Accessorizing your home can be a daunting task. There are so many areas to tackle, from living areas to private areas and all those small spaces that need a touch of fun too. Accessories are the finishing touches in a room that help bring it to life, so it’s important to get it just right!
Work in odd numbers
If there’s one tip I stress most, it’s that you rarely ever want to group in even numbers (2,4). It almost always feels rigid and awkward. Odd-numbered groupings (3,5,7) have better flow and softer edges. For example, your coffee table accessories could consist of a tray, a tall vase with florals, a couple of stacked books and a bowl for a total of five items. Another example could be a bookshelf with three stacked books, a pair of vases, a trinket and a picture frame for a total of seven.
Now that we’ve established grouping in odd numbers, we want to address the vertical ground for those groupings. Height, height, height—I’m saying that three times for a reason!
Height #1—Start low. This could consist of stacked books or boxes and shallow bowls, anything that covers a low area.
Height #2—Fill in the midsection. This could look like vases, sculptures or candles. Anything with a bit of height.
Height #3—Add the drama! This height should be soaring and could consist of tall bouquets of greenery or branches in a slim tall vase, tall candlesticks or even artwork (on shelves).
Let it breathe
It’s easy to get carried away with trinkets and fill in every single gap. When I decorate shelves, I always remind myself that placing one large item by itself can be enough of a moment on its own. You don’t always have to layer and layer. Each item you put on a shelf should have enough space around it to breathe. This act of letting things breathe translates really well and makes your accessorizing look thoughtful and serene.
A tray is your best friend
Trays are a completely underrated decor item, in my opinion. They’re the perfect solution for the overcrowded clutterer. Place any mess on a tray and suddenly you look pulled together. If you’re having trouble with your coffee table decor, group your items on a tray. If your bathroom counter feels scattered, place your soaps in pretty bottles and make them a focal point by displaying them on your vanity tray. Trays can be used to bring cleanliness and order, but also to say “Hey, look at me!” As I like to say, I’ll take a tray any day.
Have a theme
Although you can accessorize without a theme, it does help quite a bit to have one. Think about your interests and collections and how you can incorporate them in your space. Say you love going to the beach and want to bring that feel into your home. For this theme, you might use shells and raffia, sailboats, jars of sand or blue and green vases to decorate with. You could use sandy hues and variants of blue inspired by the sea and sky for a color palette.
But having a theme also applies to design styles. Are you an industrial design lover? Decorate with more metal, wood, black and white art, wheels or bike-related items (which read industrial), any material that is more constructional or cold feeling. Do you love a glamorous look? Then you’ll want to decorate with pieces that are reflective—mirrored boxes, crystal or glass, anything embellished with beading, or mixed metallics.
Ashley Freeman is a Toronto-based interior designer who leads her design firm to capture the fullness and richness of life through materials and finishes. See her featured on Apartment Therapy, the Contemporist and Umbra.