jewelry" on a well-dressed space. I hear people say a lot that they wish they could create a certain look in their own home, or make a room like it looks on Pinterest or a blog or in a boutique. I have to tell you, once you know a few secrets and practice a bit, room styling is not terribly complicated. I thought it might be fun to share some of the tricks I use to change our tiny home every few months. I don't have the budget or space to change furniture or room layouts often, but the greatest tool I have are accessories - and I bet you have them too! So here are my top tips for transforming a room just by using accessories.

1. Choose a Color Palette

When I redid our living room for summer, I went from a fairly neutral accessory palette of blacks and creams to pops blue, aqua and green. Whatever color scheme you decide to work from, shop your house (or buy new) for items within that color family or visual theme. In this case, I pulled aqua jars from the bathroom, a landscape from another room, and green books from storage to create a cohesive color palette. It doesn't take tons of color, necessarily, just a subtle repetition of a theme or shade.



You can see that many of the accessories are the same - the urns, the chippy finials, white ironstone - but I've added color where there was none before. Green moss, aqua glass and green books cause the eye to read a more colorful display than before. It gives the room a new look without spending money, painting walls or moving furniture.



2. Group Like Objects

Any time you can group objects of a similar size, shape or color together, the better. And the rule of three is always the best - meaning it's most pleasing on the eye to see items in groups of three.

Trophies grouped in three. I didn't have a third silver trophy so I used another accessory of a similar scale and shape to complete the triplet.

Green books grouped together for visual impact.

The similar urn shapes helps unify this grouping.

3. Create Visual Interest with Texture or Shapes

Sleek porcelain balls are an unexpected and visually interesting collection (this also echoes grouping like items for impact).

Wicker is one of the best textures for visual impact, especially if you work in a more neutral palette. You can't go wrong! It adds dimension and texture to a space.

Here the curves of the corbel add tons of visual interest. Its unique lines also offset the right angles of the books and boxes used on the shelves.

4. Bring Nature In

This is probably the number one styling advice you will hear from experts, magazines, photographers, etc. Adding natural elements to your accessories always brings a space to life.

This faux birds nest still adds a bit of nature that makes the room feel collected.

Keeping fresh flowers in the house can get expensive, so using things like moss, pinecones, nests or branches can help a space seem vibrant and alive without using perishable flowers. Potted plants are also a great option if you aren't like me and can keep them alive : )

5. Use Height and Scale

This trick is the one people seem to struggle with most, and it can take some practice. But once you learn to balance height and scale your vignettes will really come to life. Items displayed together should never be at the same height - there should be enough variation to fill up a visual space. Some tall, some short and some items in between are best. Also keep in mind the space you're going to fill, as something too large will overwhelm a space/wall/piece of furniture, and something too small will look awkward.

Here I added height with a wire basket behind this statue and jar. It fills in the visual space above two objects of essentially the same height, and also fulfills the rule of threes.

In this corner I needed a taller piece to anchor the back of the table. The tall window draws the eye upward and fills in the blank wall space. The lamp would have been about the same height as the other accessories, so I placed it on a pedestal to create height. The leaded glass window accomplishes the same thing on the other side, and balances the table.

Pedestals and stacks of books are a stylist's best friend. I use stacks of books constantly to elevate smaller items and give height where it's needed. Books also anchor small objects by creating a sort of "platform" for them visually.

In our bedroom, I used a large potted orchid to anchor a bedside chest. It creates height and is the correct scale for this piece of furniture. 

I know accessorizing can be a little scary if you feel it doesn't come naturally to you, but I promise with a little practice you can freshen any room just by changing up the decor. Oh, and did I mention it can take time and make a mess to get everything just right? Getting our living room ready for summer took a couple of hours, and there were accessories strewn across the entire floor and every surface. Just be patient and take your time. Place an object in its space, then stand back and look at the space from different angles. Try items in new spots or combine pieces you might not normally put together. When I was finished restyling, I had about three boxes full of accessories I didn't use, but I needed to work with everything to see what the best mix and layout was. Don't be frustrated if it doesn't come together right away, just keep adding and subtracting and eventually it will just feel right!

I hope these tips were helpful! Happy accessorizing!

{live beautifully}


  1. Anonymous6/11/2013

    Come do my house!!!!!!!

  2. I love it! I think accessories are my favorite part of decorating as well... That's probably one thing I miss most about my my old house was having more spots to decorate with all of the accessories I have!


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