Ottawa Citizen

Small accessorie­s make a space more homey

Those room changing little touches help you feel better about how you live

- SAMANTHA PYNN Thank you for reading my column. Opinions contrary to mine are always welcome. Send your small-space question to asksampynn@gmail.com.

Q When will designers realize accessorie­s and pillows can’t a house? I’ve been read change about this in every magazine lately like it’s a new story. I heard you say it on TV, too. Feels to me like old news and a bit of a crock. The homes in photo spreads are frankly unattainab­le and cost upward of a million dollars.

A Thanks for your honesty. No one needs to alert the media about the power of a pillows and accessorie­s story. Yep, we’ve heard and read it a million times before in decorating magazines and on TV. Of course, if your walls are crumbling or painted a horrid shade, well then, no, there is not much that a pillow can do for you.

And, if your home is a mess, jammed to the rafters with junk, a great looking vase isn’t going to do a thing. (No judgment here on messy homes, by the way.)

The reason decorators, designers and editors (especially me) are constantly prattling on about how pillows and throws can change a space is because accessorie­s are room changers. The message gets repeated because it’s something so simple that people don’t remember, don’t do it and don’t think it matters.

It matters. Picture frames and table lamps will never bring about world peace or cure any illnesses, but they can make you feel better about the way you live. I’ve had hundreds of people tell me that living in a home decorated to their taste makes them excited about coming home and waking up in the morning. And that is why I do what I do. I have witnessed peoples’ lives change for the better because they love the way their home makes them feel.

Your home doesn’t have to cost a million dollars to look like it belongs in a magazine. Yes, many of the homes you see in magazines are aspiration­al, but there are just as many that are decorated on a tight budget. I’ve seen garages transforme­d on a dime. And, I’ve scouted plenty of multimilli­on-dollar homes where the design is not magazine worthy.

I’ve also changed the way people feel about their homes by simply working with their furniture, tidying things up, and adding inexpensiv­e accessorie­s. Recently, I worked on The Quick Easy Room Makeover series for Ikea (ikea.hgtv.ca), where I helped three couples transform two rooms in their homes with textiles and accessorie­s.

In the photos above, a young couple had the basics: a sofa, coffee table and side tables. With the exception of the inexpensiv­e slipper chair ($249), wicker armchairs ($99), and drapery panels ($69 a pair), every other room changer in this magazine-worthy living room is an accessory. Yes, that would be a pillow, throw, picture frame or vase.

Good design can be about the magic of paint, fabric or secondhand finds. Style is not about money. Money can make decorating — and well, most things in life — much easier. But true style is about passion and research.

And by research, I mean shopping the design market, watching those decorating TV shows, collecting great inspiratio­n photos on Pinterest, and reading magazines and newspapers to figure out what pillows will make you happy to come home.

 ??  ?? Above left: Before accessoriz­ing, this living room had just the basics. Above right: Apart from the slipper chair, wicker armchairs and drapery, every item in this room is an accessory. Compare the room with how it looked before.
Above left: Before accessoriz­ing, this living room had just the basics. Above right: Apart from the slipper chair, wicker armchairs and drapery, every item in this room is an accessory. Compare the room with how it looked before.
 ??  PHOTOS: QUICK & EASY ROOM MAKEOVER SERIES/VIRGINIA MACDONALD ??
 PHOTOS: QUICK & EASY ROOM MAKEOVER SERIES/VIRGINIA MACDONALD

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