Monday, June 19, 2023

A Case for Accessories – How to Accessorize Your Space Without Burying Your Furniture

 Whether you’ve chosen a maximalist style, like Grandmillenial or Boho, or a less-is-more decorative motif, like modern or minimalism, you’re probably going to still want to use accessories.

But when is enough enough? We will provide you with tasteful accessory tips that won’t bury your décor or furniture. 

How the Pros Accessorize

You go to your friend’s house, and they immediately lead you to a large three-cushioned sofa in their living room and tell you to make “yourself comfortable” — but you can’t. There are so many toss pillows that you can’t find an open spot. And the patterns clash. You would sit on the pouf, but there’s a beautifully carved chess set on it. You decide to stand.

Professional decorators avoid these common mistakes by sticking to a theme and then knowing when to stop adding to it. Here are a few concepts that you can use to finish your space with accessories without overwhelming it. 


Knowing when it’s time to stop is key to accessorizing a space. For example, four throw pillows on a sofa might be the right amount, but that many can really crowd a loveseat. A single throw carelessly draped over the back of an armchair might add some much-needed color and texture, but pillows might make it unusable. Notice how these two sets of pillows complement the Bernhardt Joli Contemporary Sofa without detracting from the clever lines and warm fabric of the piece. 

Combining Shared Elements

When selecting accessories for one or more pieces of furniture, it’s helpful to identify shared elements that tie the pieces together. Color may be the most significant factor, but don’t forget that lines and shape are also important. Consider the Tommy Bahama Siesta Key Woven Headboard in this image. The white of the pillows and bedding matches the off-white woven bed frame, while the subtle gray stripe in the bed connects with the gray colors of the decorative pillows. 

Applying the 60-30-10 Rule

In case you’re unfamiliar with the 60-30-10 rule, it means that 60% of your space should be a primary color, 30% should be a secondary color from the same palette, and 10% can be a tertiary color. Adding accessories can affect the balance of colors. There are a few ways you can address this familiar decorator’s dilemma. 

You can dedicate all of your 10% (the tertiary color) to one color family. However, this may give your place a “paint by numbers feel.” 

Another method involves trying to make the additions proportionate to the room. For example, 60% of the new accessories match the primary color, 30% match the secondary color, and 10% match the tertiary color. This will ensure that you maintain the balance, and it won’t seem quite as contrived as monochromatic accessories. 

Perhaps the most difficult approach to maintaining color balance is locating accessories with two or three colors in the approximate proportions you need. This can be extremely challenging, but online stores have made locating unique accessories much easier. 

Paying Attention to Size

Larger accessories are going to affect your room more. For example, curtains and area rugs will have a much bigger impact than a folded quilt or a lampshade. On a more granular level, consider the surface areas of throw pillows. If you have large throw pillows, you’ll need fewer of them than smaller ones. 

Accessorizing Minimalist Spaces 

If the whole point of minimalism is to reduce the clutter and celebrate empty space, why would you need to accessorize? While true, minimalist spaces completely devoid of accessories can come across as cold and unwelcoming.

Consider this living room featuring the Bernhardt Contemporary Leather Sofa. While the room does adhere to minimalist principles, the table surfaces are adorned with an adjustable lamp, a pair of metallic urns, and reading materials. The accessories augment the color palette without intruding into pathways or blocking the view of the major pieces in the room. Additionally, a crisp white rug adds texture and warmth to the space. 

Accessorizing Maximalist Spaces  

You might be thinking that if you choose maximalist décor, you can really go to town with the accessories, but you may require even more discipline to avoid a junky, overdone look.

Consider placing extra accessories in a curio cabinet or display cabinet to avoid the uncomfortable feeling of too many items intruding on your space. Accessories never looked better than when they’re displayed in a beautifully designed curio cabinet, like the Pulaski Cabinet from Pacific Heights. 

Return Unwanted Items 

Unlike most furniture, accessories are often returnable, so don’t be hesitant about taking risks. If you buy a rug or throw that ends up not looking so great, take it back. Just check the store’s return policy before making a purchase. 

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