To complete the look when dressing we accessorise: the jewellery, scarf, shoe, hat, belt, handbag. When ‘dressing’ your room, the same principle applies. Accessorising is usually the last step – necessary for pulling the decor together and to give your space the ‘decorated’ look. Successful accessorizing is more than using pretty things.
Begin at the focal point. Place the best where they can make the most impact. Use Accessories to play up your room’s best features. The focal point of your room has the leading role. It is the place that everyone will focus on when they enter the room. Everything else plays a supporting role. Further highlight your focal point by strategically placing your best pieces to support the focal point.
Enlarge the space by eliminating clutter. Before you select and position your accessories ask yourself what mood or impression are you trying to achieve? Describe your perfect room in 3 to 5 words. Do your accessories fit that description? If they don’t, eliminate them. Nothing spoils the picture like clutter. Plus why do you want to be surrounded by things that you hate or do not fit into your perspective of your ideal space? If you have many pieces that you love, consider rotating them. You do not have to use them all at the same time.
Keep placement cohesive. Pay specific attention to where you position your accessories. You don’t want accessories lonely on tabletops, floating on floors or walls, or cluttering shelves. Place your art 4 to 6 inches above your furniture or 54 to 63 inches from the floor to the centre of your painting. Vary the height of table top accessories to create balance and interest. Remember that odd numbers create maximum impact. Symmetrical placement is formal. Asymmetrical arrangements are more informal or casual.
Bigger is better. When accessorising a space such as a table top, bookshelf or the wall above your sofa, fill about two thirds to three quarters of the space. This is a pleasing proportion. Group like items, don’t line them up like marching soldiers or scatter them randomly. Avoid itsy bitty accessories. Unless the room is very small, area rugs smaller than 5’ X 8’ generally look too small. As a general rule, prefer wall art larger than 18” X 24” and remove all accessories shorter than 12 inches and if being placed on the floor, accessories over 24 inches look better. Floor plants should not be shorter than 72 inches. Don’t use tiny, delicate items on large heavy furniture. Go big for major impact.
Artwork should fit the decor. Don’t buy artwork just because it is expensive or merely for sentimental purposes. The style and colour should be compatible with the decor of the room and with your vision for your perfect space. If the art work is expensive or unique enough you can design your space around it. The art in the room should work together cohesively; not clashing or competing. A cheap print that ‘fits’ will look and feel better in the space than an expensive original that just does not relate to anything in the room. Match the shape of the art to the shape of a wall – hang vertical art and groupings on vertical wall spaces and horizontal art and groupings on horizontal wall spaces. Hang physically or visually heavy pieces at the bottom of a grouping with lighter pieces above. The frames of your paintings and prints can also make decorative statements. Ensure that the message is cohesive and not in discord with the rest of the space. Mirrors should reflect something beautiful and appealing – not the ceiling or some feature you rather not see or emphasise.
Don’t forget lighting. Use lighting to highlight your favourite pieces. Place lighting in the display cabinet, over artwork, over vignettes. Use the form, shape and colour of lamps, candle holders, chandeliers, wall sconces to their full decorative capacity. Even the colour of the light can be important. A warm yellow glow will contribute to the cosiness of your space. Bright white light is a little more sterile. The ‘daylight’ bulbs seem more natural. Nothing is incidental in your decor. Everything should fit and have a purpose.
Bring the outside in. Natural plants and flowers bring life and texture to a room. Their organic beauty, texture and natural form works well with any decor. Right now palms and bananas type foliage on trend. Look for interesting shapes and textures. The ficus is yesterdays look. Pay attention to the planters and pots. Dried branches, twigs and flowers can make quite dramatic statements. Plants can be used inject life and a variety of moods. With so many different shapes, sizes and colour we have many opportunities to support our decor. Ensure that the size is in proportion to the other elements in the room and the right scale for the size of the room. Too small and it will contribute to visual clutter and too large it can overpower the space.
Use colour to your advantage. Are you timid about using colour? If you are experimenting with colour or feel uncomfortable about using large amounts of a specific colour, try using the colour in your accessories. Colour in your accessories can pull the decor together and inject rhythm in the decor. Vivid colours will energise your space. Use in accent pillows, artwork, vases, rugs, etc in warm colours such as orange, reds and yellows. Accessories in cool colours will contribute to a soothing, peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. It all depends on how you will like your room to feel and what statement you are trying to make.
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