Mirrors can liven up a space by bouncing more light around the room. Photo: Thomas O'Brien Collection from Hickory Chair
To get the full effect of your accessories, don’t go overboard. Too many objects will just make your stylish possessions compete for attention—or even worse, look cluttered and messy. Photo: Martha Stewart by Bernhardt
Think of accent pillows like fun, trendy jewelry—they allow you to change up your décor seasonally and keep your room looking fresh and new throughout the year. Photo: Global Views
Your Space, Your Taste
One of the best decorating decisions you can make is to enjoy the process. It’s your home, and no one has to love your choices but you.
Dress up Your Home!
Learn how to use decorative accessories to highlight your personal style—without breaking the bank.
- by Trisha Kemerly
Having a beautiful home is a goal for many homeowners, but no one wants a cookie-cutter approach to decorating. Part of the joy of decorating is the ability to personalize your space, making it a reflection of who you are and what is important to you. Accessories will help you accomplish this—allowing you to personalize your space and pull together your rooms for a look that is uniquely you.
“Home accessories are like jewelry for a woman—just as a bracelet adds a bit of sparkle to her outfit, accessories just give another dimension to a room,” asserts Erin Davis, junior designer at Global Views, a furniture and accessories manufacturer.
She says there are plenty of ways to improve the look of your home without a big investment. Whether you’re looking for ways to put the final touches on your room or just wanting to refresh your space, here are a few suggestions that can go a long way to finishing your rooms in style—without breaking the bank.
Welcome Mats and Rugs
What an easy way to dress up the entrance to your home! A new welcome mat or grouping of small area rugs inside the door can add a nice punch of color and freshness to the room. Add a couple of large, potted plants so that your doorways look completely welcoming to your guests.
Liven up your space with light. An evenly lit room is boring—variations in brightness, highlight and shadow make a room more interesting and livable. The key to a great design is a balance of task, accent and general lighting that allow you to perform a variety of activities in one room.
“Lamps are also a great way to show off your personality, too,” Davis adds. “Today’s designs can be beautiful and elegant, or fun and funky. They are a great way to have fun with your design without making a large financial investment.”
Artwork, Vases and Sculptures
Displaying your favorite photos, paintings or prints on the wall will dress up any room. Enlarge some of your favorite photographs and create a great focal point on a wall with a collection of framed homemade art in various sizes.
Similarly, it’s easy to find cheap vintage prints, posters, vases and other artwork. Gather a few and display them together on the wall or a table, and you’ve got a great-looking collection and conversation piece. “No matter how simple an object may be by itself, a grouping in the same scale or color scheme gives a polished look to your collection and has a bigger impact,” Davis adds.
Think of accent pillows like fun, trendy jewelry—they allow you to change up your décor seasonally and keep your room looking fresh and new throughout the year. Accent pillows enhance your existing home décor by bringing fun colors, patterns, shapes and textures to your room. Depending on the amount of detail or hand-stitching, accent pillows can be quite a bargain.
Mirrors can liven up a space by bouncing more light around the room. Whether you buy one large mirror to hang above a fireplace or piece of furniture, or group a few small ones in a pattern on the wall, mirrors add interest and depth to any room.
Freshen it up with Fruit
Furniture stores often dress up their showrooms simply with bowls of green apples or wide glass vases filled with bright yellow lemons. It’s an inexpensive way to display some natural color, and it adds an air of freshness to any room.
Whether it’s a new quilt draped over the end of a bed, a soft throw on the sofa or some new hand towels for the bathroom, new linens can quickly make a room feel fresh and new again. A well-placed throw also can serve to pull together the colors in your room.
This is a no-brainer. Paint isn’t technically an accessory, but nothing can transform a room as quickly as a great coat of paint. Splashing some color on the walls can bring together all the elements in a room and refresh the look of any space. Better yet, you can get a couple of gallons of paint and supplies for a very small investment.
Transform Your Old Furniture
Even if you have older furniture or hand-me-downs that you can’t replace yet, give them new life with a fresh coat of paint, a different wood stain or new fabric. Similarly, transform your kitchen and bathroom cabinets and dresser drawers with new knobs. Also, look for interesting finials to touch up your lamps or curtain rods.
Remember, Less Is More
To get the full effect of your accessories, don’t go overboard. Too many objects will just make your stylish possessions compete for attention—or even worse, look cluttered and messy. Accessorize in small groups, and leave some space around the collection so that it has room to stand out.
Having trouble deciding which ones work best? Davis suggests sticking with the things that are the most unusual and interesting conversation pieces. One of the easiest ways to give your room some personality is to add photos, pieces of art or furniture that guests can talk about. Even if you don’t entertain guests very often, having your most unique items on display will make your space even more personally meaningful.
One of the best decorating decisions you can make is to enjoy the process. It’s your home, and no one has to love your choices but you. Don’t just buy things because they’re cheap—make sure you buy things that you really love and reflect your personality. Otherwise, you’ll simply end up spending more in the long run to replace them.
Sprucing up your home doesn’t have to be pricey. Well-chosen accessories and a little creativity will help you create a home that reflects your individuality and personal style.