Tuesday, June 15, 2010


As I finish up painting my dining room table and buffet (pic coming Friday), I've started to wonder what accessories can be shifted around to add the finishing touches my new space.  As a side note: I'm trying to work with what I have until I find that I absolutely need something new and I have vowed not to buy that new item until I figure out exactly what it is that I want, I find it, and I love it.  Mama's on a budget! 

In trying to get together some general rules for decorating the Downs Abode, I decided that I definitely need a few on accessorizing.  Adding those finishing touches/pieces to a space is where you make or break the design.  They can act as the jewelry to your room enhancing your other furnishings or they can make your perfectly good base look like a hot mess. 

Here's what I came up with...

O D D N U M B E R S : work.  Unless you're going for symmetry (which I do love), go odd, especially on table decor.  It is visually more pleasing to have one or three than four and so on. 

S T A R T T A L L: This rule is, again, more for table top decor.  Most decoraters will start with tall pieces like lamps, candle sticks, vases, etc and either group them on one side or flank a matching pair on either side of the piece, then add one or two medium scale pieces and a few smaller lovelies as a finishing touch. Don't have anything tall enough?  Add a few books underneath.  Books are a great way to add a splash of color and height to your accessories.  Don't be afraid to stack!

G R O U P : collections, pictures, smaller objects all look better as a grouping.  If you have a collection of something (tea pots, plates, thimbles, seashells) try grouping every item in your collection together in one place.  It makes a bigger statement as a focal point than if you were to scatter your collection throughout your house.

M I X M E T A L S :  I think the thought is still out there that you shouldn't mix metals.  Not the case.  You're house is not a showroom where everything is from the same store that offers the same finish, right?  Not if you follow  the rules it's not!  It's OK to mix stainless, bronze, pewter, etc.  It gives your space interest and depth. 

N A T U R E : is a great subject for accessories and can be very inexpensive.  Fresh flowers from your garden or even limbs, moss, fruit and vegetables, stone-- these can all make great accessories and the best thing about not spending too much money on them is that you can

S W I T C H I T U P : Just because you have certain things on your dresser one day, doesn't mean you can't move them to an entry table in a month.  I would actually encourage that you do so.  Add more colorful items during summer, take some away in winter, play!  I'm sticking to my guns in telling you to invest in pieces you love, but mix it up with some cheap or even free stuff.

E X P E R I M E N T : Did you find a piece at a flea market for $1?  Then it won't hurt you to spray paint it yellow...just try it?  Take something you wouldn't typically put on the wall and hang it (baskets, plates, fabrics)  You will be amazed what you can come up with when you think outside of the box!

A D D P H O T O S : stuck on what to put on your table?  dresser? wall?  Add Photographs--whether they are of people you know, places you've been or something you picked up on etsy, a photo with an interesting composition and fab frame can be a great start. 

M I R R O R : You can get mirrors inexpensively at places like Homegoods, Lowes, or even your local junk store.  Mirrors add sparkle and make your room look bigger, but be careful what is on the other side.  You don't want to reflect your broke down window unit so it is in two places, get my drift?  Try and put mirrors across from great views to the outdoors, pretty art, or an angle of your room that you love.

D I Y : I find that with creativity, motivation, a plan, and the right tools, you can pretty much make everything you need to accessorize a great space.  If you see something you love, before you buy it, think about how you would make it--you might surprise yourself and save a little money.  There are tons of websites out there that provide great tutorials for DIY project--GOOGLE!

L A Y E R : To really create depth in your room, layer.  Layer art, accessories, furniture.  Just because you have a table against a wall, doesn't mean you can't put chairs in front or benches underneath.  Hang a picture on the wall, lean a few more up on a table below and then add more accessories in front of the leaning pictures.  Layering adds a certain look, so you will be able to tell if you like it right away.  If it's not for you, it's OK, but it's a tool you can use if you need to.

Here is an example of using books to add color and layering accessories to create depth. 

The great thing about 'leaning' is that those items can easily be switched around without leaving holes in your pretty walls. Notice the different heights and how your eye can move up or down from the furniture and still have something pretty to look at. 

I absolutely love this image.   Notice that these benches don't "fit" under the table, but they still work. 

My project this weekend is to make a huge coffee table and then rip this idea with the trays and books.  I'm obsessed with trays--a great way to contain smaller accessories, make them appear as one and add weight.

Stainless, gold, bronze--Oh my!  It works, right?  The different styles of furniture and awesome textures and are perfect.

Here is a collection of vintage toys?  Not really my style, but I just wanted to show you that, if done right, any sort of collection displayed together can be cute.  I'm thinking those display boxes would make a quick DIY project as well.

Still have a delimma that I haven't addressed?  Send me your questions!



  1. Is that MY dream display of vintage toys! HAA!! I love it!!

  2. Hello!?!? I put that on there just for you. Can you say PB's new play room wall display????