Accessories play an important role in decorating. They help create a finished look, pull the room together, and create a unique look. Here are 6 easy tips for how to decorate with accessories to help you know WHAT to buy and HOW to display it.

Decorating a home is about so much more than picking out the basic furniture pieces and calling it a day.  It’s about telling a story that is unique to you and your family.  It’s about creating a space that is functional and comfortable for the way you live.  It’s all about the details.

Your home is more than the place you live, it’s your story.

There are two important factors when it comes to decorating with accessories:

  1. The way in which you display them and
  2. The types of accessories you choose

So here are 6 easy tips to help you with both of these issues! Let’s look at how to decorate with accessories to tell your story and create a home that is uniquely you!

1. Create Depth with Layers

When using accessories, use multiples grouped together. Often, this grouping is referred to as a vignette. Start with the largest accessory and use it as your focal point. From there, build out creating layers of other, small objects. 

Start from the back and work forward, staggering your pieces so that you create a sense of depth in your vignette, giving it more interest than it would otherwise have if all of the objects were arranged in a straight line. Also be sure that you vary the height of the pieces.

One alternative to using one large item as a focal point, is to use several small items grouped together.

Black cabinet with styled shelves holding antique books and framed bird artwork
Tidbits&Twine Free Artwork

2. Add Something Soft & Organic

To keep your accessories feeling natural and less “manufactured,” make sure you use at least one organic item. This could be a light source (candle or lamp), flowers (live, dried, or faux), a topiary or plant, feathers, shells, or even logs.

3. Pick the Right Proportion

Proportion is important not only when choosing furniture, but accessories as well! I’m sure you’ve seen a large mantel decorated with just a small clock on top. Or a giant piece of art that overpowers a small wall. An item that is too big or too small looks “off”. Try to find the Goldilocks of accessories…something “just right.”

When choosing accessories, keep in mind the proportions of your home and where/how you might use the item.

4. Mix and Match

You can create a great deal of visual interest if you vary the textures of your objects.  For example, a silver pitcher on a burlap runner or a bouquet of roses in a weathered vase.  Mix hard with soft and shiny with dull.

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.

5. Use Symmetry or Asymmetry – Both are Great!

Some people prefer the symmetical look when arranging acessories, particularly on a mantel. You’ll often see art or a mirror flanked by a candlestick or topiary on either side. To update this look a bit, try adding one additional smaller accessory to each side.

On the other hand, if you don’t feel the need for symmetry, try an asymmetrical arrangement instead. In asymmetry, it’s all about balance. So one large vase of greenery on one side can balance out a lantern or piece of art on the other!

6. Pick Personal

I believe that accessories shouldn’t just be practical and pretty, but should also tell your family’s story and give a clue as to how you use the space.  One way to tell your story is through your use of accessories. Purchase and/or display items that have meaning to you. Things like:

  • Family heirlooms
  • Collections
  • Kids’ creations
  • Items that represent you style

How I Tell MY Story

In winter, I keep an basket stocked with wood next to the fireplace.  Yes, I could just stack the wood on the floor, but basket helps to tell a bit about my personal taste. 

And when you see the wood stacked by the fire, you can imagine cold winter days kept at bay with a cozy fire warming the room.  In reality, my fireplace is gas burning and the logs are display only, but regardless, they help to tell the story and set the tone for the room. 

My living room seating area has a side table.  I often sit there and drink my coffee and relax in the mornings.  It isn’t practical to leave my mug there all day, so instead I rely on accessories.  A few books and a magnifying glass help to give the impression that someone was just settled in reading a book and invites guests to settle in and relax as well.

Also on the side table is a Pothos plant.  I could have used a regular pot for the plant, but instead chose to use a vintage ironstone soup tureen because I love ironstone and this use is unexpected, so it represents my taste and personality.

{For more ideas on creative ways to use antiques, read THIS POST}

Did I use this DIY crystal bookmark to show where I left off in the book?  No, but it helps to tell a story about curling up next to the fireplace to relax and read.

For those that have been reading my blog for a while, you know that I don’t really cook.  But of course I want my kitchen to look as if I do!  {Yes, I’d be the one to buy cookies from the store, transfer them to a pretty plate, and sprinkle a little flour on my face and apron for good measure!} 

The vintage champagne bucket used as a utensil holder is a detail that reflects my style and with the combination of accessories, helps to give the impression that I know what I’m doing in the kitchen.  {Actually, there’s normally olive oil next to these items because that is one cooking item that I really do use!}

Final Thoughts – Home Décor Accessories

The next time you head out to pick up an accessory for your home, aside from being the right size and the right price, make sure it helps tell your story.  And then think about the way in which you combine and layer accessories together to see if you can help tell the story of the space as well.

Guests often feel most comfortable when they can form their own opinion about your space, but it doesn’t hurt to give them clues about how you want the space to be read, so give thought as to how you tell your story!

Want to see more examples of how I use accessories? You can follow me on {THIS PINTEREST BOARD}

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  1. Kim,
    You are vignette-styling royalty in my book. I’ve always enjoyed the accessorizing you do in your home and I always gain inspiration for my home. Thank you.

  2. Accessories and vignettes are your forte! That’s my favorite part of decorating, and I always love to see what you put together!

  3. Finally, an article explaining exactly why I decorate the way I do. I am saving this. Thanks so much.

    1. User Avatar Tidbits&Twine says:

      So glad you liked the post!

  4. Great ideas. :)

    My husband reminds me that little scratches and things that happen to the furniture are part of our story. It makes it a little easier for this perfectionist to live with goofs when I think of it that way.

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