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Living Space: Accessorize your home like a pro

July 7, 2011 at 2:07 a.m.

Accessorizing can often make the difference in a room that looks good and one that looks fabulous. Using an asymmetrical arrangement, like on the bedside table, is a designer trick that works every time.


Model homes and furniture stores know this fact: Accessories make the room. It's the finishing touch that finalizes the look, much like that dusting of parsley on a plate at a restaurant. And smart accessorizing is often the secret weapon that makes the sale.

It's that pulled-together look that makes a room look smart, chic and unified. Although designers know how to do it, many homeowners don't. However, there are some rules and secrets to smart accessorizing that can help you pull your rooms together, but that look effortless.

The first step to accessorizing well is to clear out a room. Take everything off the mantle, bookshelves and tops of tables, including lamps. With a clear palette, you can see where you need to add or change items. It also helps you to see the room more clearly and what it needs without having any of your accessories distracting you.


Place all the removed items on a dining room table where you can see them as a group. Seeing them together will help you to determine whether there is a continuity of design and whether they look right together. Next, start making groupings, such as you would on a side table. Work on one table or bookshelf at a time.

When you stand back to look at your groupings, you'll begin to see items that you're missing or that you have too many of one type or size of item. Once you do, you'll be able to see what accents you need, such as something tall or substantial. Or, you might notice that there is no continuity and that everything is mismatched and there's no cohesion.


If you like a particular style or look, take a photo out of a design magazine to your favorite home decorating store and use that for your shopping list. Pick up items that mimic the ones in the magazine and will help you recreate the look at home.

You'll also want to pick up items that are missing from your arrangements. Be sure to look for one or two pieces that will be able to occupy a space all by themselves, such as a large art glass bowl - so it's important if you have a large or open concept home where size is exaggerated.

These are often reasonably priced and command attention more than a conglomeration of small things that quickly look cluttered.

If you don't have any continuity of your design, try buying several accessories in a similar theme but in varying sizes that can be grouped together. This is a designer trick that works without fail.


Back home, fill in the vignettes with the missing items you picked up earlier. Try to create small scenes with an asymmetrical shape.

The asymmetry can lean either left or right, but it's a pleasing effect to the eye.

Don't forget the small touches either. A simple book with a small figure on top looks terrific.

Now, it's time to move your accessories into to your room. Work at creating balance in your accents, such as placing a round item with squares versus all round shapes together. Add some nice greenery touches and you're all set.

Kathryn Weber is a home and decorating columnist and publishes the Red Lotus Letter feng shui E-zine. For more information, contact Weber through her website,



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