By Corey Damen Jenkins for Bellacor.com
As the old adage goes, sometimes you can have too much of a good thing. For example, you could have too much seasoning on an otherwise perfectly grilled steak. Perhaps we have way too much cologne on and our friends want to silently kill us. Or maybe we’re catching every single red light on our way to work—and we arrive safely but very, very late.
In like manner, when it comes to decorating, it’s pretty easy to either overdo things or—worse yet—not do enough. This is especially the case when it comes to accessorizing. You can have the most beautifully furnished space ever, but the level of accessorizing can either make it or break it. Accessorizing a space properly is an art. Like a layered cooking recipe, it involves many key ingredients working in concert together: scale, light, texture, color value and of course, placement. An appropriately accessorized space doesn’t look staged per se, but rather, it looks natural, inconsequential and perfectly imperfect. So how do you know when you’ve accessorized too much or not enough? Here are five pointers to keep in mind:
1.) Editing Power: When it comes to decorating with artwork, knick knacks or other items you are essentially telling a visual story. And like every good book or newspaper article, your accessorizing story will benefit from some judicious editing. So after laying out all of your pieces in your original desired format, take a step back and see what fits and what offends. A natural process of elimination should take place: it may be that only once piece has got to go. Or perhaps a few need to take their leave. But if you take nothing away at all, that could be a sign that you have done too much or not enough. Editing an accessorized surface is an earmark of tailored couture design.
2.) It’s Okay To Pile It On: Some design enthusiasts believe that any surface should only have 3 items or less on it. To an extent, that general rule is fine to abide by. However, there are exceptions to consider. For example, one of my favorite clients has a staggering collection of clocks. There were literally dozens of them—in every shape, size and finish you can think of. We decided to litter a center hall table with a portion of his collection and it was a great visual introduction for his guests; it gave them insight to his personal affinity and taste. So don’t be afraid to use more than three items—just make sure that whatever you use has visual harmony, even if the objects are disparate. Which brings us to point No. 3…
3.) Embrace Variety: The most interesting accessory displays often feature items that are completely different from each other. Mixing layered artwork on stands, a clay bust, a stack of books and perhaps some sort of floral or green life can be quite stunning when combined together on a sofa end table. In contrast, grouping the same type of object in varying heights and sizes can tell a handsome story as well. For instance, a collection of apothecary jars of assorted sizes filled with seashells can make quite an impact.
4.) Less Can Be More: Sometimes sparse accessorizing is the best way to furnish a space. This is especially the case in modern rooms where the greatest appeal of the design is found in the sheer absence of fussiness. Just one over-sized piece of sculpture on a center hall table may pack more visual “Pow! Factor” than a bunch of smaller pieces. By the way, pay particular attention to how you light these items: the right ambiance can make them sing.
5.) Know When To Stop: In traditional design, layers of accessories are celebrated. We call it “pretty clutter”. But it’s crucial to realize that sometimes enough is enough. To illustrate: let’s say you’ve collected 7 dozen pieces of blue and white china. Naturally you want to show them off. However, it may be impossible to cram all of them into one desired area without compromising the entire look. So perhaps some of those china pieces need to stay behind in storage; they can be rotated out in the future. Remember, good accessorizing looks effortless, so if it looks like you’re trying too hard, chances are you may be.
Accessorizing a space can seem daunting, but it should be fun! It can give you an opportunity to play around with objects that mean something to you or your loved ones. It’s sort of like a jig-saw puzzle—but with myriads of different outcomes and possibilities. So take your time with exploring them and enjoy! Continue reading