How to Accessorize with Confidence

A project just isn’t complete until you add those finishing touches

Accessorizing is how you take a “nice enough” room and elevate it to something special. The details on the walls, floors, shelves, mantels, and tabletops are what enable you to maximize your home’s visual appeal and personality. Here’s how you can accessorize with confidence :

Area rugs: Area rugs define a smaller space within a space. Consider a seating area in front of a fireplace or the dining area of a great room. Rugs can add just the right amount of drama with bold colors and patterns that might be overpowering if they covered the entire room. But you don’t necessarily have to go bold. Take a subtle approach with a light-colored area rug that adds just the right contrast to darker hardwood, tile, or laminate floor. The great thing is that area rugs are easy to switch out. Don’t like the rug in the family room? Try it in a rec room or bedroom. Change out the rug, and change up the mood of a room.

Window valances: The best window coverings combine fashion and function. Blinds and shades, for instance, open and close to provide the functionality of privacy and light control. Fashion at the window can be enhanced with the use of a window valance as a finishing touch. Without a valance, a window might seem bare or incomplete. Many window-covering manufacturers offer matching valances for blinds and shades to provide a nice, contemporary look. You can also use upholstered or fabric valances to soften the look at the window.

Accent furniture: Furniture pieces—accent tables, cabinets, bookcases, ottomans, planters—often provide nice finishing touches. Find the perfect spot for one or more of these pieces, but be careful not to overdo it, or your room might look end up looking cluttered. Add some flair to a furniture piece with a decorative color wash or a chalk paint finish. Find tabletop accessory pieces from your favorite home décor store to complement the finish.

Think in odd numbers: When adding accessories to tabletops, shelves, or mantelpieces, don’t get even—be odd. Odd numbers of accessories (typically threes or fives) provide more visual interest than even numbers. When grouping accessories, you might also try varying their sizes. For instance, three candleholders in varying heights will add more visual interest than three identical candleholders.

Dress up walls: If your walls look a little plain, accessorize them. Peel-and-stick wall décor, such as WallPops from Brewster Home Fashions or Wall Decals from York Wallcoverings, are a quick, easy way to enhance walls with a visual element: florals, geometrics, inspirational words, even cityscapes. And whenever you want to change the look, you can peel them off without inflicting any damage on the wall. You might also want to consider stenciling. Think stenciling is old-fashioned? Think again. Today’s manufacturers offer a full array of designs, allowing you to bring home your vision and personality.