Design 101: How to Combine Home Accessories

The right accessory completes any room's look while adding style and finesse to your space. Achieve a designer look by following our foolproof tips.

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March 13, 2019
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Choose a Color Scheme

The key to making an assortment of accessories work together is color. A pom-pom pillow and blanket, a modern painting, graphic fabrics and even a Jeff Koons-inspired balloon dog bring playfulness and vibrance to this girl's bedroom. An analogous color palette of pink, purple and orange unite the different elements.

Layer It

Whether decorating with flowers, black-and-white photos or candlesticks, layer the elements to create depth. Add in small lamps, mirrors or metallic items throughout the display for a hint of glam.

Create Negative Space

Yes, you can go bold when layering and mixing colors, textures and finishes. Just be sure to leave negative space so your vignette has a little breathing room. A saturated abstract painting, vibrant arrows, gilded candles and colorful prints combine seamlessly on this mantel because white framing and walls, as well as a clear vase, give pause to the arrangement.

All in the Groupings

Group similar items for maximum impact. Open shelving in this entryway is filled with souvenirs from the homeowners' travels. Each collection, from the woven baskets and pretty pottery to the glass orbs and decorative books, gets its own designated spot on the shelves. A cohesive look is achieved through the simple color scheme of turquoise, brown and black.

Stick With One Finish

Keep it simple. Select one metallic or color you love and group a variety of accessories in that finish for an impressive display. Make sure to use different shapes and sizes, like this arrangement of a statue, vase and candlesticks, to maximize the visual interest. Scour your home for accessories you already own to create a collection for free.

Throw a Book at It

Don't underestimate the power of a good book, especially when it comes to decorating with one. Stack them horizontally to add height, set them vertically to create borders or even use a colorful jacket cover facing out as artwork.

Power in Numbers

Whether you've been accumulating for years or inherited a collection, gathering your favorite pieces together in one place creates an instant wow-worthy display. The line of globes atop this bookshelf makes for a more eye-catching exhibition than if one solitary globe was in attendance.

The Right Proportions

Choose accessories that match the scale of the rest of your room. A tiny piece of art on a large wall simply makes the art seem smaller. This color-filled living room keeps its proportions in check with the just-right-sized painting and an area rug that defines the entire seating area. The rainbow of hues in both pieces ties the space's color scheme together.

Fashion the Framework

Trays are a versatile setting and a smart way to team up accessories since they encompass a defined area. Stick with the same combining rules — varying heights, shapes and colors — to create an interesting vignette.

Vary Height

Choose accessories with differing heights to encourage the eye to move around the display rather than glossing past it. Artwork on the wall also acts as part of your vignette, so keep it in mind when arranging your accessories.

Mix It Up

Use a variety of textures and finishes when arranging accessories. Smooth wood, woven ottomans and knitted pillows are used in this living room to create an intriguing, textural display.

Symmetry in Tones

Add warm accessories to a cool-toned room or vice versa. The artwork flows easily with the wall since it pulls in the cool teal color, but is offset by warm oranges and browns in the prints. To further reflect the styling, wooden horse statues balance out the cool green eucalyptus branches.

Bring the Outside In

Use plants and fresh flowers to bring life and energy to your composition. They are often all you need to add a burst of color and texture to the overall design.

Spotlight Accessories

Lighting is key in every design. In this dining room, industrial-style fixtures highlight, as well as provide the perfect contrast, to the black-and-white photography. Natural accessories, like hydrangeas and a bowl of moss, are right at home amidst the weathered and woven furnishings.

Balance Without Symmetry

Artwork is a great addition to any vignette, but it doesn't have to take center stage. Asymmetrical designs are the most interesting. When offsetting the artwork, choose other elements, like vases full of tall flowers, to create balance in the space.

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