Accessories have always given me decorating anxiety. I walk through Pottery Barn, or Z Gallerie, and those places are just chaulked to the brim with eye candy, beautifully styled and displayed. My brain immediately goes into total overload and creative shutdown. What is my problem? As someone who considers myself to be more creative than average, how can these places sometimes make me feel completely uninspired? I get the same feeling on occasion from Pinterest, Houzz, and my blog list. Sometimes, I just need a creative....breakup! Not long, mind you! Just a day or two to regroup, and figure out again what makes my decorating personality so very ME.
Take Z Gallerie's home page.
Fresh for 2012. Green. And Black and White. Where is Pantone's Tangerine Tango? Beautiful accessories, tastefully arranged and composed. Could I do this? Heck, no. Do I love the colour scheme? Not really. Do I like this picture? Absolutely. The Result: Accessory overload and total confusion. This has resulted in many an empty handed shopping trip, and a very frustrated and insecure Lynette. So, what on earth do I put in my house? How do I navigate the sea of eye candy to figure our My style, My Decorography? Specifically, how do I learn to accessorize like a pro?
Honestly, I have no idea. Some might say I have the "knack", that innate ability to place an antique teacup next to a set of spray-painted deer antlers and somehow make it look chic. I would definitely argue otherwise. Accessorizing is not my strong suit at all, but I do have a few tricks that help me "fake it" when I can.
1. When in doubt, go with Symmetry.
It's pretty hard to get it completely wrong when everything looks symmetrical. I, personally, love symmetry. I find it very restful to the eye. Take my Christmas mantel. I was having trouble figuring out what to do this year. I knew I wanted burlap trees on either end, with a modern ornament tree taking center stage. I got stumped with the "in between bits". Different? The same? A collection of something on one side, a vase on the other? I was totally stuck. So, down came a couple plates from my cupboard, and voila....symmetry. And, a not so bad mantel.
2. Group items in multiples.
Threes or fives are almost always better that twos or fours. Why is that? I think we want to organize objects into groups when we look at a vignette. Two is not a group. Four is, but without the odd number, starts to take on the "4 little ducks sitting in a row" mentality. It's a tricky thing, that's why it's usually better to stick to this tried and true decorating rule.
3. Don't mix your metals.
Can you mix them and make it look gorgeous? Absolutely. But, that takes a lot of skill. I think it's so much easier to pick antique silver, or chrome, or hand rubbed bronze, and go with it. You'll need to add in other materials, like glass, to make it interesting. But, you won't end up looking like all your "extra" accessories just landed on your console table.
4. Vary heights - Tall medium, and short.
I LOVE this one. Nothing says dramatic more than a gorgeous vase filled with tall branches. But, put three together, or a vase with branches next to an equally tall finial, and a lamp, and all of a sudden things look confusing. There's nowhere for the eye to rest, and the beautiful centerpiece loses it's impact. That's why they sell those candlesticks in small, medium, and large, people!
5. Texture Texture Texture
Nothing looks worse than a bunch of glass or metal objects sitting on a table, with nothing to balance out all that hardness. I start to feel like a bull in a china shop, afraid to touch anything. A group of glass next to a potted plant, and a woven basket or tray starts to soften things up. Use a mixture of materials and you will create a much more visually appealing display.
6. Corral objects together
Place items, alike or not, into baskets, trays, or bowls. Sometimes putting things that do not relate to each other on a tray can create order and meaning. It can also add some weight to objects that might otherwise have a tough time filling out the tabletop.
7. Go with your Gut
This really is a tough one. It's so easy to be swayed by the latest trends, colours, accessories. But, when you lay your eyes on something, you usually know whether you like it. Don't lie to yourself and force yourself to like it because it's on the cover of your favorite home decor mag. Who cares, really. It's your home, and YOU have to love it. Buck the trend. Stick with aqua, or terracotta, even if it's not En Vogue today. Just give trends a chance first. Do your online research, peruse the stores, and let those things sink in. If you're not feeling it after a week or so, you will have affirmed your gut was right all along. My experience with this has lead me back to my gut decision 99% of the time.
8. Break the rules (including these!)
I can come up with beautiful examples that embody the complete opposite of everything I have just said above. This goes back to # 7. If YOU like it, it is perfect.
Now, if only I could just listen to my own advice!