Accessories Never Disappoint….

Accessories...make the room.

By Todd Russell

I get asked about accessories time and time again. What should I put on the bookshelves besides books? What goes on top of the coffee table? How should I dress my entry table? Adding accessories to a room usualyl happens toward the end of the project. It’s my favorite phase of the project. This is where I really get to tell a story about the homeowner.

It’s the finishing touches that finalize the look, much like that sprinkling of parsley on a plate at a restaurant. And smart accessorizing is often the secret weapon that pulls the look together. It’s that pulled together look that makes a room look smart, chic, and unified.

Over the years I have developed a sort of go-to list of accessories. These are the staples in the design world. These staples never disappoint. They look awesome mixed in amongst our personal treasures, while adding warmth, interest and they up the design factor of any room.

These simple tips for choosing, combining and decorating with accessories will pull a room together and help avoid the common mistakes many home dwellers make with their décor.

Choose quality over quantity

Mass produced items are inexpensive and readily available, but is that what you want to fill your home and your life with? When it comes to accessories, less is often more. One SPECIFICALLY chosen, UNIQUE piece may work much better in your space than loads of tiny knick-knacks that have no value beyond price.

Flower Power

Let’s start with one of the most basic accessorizing item; fresh flowers. Dollar for dollar this is the easiest way to perk up your room. Choose a random color to offset your room’s color scheme. Add branches and other back yard finds to add texture and volume.

Mirror, Mirror

A mirror over a large-scale piece like a bed, a sofa or a fireplace creates a great focal point. If you decide to do a set instead make sure the frames are the same color. It really helps unify and create a theme or grouping.

Completely Floored

If you had an entirely empty room except for an amazing rug, you’d still have an awesome space! That’s how important your floor covering choice can be. You can rarely go wrong with a classic Persian, or a crazy-deep statement-making shag. But, don’t ignore the possibility of a fresh pattern or a bold color especially if your walls are neutral and your palette is mellow.

You Light Up My Life

Lamps are practical and necessary. They are also a HUGE accessory opportunity. Dress up your dresser! Using two matching lamps. Add a sparkle to your room by selecting a metallic such as gold, silver, copper or brushed brass.  In pairs they have twice the punch and also can add symmetry to your room. If you are short on table top space consider floor standing lamps. Be very careful not to let the floor lamp overtake the entire room like a giant mobile arching over your seating area. It is best to keep your floor standing lamps stand tall and straight. Avoid lamps with lurching arms or pendants.

Pot Head

Glazed pottery. Balance a collection of like-colored pottery pieces on a mantel or book shelf. Consider asymmetrical arrangements. When arranging accessories, try for balance instead of symmetry, add a group of smaller items in odd numbers, such as in threes or fives. Consider painting the back of your book shelfs a unique color and place a grouping of pottery in a statement color to create interest. Unless you have a library, don’t fill your bookshelves entirely with books. Instead, break the books up with interesting items. Try objects from your travels, mismatched picture frames, or a collection of something you love.

Candle Holders

If you have a collection or want to create a collection candle sticks and holders are wonderful accessories and help create a romantic mood when lit. Display them on a side table, entry table or mantle. Try grouping various heights. They do not all have to match, a well-balanced grouping of different holders also works.

Boxes and Trays

Don’t leave your lotions and potions on your dresser; face cream just doesn’t pass as décor! Instead, keep what you need nearby, but hidden. Snazzy boxes and baskets keep trinkets and treats out of sight. These accessories look great stacked. A tray is such a useful accessory and looks great in lots of places. It can be the perfect solution for creating a surface on an ottoman, where you can put up your feet and display fresh flowers at the same time. Smaller trays also help unify a vignette on a nightstand or end table.


Sculpture offers an opportunity to really personalize a room. Display something that reflects an interest or a hobby. Sculptures can vary from tabletop to floor standing. Be very adventurous your room and guests will thank you.


We’ve all seen homes where dwellers have mistakenly chosen a postage-stamp rug in a coliseum-sized room. And those awkward walls where the too-large piece of art is crammed into a too-small space. Before choosing and/or placing accessories, take the time to study scale and proportion and what fits best in your space. Scale and proportion are what help create a comfortable feeling and doesn’t cost a dime.


Think of accessories as decorations on a cake. Large accessories should be placed first and sparingly, with medium and small-sized accessories filling in and adding balance where needed. Remember several small accessories can give the “feel” of a large item when grouped, but don’t forget to leave some breathing room. Not every nook and cranny in a room needs to be filled.


Below is a very small sampling of home décor items that you can choose from to enhance your home. Remember to mix colors, layers and textures by choosing pieces of different heights, widths, and styles.

  • Pillows, cushions and throws
  • Area rugs
  • Lighting, such as floor, table, wall mounted, and chandeliers
  • Candleholders and candlesticks
  • Baskets and bins
  • Trays and boxes
  • Vases and pottery
  • Books, magazines and bookends
  • Natural elements such as flowers, seashells, twigs and pinecones
  • Mirrors, art and photos
  • Sculpture


Now it will be even easier to surround yourself in beautiful home décor.

Be sure to shop my new home collection at Blue Dot Home Market .

Design is everything.




About the Author:

russell-todd-3638Todd Russell is a professional Interior Designer with over 20 years

experience in helping couples create unique living spaces.

He can be found on his Facebook page Blue Dot Interiors and Blue Dot Home Market.