I had a friend recently remark after my ‘purple to mink’ living room makeover that my accessories seem to go well no matter what colour the walls are. After thinking about this for a while, I came to realise that there are a few very specific reasons for why that is the case and I figured I’d take the opportunity to share my thoughts about it on the blog.
Now, I’m a bit obsessed with decorative accessories – little candles and bowls, vases, trays, cushions, throws, plant pots, coffee table books – the list goes on. If I see something I love, I often will simply purchase it even if I don’t have a specific place in mind that it’s going to go. I so often swap things about from room to room, that I tend to pick up things off the cuff and I’ve developed a bit of a sub-conscious system that means I don’t tend to purchase things that I regret. I will just know immediately that it’s going to work no matter where I put it.
Stick with a Cohesive Colour Scheme
If you look at all my various accessories, one reason for this is that they pretty much fall into the same colour scheme: white, black, gold, neutral or pink/peach. I tend to find myself drawn to a few different patterns as well – leopard print has been a favourite forever but also marble or dalmatian print, all of which fall into that neutral territory.
So when looking to add accessories to your home, stick with neutrals or tonal colours that you love and those that are repeated throughout your home. If you’re not sure what these are for yourself, have a look around your rooms and pay attention to the colours, textures or finishes that you see over and over again. I reckon you’ll find that you’re drawn to similar items and colours – use these as cues to curate and expand your collection.
Purchase With Your Entire Home in Mind
I reckon a lot of people plan their accessories per room rather than think of their entire house as a whole but curating a collection that works really well all together or apart in any room in your home has its benefits. One of those is that by sticking with a curated selection of objects, it’s really easy to then mix and match them in nearly any room when you’re in need of a little refresh. Or, when the seasons change and you’re looking to update your space, stash them away for a bit. When you bring them back out, it’ll feel a bit like they are new again.
I end up reaching again and again for the same kinds of finishes, colours and textures so they will easily marry with pretty much any room I put them into. The same will go with good quality rugs. I pretty much only have cowhide due to my animals seemingly wanting to destroy every wool one I’ve tried to use and they are all white, black or brown! Framed art prints are another area where a cohesive collection can give you that added flexibility. I have quite a few pieces that are all within a similar colour theme which create a cohesive collection that can easily be moved about.
Neutrals Are The Building Blocks To Your Collection
Textiles work much the same way. You might want to consider investing in a few nice sets of bedding or a small collection of cushions that work with your own style within a tight palette of colours. I’m more inclined to look out for things that are more neutral but which have great details – a bit of embroidery, some fringing or tufting, maybe something in a gorgeous fabric like velvet or knit – things that add interest but still work with lots of different colours.
With these kinds of textiles, it’s really easy to pull them out of storage and bring them back into your home even if you’ve done some redecorating in the meantime or when you’re looking to do a little refresh. I edited my cushion stash just before we moved and donated or gave away anything that I’d fallen out of love with but I kept those items that were good for building on, the stuff that added a bit of texture or interest or pattern but weren’t necessarily statement-making. They are great building blocks to a well-decorated room.
Vary the Sizes and Shapes for Interest
One other thing I wanted to mention about accessories because it’s not just the colour or texture. A mistake I made a few years ago as I was building up my accessories was that I kept buying little accessories and by that I mean on a physical scale – they were small. I suppose that’s probably because small things often mean that they are less expensive too. However, it meant that I didn’t have enough larger/taller things to use in my styling. So now, I try to find things in all different sizes – big things, small things, things I can layer with, tall items, short squat items – you get the idea. You don’t want to fall into the trap that I did with 20 tiny bits but no way to style them appropriately. Make sure you are collecting items in all different sizes and shapes.
Think Seasonally and Edit Regularly
Consider as well having a few seasonal items that can be put away and brought back out year on year so that your home is constantly evolving and feeling fresh without a huge investment. It’s a bit like Christmas – I certainly don’t buy all new decorations every year (many of mine are years and years old) but I do add a few bits and pieces to my collection most years so that I have a nice choice of items that are constantly in rotation. And that’s something you might want to think about doing in your own home too.
Chunky knits, wool, faux fur are all perfect for the cooler months while linen, cotton, unlined curtains and the like are perfect for the summer months. Deeper and richer colours work beautifully in the autumn with pastels feeling right at home in Spring and Summer. I also rotate my faux flowers throughout the year with hydrangea and greenery in cooler months and peonies and roses for summer months. Of course, faux greenery can work pretty much all year round.
And don’t forget to regularly edit your collection. If there are things that you don’t love but just fill up space, then consider donating or selling them to make room and money to purchase things you actually love and want to use again and again.
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A Few of My Favourites
If you’re looking to curate a collection of accessories, I figured I’d link to some of my favourites above but don’t think you have to buy a bunch of new things. Look at what you already have – if you buy what you love (and not just what’s on trend), you probably find you already have a bit of a theme going. Struggling? Pull every accessory you own off your shelves, from your coffee table or mantle or on your bedside tables. Sometimes it’s good to see it all in front of you and then you’ll know where the gaps in your collection are or what to look out for or what’s incongruous and needs to go.
And one other thing if you do find you have some gaps in your own collection: you certainly don’t have to buy new! Check charity shops, Facebook selling groups and eBay. They are fantastic places to pick up interesting and unusual pieces as well as books at a great price. Just make sure they work with what you already own and so you can develop your own cohesive collection going forward.
I hope these tips helped but I’d love to know how you shop for accessories! Do you consider your collection as a whole or do you tend to simply buy items for each room as you go? Let me know in the comments below!