Little things mean a lot. That old saying has relevance in a number of different circumstances, but it’s a particularly apt rallying cry for those involved in home decoration. The inclusion of the right small accent pieces can really make or break a room’s appearance.
There are a few rules of thumb that govern the use of those “little extras” within a well-decorated home. If you learn them (and decorate by them), you’ll end up enjoying some spectacular results. Abandoning these well-recognized decorating principles, on the other hand, risks completely undermining all of your other efforts. Let’s look at a few basic principles that should govern your use of accent items.
First, remember the “first rule” of decorating. It should almost go without mentioning, but the most important principle of putting a space together consists of three simple words: Less is more. The quickest way to ruin the feel of any space is to create a busy, overstuffed look. One of the easiest ways to fall into that trap is to turn a room into a storage facility for surplus knick-knacks.
While you definitely don’t want to forsake décor items altogether—they can tie a room together very nicely—you can’t overdo it if you want the right look. Put your plans to the test by looking at the space with everything you have planned for the area and again with about half of the planned accent items. Experiment until you find out how “low you can go” with respect to the quantity of decorative pieces in the space. Less IS more, after all.
Second, don’t let your accent items cut against the function of the area in question. Effective decorating is a matter of balancing aesthetics with utility. You want to create a series of visually appealing areas in which people can actually live and function.
That means that you shouldn’t require people to sidestep a floor lamp in order to move from room to room and that no one should be forced to carefully tiptoe across the floor in order to avoid knocking over a slender vase perched precariously on a high shelf. If your decorative items interfere with the room’s function, rethink their placement or inclusion.
Third, don’t fall in love with a tidbit. There are some very big and very significant factors influencing your decorating. Colors. Furniture. Focal points. Floors. Light. These factors define rooms and have more influenced than any single accent item.
That’s why it’s important to select décor pieces that compliment and work with those larger forces. You can’t let your personal appreciation for a knick-knack or decorative piece allow you to compromise the overall integrity of your carefully designed space. Remember, little things can be important, but they’re still little things. At the point their at odds with greater forces, they’re probably not what you really need.
Little things do mean a lot, but it means just as much to know how to use them. These three principles should give you a good sense of the best way to make décor items part of your overall redecoration approach.