Home decor is an essential part of creating a warm, welcoming environment. When you are redesigning or remodeling your home, the right accessories can add character and vibrancy to the space and create a cohesive look.
As with most design choices, the key to choosing accessories for your home is striking the right balance. Here are some tips for achieving a designer's look by adding decorative accessories to your home.
Quality is always more important than quantity
One of the most important aspects of decorating is choosing pieces that are going to last. The key to having a well-decorated home is knowing how to choose quality over quantity. It's better for both your budget and your space.
There are many accessories available in the marketplace that provide a quick fix for your home's decor, but they often do not go with a long-term plan or style. Don’t rush the design process. Building a well-balanced, cohesive space requires time and planning.
A single well-made, high-quality item is likely to have more impact on your space than an assortment of inexpensive items. By investing in quality, unique pieces, your home will have an elegant, luxurious look. I recommend collecting accessories over time and focusing on those that speak to you.
Choose accessories that balance the space
When choosing and placing accessories, take the time to study three important aspects of design: scale, weight, and proportion. These elements can make all the difference when decorating your home.
● Scale refers to the size of an item in relation to the size of a room.
● Weight is a factor in the visual impact of the decorative accessory.
● Proportion is often a matter of the shape and size of an item compared to the rest of the room.
A larger room can accommodate furnishings and decor with a greater sense of grandeur, while a smaller space requires more tailored furnishings that don't overwhelm the space.
When you choose pieces that match in scale, weight, and proportion, your home décor will be elegant, comfortable, and balanced.
Mix textures and colors to add interest
Accessories should be used to add contrast, and dimension to a project. For instance, if the room has a lot of neutral colors, add pops of color throughout the space to create visual interest.
I usually begin by selecting accessories in two colors that complement the walls and upholstery or take into consideration the area rug. I then add a third piece to create a jolt of unexpected color in a room. I like to mix patterns, colors, and accessories freely to create an original and unique look.
Decorative accessories can easily be changed, swapped, or updated to fit changing moods, styles, or seasons. I encourage you to have an assortment on hand and rotate them regularly to keep your space fresh.
Have fun with symmetry
In interior design, symmetry refers to the placement of furnishings or accessories so that they are evenly weighted around a singular focal point, such as matched potted plants flanking a fireplace.
I create balance by arranging objects of different shapes and sizes in an asymmetrical manner. This juxtaposition creates visual interest. For example, in a decorative display, I balance a tall, large object with several smaller ones to create a striking effect. I also like to arrange smaller items in odd numbers—for example, threes or fives—so that my compositions have a greater impact.
● You can create continuity by grouping items of a similar color or theme together.
● Give your vignettes a sense of drama by mixing items of varying heights.
● Create layers by overlapping shapes.
Good results will always come from taking individual elements and placing them in an orderly progression.
Layer home accessories to create a luxurious look
Accessories are a great way to add interest and depth to your home, but they can easily become overwhelming if you have too many. To avoid this, create layers of accessories that build depth and visual interest.
Use height and scale to guide the eye around a room. Large accessories should be placed first and sparingly, with small- and medium-size accessories filling in the spaces between and balancing the look.
Several small accessories can give the impression of a larger item when grouped together, but don’t forget to leave some breathing room. Not every corner of a room needs to be filled with furniture and decorations.
Add some flair with decorative pillows
Pillows are a great way to add color, pattern, and texture to your home. They're also a fun way to add personality to your space. Pillows are also an easy way to get creative with your home decorating without having to commit to any major purchases.
Pillows should complement your existing interior design elements without overpowering them. If you're going for a minimalist look, choose solid-colored or neutral-toned decorative pillows. If you're more of an eclectic type, you can experiment with patterns and colors that are bolder and more expressive.
In addition, avoid the temptation to line up your pillows like soldiers. Use a variety of sizes and place them in a casual grouping instead of lining up identical pillows on each side of the sofa. This will make your space feel more dynamic and interesting.
Let there be space
In interior design, white space refers to the blank space between two pieces of furniture, or around accessories. It allows a room to breathe and makes furnishings more visible.
When you're designing a room, you want to be careful not to overcrowd it. If your furniture and accessories are too close together, they will look cluttered and chaotic. Using white space evenly makes the content in the design easily scannable and significantly improves legibility.
This design philosophy can be applied to any room in the house—even bathrooms! In fact, bathrooms often benefit from the use of white space because it makes them feel airy and spacious.
Choose home accessories that make you feel good
Above all else, don’t base your decorative accessory choices on how they will look in your living spaces – choose pieces you love. Accessories that make a statement about your personality can add more to a room than just their beauty.
I always advise my clients to collect and surround themselves with things that have meaning to them, as these will be the most natural and organic elements of any home or interior. It's important to find decor items that relate to your personal story or connection with nature to ensure that your decor is timeless.
Whether it's something you pick up during a trip abroad, something you made as a child, or a sentimental piece from your grandparent's basement, you can use these objects to make your spaces more personal and generate a feeling of well-being and joy. This final layer of decorating is where your own personality and design style can truly come alive.
By using these tips to choose carefully selected accessories for your home, you can create a look that's entirely your own. With thoughtful composition and the right use of color, texture, and proportion, you can create beautiful spaces that reflect your personal style while still being functional—and maybe even a little bit glamorous.
If you are interested in learning more about how to make your environment even more inviting, I’d welcome the opportunity to speak with you. Please reach out!
Santiago Bernal is a Colombian-born designer whose work includes residences and hospitality interiors for clients throughout North and South America, the Caribbean Islands, and Europe. Santiago's design philosophy is to create beautiful spaces with classic elegance that harmonize with their surroundings and tread lightly on the planet.