Accessorizing a Dresser

accessorizing-a-dresserwWhen you have a dresser in your own bedroom, you may use the space on top for personal items. But when it is in an extra bedroom or guest room, your accessory choices are probably going to be purely decorative. Here are a few suggestions for making that dresser top look attractive.

Bring in light: A table lamp like the one in the photo serves several purposes. It can be used to provide ambient light to a room when you don’t want to turn on the bright overhead light. It shines on the surface of the dresser, showing off the gloss of the polished wood surface, and it adds height to the surface display. It can also set the tone for style and color through the lamp’s base and shade.

Vary height: When all of the accessories are the same height, it stops looking like a planned display and starts looking like clutter. On this dresser, the lamp on the left and the flowers on the right add enough height variation to keep the dresser accessories looking interesting across the top.

Bring in color: Red fruit in the bowl connects with the red flowers to add charm. Notice that there is another splash of red across the room by the window that you can see   reflected in the dresser’s mirror. Color helps link the different spaces in a room.

A bit of bling: The basic wood hardware on this dresser demands something shiny on top. The books have metallic covers, creating a spot that sparkles. This sparks up the look of the entire display.

Chances are you have enough odds and ends of accessories to dress up your dressers and coffee tables. Just keep experimenting until you get the look you want in each room.

Personalize your Home: Accessories

8013641_SAre you ready for a change in your home to match the changes in your taste and preferences over time? Accessories provide an opportunity to make a dramatic change in your home with minimal effort and expense.

To start, pull all of the accessories out of the room you want to modify. Then set down only those rugs, pillows or other accessories you want to keep in the space. Do you see a trend in terms of color, texture or style? That gives you your first clue to the new look you want. Let’s take a look at two examples.

The selection in the photo to the left demonstrates a liking for shiny fabrics, vivid color and contemporary patterns. The photo below, on the other hand, leans toward earth tones and natural elements and patterns. Both can make for a wonderful room, but the personalities will be very different.

7604375_SNow, place those wanted pieces back in the room and take a look for any holes in the space or functions that are no longer provided. Wander through the other rooms in your home to see if you want to move anything around. Then make a shopping list for those items you want to replace.

Remember, you don’t need to buy everything at once. Instead, keep a list of ideas, colors and looks you want, shopping sales and looking for just the right accessory.4754254_S

Above all, don’t rush or settle for something that’s almost there but not quite perfect – look for just the right choice, even if it takes a while. Sometimes the hunt is a big part of the fun.

Finally, look for opportunities to add finishing touches that appeal to you. For example, look at the gold tie-back and tassel on the curtain in this last photo. It brings out the gold in the curtain fabric and adds a splash of opulence as well as an additional texture. For a minimal cost, an element such as this can help your space make the statement you want.

Design Tips: Balancing Heights

22021044_SWhen displaying anything – accessories on a side table, a buffet for a party, birthday or wedding presents, the impact is much stronger if you vary heights.

Designers know that getting the right balance of heights makes any visual more dramatic and interesting.

Let’s start with the photo above. The colors of pink and citrus green contrast nicely with the white china and the fabric to the left provides some textural interest. But notice that the difference between the tallest and shortest element is only a few inches. This pretty picture has charm but really doesn’t engage the eye.

21556061_SIn contrast, take a look at the photo to the right. The colors are actually slightly more limited, but the eye flies across the image thanks to several design choices.

To begin with, the height differential is almost a foot between the lowest and highest elements. The crossed ribbons in the background emphasize the height differences while pulling attention from one part of the image to the next.

14892527_SNow you may have no reason to stack your plates and bowls, but you can use this same concept with accessories in any part of your home. In this last photo, the same concepts are applied to the accessories on a side table.

The grasses lying horizontal against the table are over a foot lower than the red flowers that top the vertical vase. The chair backs and the bookshelf in the background provide strong horizontal lines, so the verticals need to come from the accessories.

