Accessories 101: How Choosing the Right Accents Can Change a Room Entirely

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One of the most common mistakes that people make when decorating their home is over-accessorizing. For some of us, a hobby or collection can overwhelm a space and can leave it looking more like a museum or an antique store than a living room. While, it is perfectly fine to collect certain items, it takes some real design clout to understand the necessity of the right accents.

First let’s define what an accessory is and what is a collectible. An accessory is chosen to add flair to an unfinished room. A collectible is a personal item that isn’t purchased to add to a room per se, but rather to add to an already established collection. If you truly want to showcase your collection in a main living area it is best to choose one or two of your favorite pieces and use them as inspirational pieces to further accessorize the room.

How to Showcase Your Collectibles Tastefully 

For example, if you collect salt and pepper shakers, choose a few of them (1-3) that have the most personal meaning, are most valuable, or most interesting. If you can’t narrow it down to just a few, then try to rotate through your collection by highlighting a certain set every month of the year. Investing in a few inexpensive floating shelves is a wonderful design-friendly way of highlighting your collectibles without taking over the entire room.

This also makes for a wonderful conversation piece. Whenever you have guests, they will be able to see a new installment of your collection throughout the year. Once you have streamlined your collection, then it is time to choose accessories that will bring class and interest to your collectible wall while adding some outside-of-the-box aesthetic.

How to Accessorize Successfully 

Whether you want to highlight the gorgeous new hutch you’ve purchased, your hand whittled coffee table or your collection of tea cups, choose accessories that will bring the room together instead of drawing attention away from your desired pieces. This can be done very subtly.

Let’s revisit the example of a salt and peppershaker collection. If you are hoping to highlight your collectible wall of shakers, then choose accessories that relate to your collection but aren’t entirely the same. Pick up a vintage photo of a spoon and fork, or a rich oil painting of a cornfield or vegetable garden. These very indirect connections to your salt and pepper collection connect the room on three different design levels: color, theme, and tone.

Design Tip: Accessories should never be bought simply because they look good solo. In fact, accessories should be bought to blend into the room and not create a distraction. If you constantly find that your eye is being drawn to an overly bright and patterned throw pillow, or a busy art piece, then consider toning down the accessories to highlight the real star of the room, whatever you decide that may be.

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