Having a blog is a funny old thing. It means I can look waaaay back on how I used to style spaces and surfaces and take stock of how far I’ve come in making a room look complete. I was pretty clueless, let’s be honest and some of my earliest attempts at styling were pretty shocking. But ya know, if you don’t try, you don’t learn and so it meant that over the years, I have tried and failed and tried and failed far too many times to mention.

It also means I learned and improved and now, 7 or 8 years on, styling spaces and surfaces is probably one of my favourite things to do. Giving a room the finishing touches adds a bit of personality and makes it look more complete. And I’ve realised over the years, that I tend to reach for the same things again and again when I’m styling any space – from the bedroom to the bathroom, the kitchen to the living room. It may not be the same exact pieces, of course, but these are the items that I know I can make work pretty much anywhere.

7 Must Have Items for Styling Any Space

Now, over the years, I’ve probably collected enough accessories to kit out a couple houses but I’ve been better about letting go the items that no longer speak to me and my style. And I’m getting ready to pull together another box of things for the charity shop! But I wanted to share what I think pretty much work everywhere, no matter what your style or your budget, these are the items I consistently reach for any time I want to give my space a bit of added oomph!

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Must-Have Accessory #1: Plants

bathroom with lots of plants

I do love a good plant and that’s no secret to anyone. For my bathroom refresh, one of the main items I brought into the space was plants. They are pretty inexpensive in the grand scheme of things and they always, always make a space look more lived in and loved. The organic shape softens the harder lines – especially in a place like a kitchen or a bathroom – and that burst of colour gives it a little energy and life without overwhelming the sense.

bedroom with wall mural in black white pink and gold

Now, I’m a lover of real plants but I wouldn’t necessarily say I have the brightest of green thumbs! I do better now and somehow I’ve managed to keep my fiddle leaf fig tree alive and thriving for years now. But I pretty much always have a few fatalities over the winter months so I’m a big proponent of throwing in a few fauxs there as well. There are some amazing ones on the market now that look incredibly realistic and while they may be a bit more of investment, they will literally last you for years and years.

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Must-Have Accessory #2: Books

Coffee table styling with fresh flowers and gold accents

I have a rather embarrassingly large collection of coffee table style interior design books but I really love using them in my styling. Whether they are piled up in a stack on my coffee table, adding some height to a shelving unit or lined up between beautiful bookends, they do add some beauty to a room. I also love the fact that they tell a little bit about the story of you.

styled gold shelving unit with marble gold and pink accessories

Whatever your interests or hobbies may be, your books will be a little peek into your personality so bringing them into your rooms does the same thing. We also have books on astronomy, art, ceramics, gardening and travel and all these items are reflections of the people who live in my home – namely, Wayne and I! So, what are you into? Get your books to do double duty – tell your story and refine your space. I’ve linked to some of my favourites below!

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Must-Have Accessory #3: Trays

vintage bar cart styling with plants

Can you ever have too many trays? I don’t think you can. I use them everywhere – from corralling glasses on my bar cart to grouping items on surfaces, the tray is always a welcome accessory in my home. Use them on your coffee table alongside a few other must-have accessories for the perfect grouping or place on an upholstered footstool for an instant spot to place your drink.

chest of drawers detail

They’ll make any collection of items look a lot more purposeful rather than just a bunch of random stuff that looks like it hasn’t been put away yet. I like a bit of contrast too – so a round tray on a square surface or a square tray on a round one. That little bit of tension is always a nice extra layer. Oh and try to stay away from the melamine trays unless the design is exceptional – I think wood, metal and glass will give your accessories a more luxurious look.

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Must-Have Accessory #4: Small Pieces of Art

bedside table in black and gold with pink bed and wall mural

While I tend to favour large pieces of art to fill up a wall, smaller framed prints can be a great way to add some colour and punch when it comes to styling your spaces.

black console table styling with gold accents

shelving unit styling tips

You can use them to lean up against the back of a shelf or sideboard to add height and layer in front of it or hang it up in close proximity to a surface to ground the piece and allow your eye to move up and across the space.

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Must-Have Accessory #5: Candles

styled mantle with shelving behind including Neom candle

I think scent is something a lot of people forget about when it comes to decorating your space. For me, a gorgeous-smelling candle will set the mood as soon as you walk through the door. Of course, what you love will be incredibly subjective but I’ve learned over the years that spending a little more money on a great-smelling candle means that you don’t even have to light it to enjoy the fragrance. In the evenings, lighting the candles is almost a ritual for me. I dim the lights, get a few of them going in the room and make sure I have at least one that smells incredible.

Ted Baker Home Fragrance

Of course, I’m also rather taken by candle with a beautiful vessel – and there are plenty of them out there. I’ve had my Tom Dixon Orientalist 3-wick candle for a couple of years now. Once the candle itself is finished, I clean it out, re-fill it with unscented wax and it’s as though it’s new again so I can continue to enjoy it. I always keep my spent candles (the pretty ones anyway) for this purpose. You can see how I make candles here (just leave out the fragrance) so I can always have multiple ones going in a room without the fragrances fighting one another.

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Must-Have Accessory #6: Flowers

fresh flowers on dining room table

Real or faux, I can’t get enough of flowers. I use them pretty much everywhere. While I do regularly splurge on fresh flowers (yes, I buy them for myself – no shame at all!), it can get pretty pricey. So I always have fauxs around the house to give my rooms a little bit of extra love.

vanity styling with pink walls and peonies

The nice thing about faux flowers is that I’ve found good quality ones in lots of different places. You want to stay away from the ones that look really plastic-y of course and try to remember their seasonality to make them look the most authentic depending on when you are using them. My favourites are roses, peonies, hydrangea and ranunculus but of course, what you want in your own home is totally up to you.

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Must-Have Accessory #7: Vases

Shelf styling in makeup vanity room

And finally, I adore a good vase. I have far too many to be in use at all times but if you have some beautiful ones, then don’t be afraid of using them in your styling even if they are empty. They come into their own when they are grouped with other objects, adding some height to allow you to layer smaller items in front of them.

I tend to choose ones in more neutral shades of black, browns and glass but of course, if you are a lover of colour, then you can always make a statement with something that’s a bit bolder. I’m a bit obsessed with fish-bowl style ones at the moment but in my arsenal of styling accessories are everything from tall tortoiseshell ones to glossy black, animal prints and marble. I’ve chosen some of my current favourites below.

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So those are 7 accessories that I always, always use in my styling. How many of these are in your home and do you have any particular pieces that you always reach for? I’d love to hear from you!


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