Styling 101

Ac­cents and ac­ces­sories are the fin­ish­ing touches for any room. Here’s how to ar­range your el­e­ments with con­fi­dence and flair.

Cottages & Bungalows - - Design Lessons - BY JICKIE TOR­RES PHO­TOG­RA­PHY BY KIRSTEN GROVE


Kirsten says to add a mix to shelves

for a more dy­namic dis­play. “You can style books along with a va­ri­ety

of dec­o­ra­tive pieces,” she writes. “Stack­ing books next to a col­lec­tion of pot­tery with a plant top­ping the books is a sim­ple yet beau­ti­ful look.” Just

be sure to ar­range your dis­play in col­lec­tions of odd num­bers, and vary

the finishes from wood to me­tal to ce­ramic for a more in­ter­est­ing look.

Your toys are the books, vases, flow­ers and per­sonal totems you’ve col­lected along the way that can be ar­ranged and rear­ranged to your heart’s con­tent. And in the dé­cor world we call this styling!

Blog­ger turned in­te­rior de­signer Kirsten Grove de­voted her en­tire first book, Sim­ply Styling, to this topic, partly be­cause it’s hard to know the rules for feath­er­ing the cor­ners of your nest and partly be­cause it’s these lit­tle el­e­ments that can be the most per­sonal and most re­flec­tive of your style. “A com­fort­able space filled with per­sonal touches can be fresh, exciting and ac­ces­si­ble,” she writes.

But this doesn’t mean it’s easy. “Pat­tern and place­ment can ac­ti­vate or clut­ter a space,” she adds. The key is get­ting that bal­ance. Here are the four most com­mon ar­eas of the home that tend to need a good dose of styling, along with Kirsten’s tips for re­ally mak­ing them shine.


The man­tel of­fers a lim­ited amount of space to make one of the most im­pact­ful de­sign state­ments in any liv­ing room. So here a few rules do help: “Choose items that dif­fer in height,” she says. And play with tex­tures and asym­me­try. Per­fectly sym­met­ri­cal ar­range­ments will feel time­less and tra­di­tional. But small col­lec­tions can feel more artis­tic and per­sonal.


Whether it’s the kitchen, bath­room or even a side­board, the main sur­faces of your home are prime real es­tate for dis­play. Clut­ter is the en­emy here, so Kirsten says in these spa­ces you should keep both form and func­tion in mind. Also, use con­tain­ers like trays and bas­kets to keep small group­ings to­gether.


Choos­ing the right art for a room can feel daunt­ing. Gallery walls are a great way to get some flex­i­bil­ity and have more fun with it! Kirsten prefers to mix and match the frames for a more re­laxed and less staged look. Black and white group­ings give a room a clas­sic feel, while mix­ing in vin­tage el­e­ments (think mir­rors, wall weav­ings or found ob­jects) can “feel grand and beau­ti­ful.”

If you’re like me, once you’ve picked the big­gies like the sofa, chairs and the rug, the rest of the room is just a play­ground.

Sim­ply Styling by Kirsten Grove, pub­lished by Ster­ling Pub­lish­ing, © 2017; ster­ling­pub­lish­

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