Walls painted, rugs down, furniture in…now what? To keep your home from looking bare and impersonal, you have to accessorize. Adding pictures, keepsakes and functional accessories makes your space more “you,” but how do you interject that style without adding clutter and chaos? I tapped into three local decorating pros to give me the low-down on accessorizing fearlessly–here’s what they had to say.
About the Pros:
Katrina Stumbos from Katrina Stumbos Interior Design describes her style as “timeless and modern,” and had this to say about whether there’s such a thing as too much or too little when decorating:
“Here’s the thing about accessorizing–it’s completely unique to you and your interior style. The boho chic vibe is all about oversized, over the top, more-is-more accessorizing. Then you have the more minimal contemporary interiors that are all about less is more with very few and pointed accessories. Both styles are equally beautiful and impactful but have a completely different accessorizing ‘rule.'”
Rebecca Ward, owner and principle designer at Rebecca Ward Design, likes to ensure her clients are educated about the fundamentals of good design. “I often come in to ‘edit’ the client’s accessories to eliminate some visual clutter. I like to use a mixture of family photos, curated mementos from travels and collected items from events.”
Architect and designer Matthew Lechowick teaches design at UC Davis and believes in a collaborative approach to designing your home even when deciding whether you’ve gone overboard: “For you and your partner in crime/life, use them to make that judgement call. They will be honest with you…most of the time.”
Favorite go-to arrangement:
Rebecca: I like to keep coffee tables manageable by starting with a tray, adding a coffee table book or two, and then finishing it off with a floral branch in a small vase, a photo frame, and something geometric and dimensional to provide varied heights and interest.
Katrina: Aside from flowers I like to accessorize with candles, books and items that are important to my client. In my home I have a few odd items that will always find themselves on my coffee table, simply because they mean something to me.
Matthew: I typically go with pairs or threes, depending on the space I am needing to fill. I would refer back to the collection paradigm for anything larger. Singles, pairs and odds idea.
Is it possible to overdo it the right way?
Rebecca: It is possible to overdo it when it comes to accessorizing, and there is certainly such a thing as too much. However, the homeowner’s style should drive the overall look, so I don’t think there’s only one “right” way to accessorize.
Matthew: Yes, you can. I would call that a collection, and the hardest part is deciding what to cut from the collection of accessories. Like any form of design, you need an overarching idea (concept) of what this collection is to you. Then you need to create a method of organizing it (e.g. color, alphabetical, size, et cetera). That way, the overdo becomes logical and digestible to you and your guests.
Katrina: Yes, just like jewelry, it can be fabulously overdone. Can anyone have too many books, flowers and candles? I think not. Just the same way I think that no diamond is too big. It’s all about the placement and intention behind overdoing it.
Matthew: Not having a concept (clear idea) on what they are arranging and what they want to convey with these items. Be patient and collect these things over time. Don’t do it all in one Pinterest binge or else it will look like someone else’s space and not your own.
Rebecca: Carefully placing accessories in a perfect row is the worst mistake I’ve seen people make. It’s very important to provide groupings and blank spaces, so that the eye is drawn to focal points and has rest spots in between.
Katrina: Avoid buying everything at one store. I don’t want to walk into your home and think about how you bought the entire display from your local furniture department store. Mix and match the old with the new, the heirlooms with the trendy items, what’s unique to you and what just fits in the space. And have fun–this is just accessorizing, so don’t take it too seriously!
So feel free to go as big or as small as you like in your home; be bold, be minimalist, be yourself. As Katrina says, “Much of accessorizing is simply what feels right.”