Ac­ces­sorize your cares away

Keep your mind open to the pos­si­bil­i­ties

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - HOMES - CON­NIE OLIVER

AC­CES­SORIZ­ING a room has got to be one of the trick­i­est pro­cesses when re­dec­o­rat­ing your home. Too much and it’s clut­tered; too lit­tle and it’s bar­ren.

If the items are too eclec­tic, the room can be vis­ually con­fus­ing and if ev­ery­thing matches then it feels like a Step­ford Wives kind of space. The right out­come re­quires a del­i­cate bal­ance be­tween ne­ces­sity, bud­get, style pref­er­ence and place­ment.

I chose this lovely Moen bath­room pho­to­graph to­day be­cause it has a good mix of in­ter­est­ing ac­ces­sories that can be in­ter­changed in other rooms in the home. If, for ex­am­ple, you re­moved the soaker tub and shower and put in a sec­tional sofa fac­ing the tele­vi­sion unit, the room could eas­ily be a fam­ily room or den, save for the tow­els.

The les­son here is you don’t need to use items that only ‘be­long’ in cer­tain rooms. Keep your mind open to pos­si­bil­i­ties.

If we break this room down into the four cat­e­gories men­tioned above, the process of ac­ces­soriz­ing your home might be an eas­ier task than first thought. The ba­sic con­cepts be­low can be ap­plied to any room in the home.

In our fea­ture pho­to­graph, the nec­es­sary items are the tow­els and bar soap but could be any­thing from jew­elry on a bed­room dresser to mag­a­zines on the cof­fee ta­ble in the fam­ily room. Items you want ac­cess to on a reg­u­lar ba­sis are what I con­sider the ne­ces­si­ties. These items are not al­ways some­thing you de­sire as part of the dé­cor but you need them handy to make life eas­ier.

For items you want out of sight, choose dec­o­ra­tive stor­age con­tain­ers that co-or­di­nate with the room in ques­tion. If you can use these items as ac­ces­sories (like the lovely tow­els in our fea­ture pho­to­graph) then use them to your ad­van­tage. Those mag­a­zines in the fam­ily room, for in­stance, could be hung on a dec­o­ra­tive mag­a­zine lad­der for easy ac­cess and as a unique dis­play.

Bud­get-sav­ing ideas

Turn­ing ev­ery­day items into ac­ces­sories is a clever way to keep the bud­get in line.

Dis­play your dishes, pots and pans in the kitchen. Hang­ing pot racks will save cup­board space and will make you look like a real chef. Items like large, ce­ramic serv­ing plat­ters you only use a few times a year can be hung on the wall or placed on a shelf for use as an ac­ces­sory in the kitchen. Food stuffs like dried pasta, hang­ing gar­lic braids, spices, fresh fruits and veg­gies can make great ac­ces­sories when dis­played in ap­pro­pri­ate con­tain­ers.

In the bath­room, bar soaps, bath beads and crys­tals can be dis­played in dec­o­ra­tive con­tain­ers in­stead of hid­den away in a closet. Items like cot­ton balls and swabs can be stored in apothe­cary jars and placed on open shelv­ing. Tow­els and face cloths can be stacked into neat piles on open shelves or in dec­o­ra­tive bas­kets or bins. Pur­chase linens with colours that com­pli­ment the space.

Per­sonal style

You should love what you dis­play and dis­play what you love. Choose items that elicit pos­i­tive emo­tional re­sponses — great art, per­sonal trea­sures, fam­ily heir­looms, pho­to­graphs and so on. Keep within your gen­eral colour scheme as seen in our fea­ture bath­room. The leather chair’s peachy-brown colour is dot­ted through­out the room. A sim­i­lar colour (the colours don’t have to match ex­actly) is found on the wall around the shower stall and in the square soap dish, bowl and square wicker bas­ket. This colour is also found in one ac­cent towel, which is just enough not to be over­done. The other tow­els are in a neu­tral sand colour.

Stick to a cen­tral theme if you’re over­whelmed by the choices. This bath­room is quite Zen and bodes ac­ces­sories that work within that theme, for ex­am­ple.


Try to mix things up with re­gard to size, shape and form. Our fea­ture room boasts a large, wooden scroll­work plate, which has lots of tex­ture and move­ment jux­ta­posed with a soft white vase with wavy lines and no de­tail. The two op­po­sites re­ally at­tract. The ad­di­tion of dried twigs in the plain vase adds dra­matic height and a nat­u­ral el­e­ment.

To bal­ance the vi­gnette, a third ac­ces­sory is added. (Three items is al­ways a good num­ber to use when plac­ing items for dis­play.) A long, low-pro­file tea-light holder is placed at the base and slightly to the right of the two larger pieces to cre­ate vis­ual in­ter­est. These three items re­ally have noth­ing in com­mon but work well to­gether when placed cor­rectly.

Try to choose a few large-scale items rather than a smat­ter­ing of small items to keep things sim­ple and stylish. The in­clu­sion of some square items (soap dish, dec­o­ra­tive bowl) rather than the ex­pected round coun­ter­parts is a nice touch de­tail.

What is in­ter­est­ing about most of the ac­ces­sories in this room is they are not what you would con­sider ‘bath­room’ ac­ces­sories but they all work in this room. There are no hard and fast rules for dis­play. You just have to play around with the place­ment of ac­ces­sories un­til you end up with an eye-catch­ing ar­range­ment. The more you prac­tise the bet­ter you’ll get at it.

If what you’re do­ing is just not com­ing to­gether, study lots of dé­cor pho­to­graphs on­line or in mag­a­zines and de­con­struct the pho­tos as we’ve done here. Once you get your eye trained to find scale, form and colour pal­ettes, the rest will be a cake­walk.

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