Affordable decorating ideas: Accessories

Affordable decorating ideas: Accessories

More decorating ideas

Home stagers' experience prepping houses for sale make them a good source of tips for easy updates:

To re-energize a room, effectively display selected collectibles and art objects. “Accessory size is one of the easiest ways to update your space and create the illusion of more space,” says DesAnn Collins of Design by DesAnn of Northeast Ohio. “Bigger is better and less is more. Instead of having a lot of small, under 12-inch, items, choose fewer, but larger, pieces.”

Collins and other highly rated home stagers offer tips for using accessories to freshen your decor:

Toss in some pillows

 “Throw pillows are like little pieces of artwork and an inexpensive way to incorporate trends in home interiors,” says Linda Holt of Linda Holt Interiors in Boston. “You will be surprised at how such a simple update can make the whole room feel so new.”

More pillow ideas:

  • “Try bringing in an animal print or a fun bold graphic.”
  • “If your home is mainly neutrals, think about incorporating a few brightly colored throw pillows to add a pop of color and energize the room.”

Amp up your lamps

“Dated lamps and light fixtures age a room quickly,” says Catherine Morrow of Room Reflections Interior Redesign & Home Staging of Marietta, Ga.

More lamp ideas:

  • Kim Trouten of Staged for Selling of Charlotte, N.C.:  “Add a new drum-style light fixture. They come in all prices."
  • Maureen Bray of Room Solutions Staging of Portland, Ore. “Add table lamps next to the main seating areas to use for reading or entertaining. Soft lighting at the correct height for the task can really enhance a room's atmosphere."

Consider the alternatives

Collins says it’s more important to consider a potential accessory's shape, size, texture and color, than its intended purpose. “If you want, hang a pair of boxing gloves on the wall just because you love them.”

Examples from Collins' staging and decorating work:

  • Putting an attractive fireplace grate on top of the mantel. “Today it's a piece of scrolling, metal art.”
  • Finding a use for an heirloom shawl a client didn't wear but loved because it had been her grandmother's. "I wrapped it around some candlesticks and greenery, letting the fringe hang a little on the edges.”

Contain the chaos

Unstuff your hutch, Collins advises. “Most of us keep putting so much in our hutches that we can't see individual pieces because of all the stuff,” she says. She suggests emptying a curio cabinet, keeping only what you really like. Then, display some of the items, especially larger ones, and put the rest in storage. One woman for whom Collins staged a house to sell had a wonderful glass collection. “I encouraged her to change it out by season and put the rest in storage," she says. "The client said it felt much calmer.”

Tip: Bray suggests corralling accessories in an attractive container. “On your coffee table, a simple tray is a great way to display a few items,” she says. “Keeping them in the tray also helps keep them from being tossed around.”

Next: Exterior updates

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Affordable decorating ideas: Rearrange and edit


BEFORE: A couch created an obstacle to both the feet and the eye, as did the placement of other furnishings. (Photo courtesy of DesAnn Collins of Designs by DesAnn)
BEFORE: A couch created an obstacle to both the feet and the eye, as did the placement of other furnishings. (Photo courtesy of DesAnn Collins of Designs by DesAnn)

Declutter and rearrange your way to an updated room design, say highly rated home stagers. Their experience preparing homes to sell make home staging professionals a font of affordable decorating ideas.

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