The holidays are over and the decorations are all put away (or will be soon!) and your house feels a little blah, right? Understandable. January is always a month we want to give our interiors a little refresh. So, let’s talk about my favorite way to do this with accessories. I’m willing to bet you already have quite a few of these.
1) Conversational Pieces
The best accessories are the ones that define your own personal style and tell the story of you and your family. Using decorative pieces that have been passed down through a family for generations can add a unique and personal touch to a space. These items often have a rich history and sentimental value, which can make them great conversation starters when people see them displayed in a home.
Pro tip: Don’t worry if you don’t have any family heirlooms. Explore estate sales and flea markets for unique conversational pieces that have interesting histories or uses. As a rule of thumb, if you come across an item that you are drawn to, consider it a keeper.
2) Vase or Bowl
Vases can be filled with fresh flowers to add a pop of color and bring life to a space, or they can be left empty as a statement piece. Bowls can be used to hold fruit, serve as a catchall for keys and other small items, or simply be displayed as a decorative element. Mix and match different sizes, shapes, and materials for a cohesive yet eclectic look. Grouping vases and bowls together can also make for a visually interesting display. When decorating with vases and bowls, consider the style of the room and choose pieces that complement the overall aesthetic.
3) Small Art
Perhaps you have an artist in your family (lucky you!) but if not a great place to find art and make it memorable is to pick up pieces along your travels. It doesn’t even have to be a large piece. Get in the habit of picking up little 8x10s when you travel. They can be unframed prints or canvases and they make great little pieces to prop up in bookshelves to add texture and color.
4) Table Top Pieces
Every family has that one dish that is always used when a certain recipe is served. Maybe it’s the family turkey platter. Why not make it a display piece? Sometimes that platter can sit up in your kitchen and become an accessory rather than be stored in a cabinet only to be used once a year. Rethinking these pieces as accessories gives them a whole new purpose.
5) Cookie Jar
Special treats are naturally going to elicit special memories. My aunt has a large commercial sized mayonnaise jar that she always stores her homemade cookies and treats in. It’s nothing special, yet it’s still proudly displayed in her beautiful kitchen. These are things that are more sentimental. You can buy accessories anywhere, but using things that mean something to you makes your house a home.
With more and more people switching to Kindles and reading on their iPads, book purchases have been on the decline. As a result, we’ve been seeing fewer books in people’s homes. But I’ve noticed a trend of people starting to buy books again, and I’m really happy about it. I think having actual books, even cookbooks, can add such a personal touch to a home. We often put a couple of really pretty cookbooks on the kitchen shelf when we’re styling a space. It fills it up nicely, adds some color, and gives a sense of the homeowners’ interests or travels.
7) Handmade Items
Handmade items often have a special meaning or story behind them and make a meaningful addition to your home. I have many beloved items in my home – one of them being a pig-shaped cutting board that my husband made as Christmas gifts for us and our siblings when we were newly married. Most of our siblings still display them in their kitchens. Recently, I visited a client’s home and saw that she had a similar pig-shaped cutting board. She told me that it was her most treasured item in her kitchen because it was so unique and well-loved. By seeking out local artisans, you can find one-of-a-kind pieces and support the local community. There are many ways to find great handmade home accessories. By seeking out local artisans, you can find one-of-a-kind pieces and support the local community. Local markets and art crawls are a great place to start, as you can often meet the makers in person and learn about their process and techniques. Online marketplaces and social media platforms, like Etsy and Instagram, are also excellent sources for finding handmade items.
8) Picture Frames
Picture frames are a great and personal accessory! I don’t know about you but I sometimes get tired of seeing the same frame and image sitting there. So, I have a box filled with framed pictures and I rotate them with each season or sometimes each holiday. It’s fun because my family enjoys them more that way, too. Even my two-year old granddaughter recognized her uncle from his senior picture–how fun is that? Printing pictures anymore is a novelty, so don’t forget to print your pictures and display those memories.
A few months ago we were styling a client’s whiskey room and it was just missing something. Everything was dark, with clean, modern lines and so we added a soft throw over a leather chair and that was it! The texture and softness was exactly what the room needed to pop. We all use blankets so why not make them part of your decor?
10) Family Clock
This may be showing the old-fashioned Julia, but for years (during our grandparents’ generation) clocks were frequently given as gifts–perhaps for a wedding, anniversary or retirement. Sometimes they were mantle clocks or brass clocks under a glass cachet or even pocket watches. When I can find a clock in a client’s home I always use it. It’s just a great reminder of how precious time truly is.