Accessories encompass a large range of items, from cushions to lamps, vases, candles, sculptural objects and beyond. They are the small elements which give insight into the occupant of the home. What colours and styles do they like? Where have they travelled and what interests them? They can be fashion items which are easily changed as the season’s pass, or they can be carefully collected over years and years. Even if you reside in a completely minimal home, a few curated objects will complete the space. Below are some of our tips for sourcing and arranging accessories at home.
Find a common thread
If selecting accessories makes you a bit nervous, try to find a theme, a colour or style that interest you. For example, if you love a Hamptons style home, collect accessories with a natural colour palette with hints of blue. Add items made from rope, polished stones, baskets, lanterns and white-washed timber vessels. If you have some existing accessories, ask yourself what you love about them. Is it the pattern? Is it the fact that it’s on-trend/ contemporary/ rustic? This will give you hints as to what aesthetically interests you and sets a palette. Pinterest is a great source of inspiration too. Finding a “goal” image is a good starting place to build on your home- with touches of your own personality too of course!
Objects with meaning
Some of the most successful homes are filled with objects that mean something to the occupant. They tell stories of their life, their travels, interests and, family. They may not be the newest, the shiniest or the trendiest pieces, but they move beyond this. These items may consist of gifts, photos, inherited pieces, travel mementos and special items purchased to celebrate an important time. Try not to hide these things in cupboards and bring them out for all to see. Mix store-bought pieces with something your child made, a collection of pinecones or an inexpensive piece bought in a marketplace on the other side of the world.
There is much beauty to be found in nature, that doesn’t have to cost a thing. A beautiful bowl filled with river pebbles is a gorgeous, tactile arrangement. Or large leaves and stems brought in from the garden to fill a simple glass vase. Elements of nature add depth, colour and texture to a space and can be changed easily and without a visit to a homewares store. Fruit and vegetables also work well in kitchens and meal areas. Pops of colour through citrus fruits or a pile of green apples. Wintery displays of pumpkins on a kitchen bench is an edible delight too.
If you feel accessories are unnecessary or ostentatious, try to find objects which are beautiful but practical too. There are great utensils, desk items, and bathroom objects which make for beautiful displays but can also be used each day. Baskets for books, candles for their scent and interesting books are also props which can not only look great but have an important use as well.
Groups of three
There is something magical about the number three. Try it yourself with an arrangement of three objects on your coffee table or bedside. A tray on a coffee table, for example, looks complete when layered with two other items, such as a thick, hard covered book and a poesy of flowers. Or three cushions on a sofa. It just feels “right”. On hall console, try a lamp, a vase and a small, low dish. In a bathroom, a gorgeous soap, a timber brush and a shell or piece of coral group together nicely. If you’re more of a maximalist, keep with the odd numbers, five being another excellent combination.
Contrast for maximum impact
When grouping accessories, try not to be too coordinated. Don’t be afraid to combine different textures, shapes and colours. Materiality matters too. Try layering objects made from varying materials, such as timber, marble and leather. Or, glass, ceramics and timber. This allows for each individual item to be observed on its own merit, standing out from one another. With this said, there can be beauty found in arrangements of similar items, such as a collection of candlesticks or trinket boxes. Even here though, various heights, shapes and sizes will add the final touch within the vignette.