Once we set the clocks ahead for Daylight Saving Time, I am SO ready for Spring! It’s a signal to start looking at things in a new light – so to speak :). Maybe it is because of this extended daylight that I begin to look around and start finding rooms looking a little flat. That’s when it’s time to take it up a notch by updating and/or adding some accessories. In one of my recent blog posts “How to Take Your Style up a Notch”, I created a video describing how I curated unique accessories and accent pieces to update the aesthetic for a family room redesign. Check out the blog post with before and after photos, and below is a preview of the video.
Coincidentally, someone in my office showed me a recent New York Times article “Bringing the Living Room to Life” which focuses on exactly this concept – how adding accessories to a room “invigorates” the space. In this article, designers and the NYT design writer offer an outline for bringing life to your decor. Here are the key points they share.
- Make a Plan – Setting out to design any space in your home, you need to be cognizant of how all the elements in a room will work together. This means that the combination of art, lamps, sculptural objects, books, flowers, plants, etc. need to be considered in how they will work together in the space. Below are a few examples that show how all these elements tie together in a finished space.
- Choose a Color Scheme – I love the point in this article, that if you want to create a calm look, choose accessories in colors that blend with the furnishings and finishes. If you want to create an energized space, choose bold and bright colors that pop. Below are a few examples of spaces where we created a calm look which is an ideal aesthetic for an elegant living room and a serene master bedroom. And, a few rooms where we use pops of color with pomegranate accents in an otherwise neutral dining room and bright yellow tones in a sun drenched kitchen seating area.
- Pick Your Pillows – I like to think of pillows as a way to add visual interest to a monochromatic sofa, chair or bed. The first photo below shows an assortment of pillows in various sizes, shapes, textures and colors which is one way to make a statement. Or, you can use one really strong pattern as a bold design element, as pictured in the second photograph.
- Add Sculptural Elements – The NYT article says “think like a curator”. Bring an interesting variety of items that differ in size, shape, scale, color, texture, and materials. You can do this with an assortment of objects such as baskets, bowls, candlesticks, vases, etc. The first photo below shows a well curated living room with items such as stools under the console table to the objects on the coffee table to the fireplace with the accessories on the mantel and the sculptural ceiling lighting fixture. When accessorizing bookcases, I look at each one as an arrangement that flows from top to bottom and left to right, creating a path for the eye to travel and rest on unique and interesting pieces. The second photo demonstrates the use of these elements.
- Combine Form and Function – Just because something is functional does not mean it has to lack style! The following photographs illustrate this point. The first is a home office where baskets on the bookshelves provide organizational storage and are stylish at the same time. The basket in the second photograph is a decorative way to provide storage by a fireplace for logs.
- Use Flowers and Greenery to Add a Little Life – Plants, fresh flowers, trees, and succulents are great elements to literally add life and color to a room. I recommend finding arrangements of long-lasting, low maintenance flowers and plants. My thumb is not very green and there are many options for freeze dried flowers, long lasting roses, succulents or plants that need little care.
The last and I think most important suggestion from the NYT article is to bring in more accessories than you need, which is something I always do when I set out to accessorize a home. Be sure to keep the receipts so you can return what you do not use. Have fun with moving the items around the room. Live with things in one spot for a while and then try them in different locations. See what works for you. I also revisit my accessories periodically and can create a fresh look to a room by rearranging things a bit or by updating a few items.
Enjoy more light in your life as we await the rejuvenating power of spring!