You’ve already done the easy part: you have an amazing collection of accessories that you cherish and want to display. Now, you have to tackle one of the biggest decorating dilemmas…how to arrange your accessories in your space. We don’t want to put too much pressure on you, but how you choose to display them could make or break their presence in your design. Whether on a bookcase, shelf, or tabletop, improperly placed accessories can look cluttered, sparse, or out of place. We have a three step system that will transform your boring or cluttered accessories into eye catching vignettes!
Harmony & Contrast
When arranging a space with accessories, the most important thing to avoid is playing it too safe. Read: boring. This has a lot less to do with the objects you choose than how you choose to display them. To keep an arrangement from blending into its surroundings, remember to keep a balance of harmony and contrast. You want a bit of both in your arrangement. Create harmony by including things that feel like they go together because of similar colors or styles, like square glass candlesticks in two sizes. Then add contrast by adding items that are opposites, such as sitting those smooth candlesticks next to a rough round basket.
Scale & Shape
Make sure that the items you are using fit into the scale of the place they will be living. You don’t want one tiny plant in the middle of a large kitchen table, and you want to steer clear of using a massive arrangement of flowers on a tiny end table. Most people tend to use things that are too small for their surroundings. If you have small accessories you would like to display, but need to give them more of a presence in the arrangement, try grouping them on a tray to increase their style. You can also give them height by perching them atop stacked books or baskets.
Layer & Soften
Once you’ve chosen your objects for the space following the design principles above, now it’s time to layer and soften. Start with a taller piece slightly off center…this will be the defining piece in your arrangement. Now work to the outer edges in layers…Add a large background piece, one or two medium height items, and then keep your tiniest objects near the front and sides. Keep the eye moving up and down as it purveys the arrangement from left to right for interest. Accessories paired in odd numbers provide the most visual appeal. Add some burlap, feathers, or twisted ribbon to soften the edges of the shelf or table, to bring in color, and to highlight certain objects.
Most importantly, keep trying new combinations of items until you find an arrangement that works for you. Challenge yourself to try to display things in unusual ways. Tuck flowers or a live plant into an arrangement that seems too stagnant. Even professional designers will occasionally be surprised by trying things in a new way. And remember, if your arrangement still looks cluttered and chaotic, chances are you are trying to display too much. Develop a prop box or closet where you can keep some of your treasures, and switch them out with the seasons for a fresh new look without spending a dime!
"THE ONLY THING THAT SEPARATES US FROM THE ANIMALS IS OUR ABILITY TO ACCESSORIZE." CLAIREE BELCHER