The Art of Accessorizing


In room décor, accessorizing is the icing on the cake, and more. The right accessories can make or break the room. Accessories tie together all the components of a room including the brick and mortar as well as the contents. Accessories add interest with colour, height, texture, and character. They can warm up or cool down the space, personalize or add anonymity. They can rejuvenate tired furniture. So, how do we get it right?

First clear the room. Take away everything but the basic furniture for a clean slate. It may be helpful to keep the room this way for a couple of days to allow your brain to become open to change.

Identify the focal point in the room. This is where you want the biggest, best, and boldest accents to be.

Think about the sight lines in the room. If everything is the same height as your eye sweeps the room, you will use art, plants, lamps and décor pieces to create a pleasing variety of heights.

Choose one or two accent colours for the room which work well with the wall colour and your furniture. You may take the colours from a rug or piece of art which you want to place in the room. Your accessories will be how you distribute your accent colours throughout the room. Likewise it may be a pattern or shape you use throughout the space, such as the circles in the fabric on the side chair which are repeated in the cushions on the couch and the metal art on the wall.

Bring in a little at a time and stand back to really see what you have created. Where does your eye go? Is anything jarring or boring? If it is jarring you likely have the wrong size or colour. If it is boring, you need something which will lend interest through colour, pattern, texture, or size.

Resist the urge to fill every corner and every surface. The appropriate amount of empty space feels good and provides the backdrop to the things you want to be noticed.

Pay attention to balance. Strong colours, heavy objects, and tall objects can be used to even out a room if the furniture is not already accomplishing that. Some people prefer a true balance, such as 2 identical chairs flanking a fireplace, while others are happier with a smaller chair in a complimentary fabric plus a lamp on one side; not the same but creating visual balance.

Proportion is another deciding factor. The size and shape of the space you are dressing should determine the size and shape of your choice. Over a bed or couch, a vertical piece of art about 2/3 to 3/4 of the width of the bed or couch is most pleasing. On a large rectangular dining table, a small round centerpiece will feel out of place whereas two or three of the same piece may be perfect and, if there is a hanging chandelier above, the centerpieces should likely be low to the table. If the area in front of your seating arrangement is more or less square, then the rug and/or coffee table should be square or round rather than rectangular or oval.

When selecting table top items and contents for shelves, choose something that is of significant size over many smaller items for more impact. If you are using smaller items, such as your favourite collection of framed photos, group them together to visually form one piece. Remember, varying heights are pleasing to the eye. Most people also prefer to look at groupings of odd numbers and the fewer there are, the more will be seen.

Hang art last so that placement will take into account the location of furniture and other accessories in the room. Take care not to hang art too high, and keep the level of all the art in the room relating to each other. You may want to line up the tops, bottoms or middles of the various pieces of artwork. If there is too large a gap between the bottom of artwork and the top of whatever is beneath it, the eye will stray to the empty wall space between. By keeping this distance at no more than 4-5 inches the art and the furniture below are visually tied together.


Posted in