Finally, notice how the plant provides some nice diagonals to draw the eye the same way the crossed ribbons did in the second photo above. The look is completely different, but the same design concepts combine to make both arrangements powerful and eye-catching.

Design Grammar: Adjectives

12120327_SWhen we look at design grammar, it’s the adjectives and adverbs that liven up a sentence the way accessories make a room more interesting.

Even with no furniture, the accessories in the photo to the left create an inviting impression. Think of these finishing touches as developing the personality of a room. They may be functional, but their primary purpose is simply design, the way adjectives simply fill out whatever image a sentence makes.

15700367_STake a look at the room to the right. Imagine it without the pillows, rug, plants, and books and elephants on the shelves. OK, let’s do it with language. Compare “the dog barked when its owner came home” with “the happy old dog barked joyfully when his veteran owner came home from Iraq.” One gives you information and the other tells you a story.

Without the adjectives and adverbs in this room, you have a series of grey tones and simple lines. Now, it’s more trouble to add accessories or turn a simple piece of information into a story, but taking the effort helps you create a space that people notice and a story that people want to listen to.

People used to call unusual accessories conversation starters. They can tell people something about you or your interests. They may define you to visitors as traditional or modern in your style and thinking. They may be remembrances of travel or your hobbies. Ask yourself, are your spaces interesting enough that people will want to read more when they walk in? What stories do you want your home to tell?



Build your Dream Room, One Piece at a Time – Accessories

The fourth and last piece of this series on building your dream room focuses on the smaller elements. Now that you have your main pieces of furniture in place, it’s time to add the extras that make a space truly yours.

Think about the larger accessories such as lamps and side tables first. These require attention to function as well as aesthetics. Make sure every seat has a table nearby and that your lamps light up any darker corners. Create a comfortable place for reading with a floor lamp behind an easy chair.

Now, consider the pure design elements. This may include a few books on one corner of your coffee table, candlesticks and photos on a mantel or just a simple glass bowl on a side table. If you have accumulated unique pieces on your travels, they can make a room more intriguing. Or if you have a collection of small objects, they can gain new importance by grouping them on a table or shelf. Vary size, color and height where you can to add interest and personality.

If space and accessories are limited, you can display one or more of your serving bowls or platters. Combine with a vase for flowers or a few candles and you have an appealing look using things that you can borrow from when you have guests.

Accessories are the best opportunity to showcase your personal taste and interests in your home. They give your guests a chance to get to know you better. Take advantage of your choices to represent ideas, places and choices that you love. Once your accessories are in place, your dream room is finished.

Brighten up a Room with Splashes of Color

We’re lucky here in Arizona to get so much sunshine. Grey days are the exception here. But it’s easy to let our homes go grey or beige inside because of the fear of committing to colors. If you have neutral walls, sofas, flooring and chairs, you can still add bold color to your home. Here are some ideas for brightening up any room.

Rugs: No matter what your flooring choice, a rug can add color, warmth and focus. Look for color that you love that will work with your furnishings. Since rugs are not permanently attached to your home, take the opportunity to be more daring with colors.

Art: A large painting or print in vivid tones can light up a wall. You can find options at one of the art shows around town, or in a shop that sells posters and prints. If you love good photography, visit the National Geographic website and you can select a photo to enlarge among their rich collection that is ready to purchase. Or maybe you’re a good photographer yourself. Warehouse stores will enlarge any print you have and even create a version on canvas for very reasonable prices.

Throw Pillows: This simple update can connect other color splashes in your home with your furniture. They’re also easy to change out if you get tired of them. If you’re still nervous about color, buying a bright throw pillow is a great non-threatening start.

Accessories: A red glass vase or blue pottery bowl can add a colorful element to any room. Consider textiles such as a table runner or placemats in your dining room. Pick things you like but watch your tendency to go with more neutrals. Neutral accessories in a neutral room will disappear into your space.

So take a chance with color. Start with one piece, then two, and before you know it your home may be colorful as well as inviting!