One of the biggest decorating dilemmas is how to arrange your accessories, whether it be a bookcase, shelf, or table top. Here is a three step system that will transform your boring or cluttered space into eye catching displays.
Harmonize and Contrast your Accessories
When arranging a space with accessories, one has to keep in mind that the most important thing to avoid here is boredom. This has a lot less to do with the objects you choose than how you choose to display them. To keep an arrangement from putting people to sleep, remember to keep a balance of harmony and contrast. Placing things that feel like they go together in one place creates harmony. Placing things that spice other things up by being different creates contrast. Being sure to include different elements such as smooth against textured, and round against straight, will keep your eye traveling and avoid boredom. Here is an example of how to incorporate both. Perhaps you could create harmony by repeating a square shape or the color blue, and then add contrast by sitting a smooth candlestick next to a rough basket.
Scale and Shape
Make sure that the items you are using fit into their new homes scale. You don’t want one tiny paperweight on a large kitchen table, and you want to steer clear of using a huge ceiling high arrangement of flowers on a tiny end table. Most people tend to use things that are too small for their surroundings. If you have small accessories you would like to display, but need to give them more oomph in the arrangement, try grouping them on a decorative tray. Remember, collections are always best displayed together rather than spreading throughout a room. By doing so, you maximize the visual impact.
Layer and Soften
Once you have chosen your objects for the space following the design principles above, now its time to layer and soften. Start with a larger, taller piece slightly off center, this will be the defining piece of your arrangement. Now work to the outer edges in layers. Add a taller background layer, middle sized medium height layer, and your tiniest objects up front. Keep the eye moving up and down as you look over the arrangement from left to right for interest.
Above all, keep trying new combinations of items until you find an arrangement that works for you. Use things in unusual ways. Tuck flowers or a live plant into an arrangement that seems too static. Even professional designers will occasionally be surprised by trying new things in a new way. And remember, if your arrangement still looks cluttered and lost, chances are you are trying to display too much. Develop a prop box or closet where you can keep some of your treasures. Switch them a couple times a year for a fresh new look without spending a dime!
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