New designer mentor at Decor Mentor and principal of Kahn Design Group, Lisa Kahn spills more of her trade secrets on the importance and impact of styling a space with accessories.
As was mentioned in part one of this article, accessorizing a room is an often overlooked step in completing the design of a space. Knowing that the right choices of artwork, lamps, decorative items and objets d’art can literally make or break the final design of a room, we look at three more basic principles that can help you successfully and graciously appoint your space with finishing touches.
1. Sparkle: It never hurts to add an item that gives a room a touch of sparkle. I am not suggesting that you utilize crystal-encrusted accessories to achieve an elusive touch of “bling” — this effect can be tastefully obtained simply by adding a slim metal floor lamp near a chair and ottoman or a well-chosen mirror on a wall. These flourishes, while small, can make all the difference, adding dimension and a touch of eye-catching loveliness.
In this living room we added a pretty, antique, sunburst mirror next to a large cast stone fireplace for a touch of sparkle and shine. It added light and reflection to an otherwise dark corner of the room.
2. Personalize: Don’t hesitate to add items that personalize your environment. This can be as simple as a collection of antique postcards framed on your wall or vintage evening bags displayed in a grouping on the wall outside your closet. Things from your past, heirloom pieces from your family, a fabulous find from your local antique or thrift store — they all qualify as long as you love them and that somehow, they speak to you. Do not however, feel compelled to display every single gift you have ever been given. An easy to reach closet or cupboard can serve nicely to store gifts that need to be put on display when a certain family member or friend comes to visit.
In this sitting room we utilized a pair of old wing chairs from a client’s beloved grandmother and recovered them with a beautiful, tropical, bird print on linen and hung a painting that was a gift from her parents over the fireplace. She wanted to feel “at home” in the new house she and her husband were building and we helped her achieve this feeling by showcasing pieces that were near and dear to her heart.
3. Don’t Overdo: Coco Chanel was once quoted as saying (and I am paraphrasing) that a person should take away one accessory from every outfit when getting dressed. Accessorizing a room utilizes exactly the same principles as accessorizing an outfit. Overdone is just not attractive. If every surface in a room is filled with decorative items, it can feel cluttered and the overall effect will actually detract from the truly beautiful things that you want to feature. Err on the side of restraint and make sure you are leaving room for everyday living in your space — glasses of water on a bedside table, fresh flowers on a hall chest.
In this bedroom we appointed the bedside chest simply and elegantly with a pair of onyx lamps and a small floral arrangement. Nothing more was needed to achieve a pretty, coordinated look.
Adding the finishing touches to a room should be fun and satisfying. Using the six concepts laid out in our two-part article, you now have the basic recipe for success. We will explore some additional ideas, like whimsy, in a follow-up article next month. Stay tuned and happy accessorizing!
Do you want to hire Lisa Kahn for your design project? Kahn Design Group is a full service interior design firm.
You can also find a full list of all our global mentors [ who are top professional interior designers ] on our Mentors Page.