Styling, The Final Chapter

Jennifer Brouwer, principal of Jennifer Brouwer Design shares the inside scoop on styling interiors. >>>

Quote of the Day:

“The final judge in decorating, as any wise decorator knows, is not the “logic of the mind, but the logic of the eye.”  – Billy Baldwin -

What are accessories, and do you really need them to complete the look of your home?

In a word, YES!  Accessories are the finishing touches of color, texture and shape that impact your decor.  Their role they play is important. They reflect your style philosophy and pull your other décor selections together to create groupings that make design sense.

To fully appreciate the impact accessories make, let’s consider other examples of things that require a “finishing touch”.  Can you picture:

- a cake without its frosting?

- a gift without the wrapping?

-or, a little black dress without the right jewelry?

Of course not!  There’s a reason for the phrase “the devil is in the details”.

When starting the design process, it’s important to set aside a portion of your budget specifically for these elements. An issue that I encountered often occurs when someone goes all out planning and selecting only the major pieces early on in the process, only to run out of steam (and finances) to fully complete the space!  Accounting for accessories from the very beginning will ensure you to stay on track along the way.

Great accessorizing, just like the décor process itself, should follow some specific steps.  It’s really about layering.  Just as you put on the dress before the shoes, or wrap the gift before attaching the card, ensure that all renovations and core selections like paint, lighting fixtures and flooring have been completed and installed.

Next, review your space, furnishings and drapery, and consider where you may need a little extra something.  Accent furnishings such as side tables, task lighting (lamps), sofa cushions and artwork are what I consider to be functional accessories.  Browse for items that are fun, fresh and work with your style.  They can be bold or subtle, but must always work with the palette of the room.

Refer to your floor plan, and be mindful of access points like doorways and traffic flow when selecting accessories.  ‘More’ is not always ‘better’ – you don’t want to feel as though you’re navigating an obstacle course just to enter a room! Consider how you would like your space to function by asking yourself questions like: ‘will this room be conducive to a sitting area as well as an entertaining area from time to time?’ and ‘how many people would I like to seat comfortably here?’ Accessorize according to these tips and you are she to have a beautifully appointed space.

And the last, but definitely not the least layer in the cake of design: the final accessories.  These are the items that transform “a” space into “your” space!  Think family photos, mementos, even a place setting of Grandma’s fine china.  While these items may seem random or insignificant on their own, properly showcasing them can make their personality ‘pop’ and your space come alive.

A professional can help with selecting and styling your accessories to achieve the maximum impact.  I often work to incorporate a client’s own personal items into a particular space, perhaps by creating a grouping with similar objects and colours.  I’ve also used accessories to help define an area – introducing an ottoman or bench seating near the front door to define a foyer, or a sofa table and lamps to visually separate a living room from a dining room.

The best way to accomplish your design goals is by treating each phase of the decorating process equally.  Accessories cannot be overlooked or treated as an after thought – they truly can make or break the look and feel of your home.


Jennifer Brouwer Interior Design, author of this feature, is a full service Interior Design firm in Markham, Ontario. Jennifer would love to talk to you about designing and managing a renovation for you.

You can also find a full list of all our global mentors [ who are top professional interior designers ] on our Mentors Page.


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4 Responses to “Styling, The Final Chapter”

  1. Lisa Kahn Says:

    Nice article Jenn! :)


  2. Danielle Says:

    I love that blue- gray color ! May I ask you what (color-company)it is ?
    Thank you for the article !


  3. Interior Design Calgary Says:

    Fantastic design and article!


  4. Shamika Bettes Says:

    Good information here. I love how anything can be googled, and there’s the information!


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