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Monday, April 9, 2007

Answer Day: Accessories

Today is answer day, and I have had several requests by people for me to talk about how to use accessories in a room. Accessories are basically the bits and pieces that you use around a room that add texture and color to a space, whether they be frames, or lamps or collectibles. I think that they play a very important part in design, because you can use them to tell a story; maybe its a group of souvenirs from your dream vacation, or series of family photographs that tell your family story, they all come together to tell the story of your choosing. The images above are from a show house that I did several years ago, and the problem for a designer in a lot of these cases is that since there is no client, there is no story to tell. So I used more items than I normally would to create a fictitious history full of drama and intrigue.
Here are some ideas for displaying accessories for maximum impact:
  • Try creating groups, that have some relationship to each other, for instance, all the pictures of your grandparents together in one area, your children's pictures in another.
  • I like groups of odd numbers, three, five or seven, seems to work well.
  • When creating groupings, try to vary the height a little bit, it will make it much more interesting to the eye, you can see that I used books in some places to create a lift.
  • Don't be afraid of the floor, you will notice that I have used stacks of books on the floor, or other heavier accessories, it grounds the work and gives a more substantial feeling.
  • Don't be afraid to layer, I had an old tapestry that was pretty worn, not great on the floor or as a hanging by itself, but looked terrific with a mirror in front of it, creating a very luxurious look.
  • Don't be afraid to mix periods, I like to juxtapose elements, such as a modern lamp against an old relic, I feel that the tension you create, makes each of the pieces more interesting in their own right.
  • Only use elements that have some meaning to you, don't buy things just because you want to fill the space, the end result will be hollow and non personal. Take your time and let your collection grow slowly and over time.
  • Just because you own it, you don't have to use it. If you have a lot of things that you want to display, why not create a rotating collection? A summer and a winter!

Happy Displaying!

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