I think half the fun of decorating around my house is changing things up, using the pieces I already have. I love moving things from one room to another and seeing how they work in a different spot. And, I’m lucky enough to have a walk-in attic where I can easily access my “stash” of lamps, art, and other accessories.
I was helping a friend several months ago do a little rearranging and kept asking her if she had this or that. She mentioned that she didn’t have many accessories because she just didn’t know what to buy. It occurred to me that some of you might be in the same boat. While there’s a lot of trendy options, I do feel like there are several key pieces that are worth the investment, or at least the time it takes you to shop for them.
I really don’t buy new accessories all that often. I find that I’ve got a pretty good collection of things now that feel like “me” and can be moved around from room to room or changed up with the season. I also think that as you find your style over time, you’ll start to naturally migrate to certain pieces. But, if you’re still struggling with what to add to your home, I thought I’d share my top 10 home accessories for layering and rotating around to different spots in your house:
1. A pair of lamps (that aren’t buffet style). I find that a good pair of lamps with a substantial base and simple drum shades will work just about anywhere. I’m partial to glass or something neutral (white or a metal like brass). And, while tall buffet lamps work in some places (like buffets!), most rooms can use the visual weight of a bulkier lamp. I almost always buy lamps in pairs so they can moved around together or split apart to use in different places.
2. Glass vessels in different sizes. Glass is such a versatile accessory and adds some texture. I’ve found several big glass bottles at thrift stores, and the glass vase below came from TJMaxx. Glass objects look great grouped together (that’s what’s happening on my mantel now) or standing alone. And, it’s easy to put a branch of something green in it—or not. I also always keep an eye out for glass cloches (domes) in different sizes.
3. A (big) round mirror. Mirrors, in general, are great for opening up a space, but I find that a good round mirror can work in so many different places—over a mantel, above a buffet, over a sofa. Round shapes are good for softening harder lines in a space. In our last dining room, I even stacked smaller prints around a large round mirror. And, you know I’m always partial to a big sunburst mirror, which totally counts as round in my book.
4. Several decorative objects for layering. Call them knick-knacks, collections or whatever you will, but I think you need a few objects that can be used and layered in different ways. I’m partial to milk glass and my blue and white accessories at the moment. I also like to use textured objects like driftwood or pretty bowls. It’s always good to have several of the same type of objects for grouping. (And, there’s always my favorite trick of buying several objects at Goodwill or garage sales and spraying them all one color for an instant “collection.”) I always say that having a few bigger pieces of something is better than lots of little pieces to prevent visual clutter.
5. Garden stools. I’m still a big fan of the ceramic garden stool. I think they’re versatile and make the best little tables for tucking between chairs, under a console table or even under another accent table (like this). And, they’re easy to spray paint if you want to change up the color. (I’ve found all of mine at discount stores like Big Lots, Ross and Marshalls.)
6. Books. Not everybody considers them an “accessory” (more on that here), but I think they’re beautiful, full of character and can add instant personality to your room. I went to my local Habitat ReStore’s book sale a couple of years ago and filled my cart with colorful spines, pretty covers and clever titles. Someday, I might even read one of them. I think books are great for “filling in” hard-to-decorate spots.
7. A colorful or patterned throw. The right throw can be a really versatile piece for folding over the back of a lackluster chair or sofa. Or, drape one over a headboard, the foot of the bed, or a dining bench to add instant pattern that can be easily removed and washed. My favorite is the $20 black and white striped one from IKEA. I’ve used it in lots of different places around our house.
8. A pair (or two or three. . .) of bigger pillows with down inserts. Pillows give a room new life, don’t you think? When in doubt, go bigger rather than smaller for your sofa. I think 22”-24” pillows look best, and I put in a down insert that’s an inch or two bigger than the pillow cover so they’ll look really full.
9. A few pieces of framed art. You know I don’t think it has to be pricey or even professional, but it’s good to have a few pieces of art that you love, for whatever reason. It’s what makes your home feel personal, and maybe more colorful. . .
10. Woven baskets. I’m a basket addict because they’re textural and functional. I use them for toys, magazines, blankets, toilet paper, etc., and have one in just about every room. And, if I get tired of them, they can always be tucked away in a closet for more storage, or I could spray paint them for a new look.
I hope this helps as a shopping guide next time you’re out and about. Anything else you would add to this list?