Your First Home
Copyright Deborah Marks 2005
Accessorizing lends the last finishing
touch to your home! It gives you the opportunity to
personalize each space and enrich your living environment by
adding special interest. Whether your style is elegant or
casual, there are accessories available.
Although the actual accessorizing usually takes
place at the very end of the design process, it should be
given much thought and consideration during the planning
stages. A favorite painting may provide the very colors you
would like for the living room. Its placement will further
determine furniture arrangement and lighting solutions. A
good idea is to keep your artwork and other accessories in
mind from the start!
Accessories comprise a myriad of objects.
Paintings; sculptures; decorative pillows, throws and
linens; glass and ceramic pieces; vases; mirrors; photos and
their frames; and plants make up the majority of them. They
can repeat a color, shape, or texture within the room,
pulling it together, or they can stand out and create
interest and vibrancy on their own.
In a Contemporary Light environment, use
accessories sparingly. Light and simple are the key words.
Consider these pieces "works of art," select them with great
care, keeping an eye for the unique.
||Original artwork need not be
exorbitantly expensive. There are numerous art festivals
and local shows where you can purchase paintings and
sculptures at reasonable prices. The works of upcoming
artists often are quite good and can be obtained for
significantly less than those of established artists.
Prints and posters also are options, especially when
paintings are a welcome complement to a light, airy
environment. They introduce color, form, and movement
while at the same time being direct and simple.
Paintings featuring one object on the canvas,
such as a flower or a lemon, express color and wit. You may
want to display a collection of paintings or just allow one
canvas to make a bold statement.
The placement of art also is, so to speak, an
art! A large piece will command its own space; groupings
require more thought about placement. If you are arranging a
number of smaller framed works, try to find one element
which unites them all. For example, the frames could be the
same color, although of different shapes and sizes, or the
subject of the artwork could be variations on one theme.
An asymmetrical arrangement often is more
pleasing than a symmetrical one. When hanging a large
painting above a sofa, try positioning it to the left of
center. Then complement it with two or three smaller
pictures to its right. Don't place it too high; it will
appear to float. Ground it by hanging it 8" to 10" above the
back of the sofa.
All paintings needn't be hung, either! A large painting
leaned against the wall can lend a new dynamic to the room.
Paintings displayed in such a manner also are easier to
change out from time to time.. In earthquake-prone areas,
you may want to anchor the upper corners!
||Mirrors are not only meant for those
quick glances before leaving the home. They come in
diverse sizes and shapes that make them wonderful
decorative elements in a room, hallway, or entry.
Smaller ones lined up across a sideboard can enhance the
space. A very large mirror (about 2'-3' x 6'), framed in
wood or leather, can simply be set against a wall.
Remember that mirrors reflect light and objects.
Position a mirror so that the reflection is deliberate
and pleasing. Optimal placement of a sizeable mirror can
visually enlarge a space.
|Much of the furniture in a
Contemporary Light environment is low and sleek. To draw
the eye upward and strike a balance between vertical and
horizontal lines, use tall paintings, plants, and
mirrors. Such lofty accessories can be employed to
heighten a room with low ceilings.
||Vases and bowls are extremely
versatile. Colorful and playful designs immediately draw
attention, while demure objects blend in. In both cases
simple and clear lines should dominate. They can be of
glass or ceramic, many hued, clear, or neutral.
|New and interesting objects are made
of rubber or are silver-plated. Arrange vases in twos or
threes with a common denominator of color or shape.
Display them together with a shallow bowl. A single
large vase (about 3' or 4' in height) standing alone
Arrange vases in twos or threes with a common
denominator of color or shape. Display them together with a
shallow bowl. A single large vase (about 3' or 4' in height)
standing alone demands attention.
The "softer" accessories, such as pillows and
throws are wonderful for adding color and warmth. Repeat the
fabric of your window treatments in the pillows for the
sofa. Or introduce new textures and combinations; for
example, try alcantara pillows on a leather sofa, or a
leather pillow on a chenille chair. Throws draped across a
sofa add new form and color. Pillow coverings and throws can
be exchanged easily to give a very different look to the
||Seasonal changes should be reflected
in the home. When spring arrives, put a few flowering
branches in a vase. Roses typify summer and can be
enjoyed not only in arrangements, but in artwork and
table linens. Autumn is best denoted by apples and
falling leaves. These touches should not be overdone;
the intention is to suggest, not to overwhelm.
|Holidays provide perfect reasons to
accessorize anew. Christmas is just such a time of the
year. Choose the color you would like for the tree. Even
an unusual color, such as blue, makes for a dazzling
effect. The colors on the tree can be repeated in your
table setting. Keep to simple choices for tree
ornaments; limit the variation in size, color, and
||Yellow and green are colors which
work well at Easter. Dress up your table, and make each
holiday an event!
accessorizing for special occasions, it always is wise
to have tableware in white. Chargers, candles, or a
floral centerpiece can introduce the color. Fine quality
flatware is a necessity. Cloth napkins and napkin rings
add to the festivity.
Remember, even if you place one rose in a vase, you are
accessorizing and adding something special to your home.
That one rose on the breakfast table may be just the thing
to get you started and lift your spirits for the whole day!
Pictures courtesy of Roche Bobois, San Jose, CA, Bonaldo,
Italy, Acerbis, Temple, Palo Alto, CA, Jim Lord
Landscape Services, Inc., Redwood City, CA .
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