How to Choose and Display Decorative Accessories

By The Editors at HomePortfolio

If you don't have a love affair with objects, hunting for just the right accent pieces and decorative accessories for your home can feel like a chore; yet if you keep a few helpful hints in mind and establish criteria before you begin, you will be able to eliminate much of the anxiety associated with decorating.

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Garrison Hullinger

Selecting Accessories

Don't concern yourself with the details of accessorizing until the bare bones of the environment have been covered. The placement of accessories comes only after completing the architecture, painting, and furnishing of the space. Once lighting is installed and wallcoverings and window treatments are up, you'll be ready to begin.

Allow yourself time in a room. Live with your furnishings and study the available wall and surface space. Try to envision the addition of a tablescape or artwork. What might work best with the colors, styles, and textures already in the environment? Taking your time is very important. Well-decorated rooms aren't put together in a week or bought entirely from a store display. The room should not be contrived but rather developed. Although it is helpful to draw inspiration from books and magazines, showrooms, and other people's homes, the key to successfully accessorizing any space is to work with objects that are significant to you. Surround yourself with what you love, not just things that you think will look right. Begin with items from places you have traveled to, artwork you've acquired, gifts you've received, and mementos. Tell the truth. Ask yourself, "Who lives here?" This can take time, but remember that it's all right for your home to be a work in progress.

Materials & Types

Pulp Home
When purchasing decorative accessories, follow your instincts. Some of us prefer certain materials, such as metal or ceramic, to others. You may find that you have a tendency to break glass or feel that manmade materials are unappealing. Are you inexplicably attracted to sculpture? How about mirrors? Perhaps you want only functional items such as candlestickspicture frames, or plant stands to dress the room. Establish a set of criteria to follow when selecting items. It can be fun to focus on cultural or historical themes or regional influences inspired by your home's location. Whatever you choose, ask yourself how it will suit the mood of the room and fit into the overall look of the space. Ask yourself if the pieces you've chosen blend with the general decor.


Room & Board
Placement of your accessories is key. If you break into a cold sweat at the thought of hammering a nail into the wall or finding the perfect position for a Daum vase that you carried by hand from Paris, then consider the services of a professional interior designer. Many designers offer hourly services for placing your objects and artwork.

If you are equipped and confident, begin by moving around the room to view it from every possible angle. Let the space dictate the composition. Imagine your objects and think in three dimensions. Consider the natural and installed lighting, and the scale, balance, and relationship of objects to each other and to other elements in the room. Notice how your eye is drawn to certain areas. Perhaps your goal is to create a focal point. Don't be intimidated; you'll be surprised at your own decorating ability if you allow yourself the freedom to experiment with placement. Have no fear when adding decorative pieces, as you can always move something that doesn't look quite right. The only person you need to please is yourself. If you follow your own preferences, your personal style will shine through, which is truly what a home is all about.

For more home design advice and ideas, take a look at:
Partners in Design

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