By Natalie Weinstein, Allied ASID
I just finished renovating my home. I have purchased furniture and love how it looks. I am struggling with how to accessorize. Can you give me some guidance? – Cheryl
You’re not alone. Most people find it really difficult to add those finishing touches, but they are what give a room personality and turn your furniture into a lovely and gracious home. There are so many elements of good design that go into choosing the appropriate accessory – style, color, size, proximity to other accessories and a sense of balance. It takes time, sometimes trial and error. What looks good in the store may not necessarily have the same effect in your home. So let’s begin. Now that the basic furniture is in the room, look at the wall space and empty spaces in bookcases, display cabinets and on tables, mindful that certain areas need a focal point to unify the furniture setting.
Go shopping at home first! Are there pieces you would like to display that you've always loved or have been in the family for a long time? Do you have a hobby or interest that has made you a “collector"? Perhaps it's old trains or dolls, or pen knives or owls, or photos you've taken of your travels, or posters you've collected from museums. As long as they are presented or framed well, they make excellent accessories.
When shopping for art, go to several galleries and shops or even Uniquely Natalie, our consignment shop that has great art for a faction of their value, as well as an art gallery with great art done by local Long Island artists. Speaking of art, I’m often asked how high to hang artwork. The rule of thumb has been to hang artwork so that it is at eye level when standing, but many designers and professionals prefer to place art slightly above eye level when seated. Generally it is between 8” – 10” above sofas or low units such as consoles, credenzas or tables. This not only enables the art to be viewed more effectively, but creates a cohesive arrangement with the furnishings surrounding it.
So how do you learn to accessorize like the professionals? Short of hiring personal professional help, accessory shops often have trained staff to assist you. Remember, they want to sell what they have, so make sure the final decisions are yours. Look at magazines and take design books out of the library to see how the pros do it. Go to show-houses where many designers do model room settings, as well as model homes, where accessories often “sell” the houses. In short, it takes time, education and patience, but the end result is worth it because the right accessories make all the difference. Don’t rush. The right piece is worth waiting or searching for, and the quest should be fun!