Think beyond the scrapbook when it comes to those special menus, train schedules, theater stubs, and photographs. Group a coordinated set of small frames holding ephemera from your last trip. A map on the wall is a gorgeous alternative to store-bought prints.
While choosing the right accessories is important, arranging them right is key to full-on accessorizing success. Here's how to arrange accessories on your coffee table like a pro.
For all you flea market fans -- or parents who just can’t bear to toss the kids' beloved race cars and baby dolls -- old-school toys are some of the sweetest room accessories you can find. Group them together on a vintage display table like this one, or in sets of three around a room, to give a nostalgic feel to any space.
You're not condemned to a room full of clutter you like to load your shelves with keepsakes and collectibles. Use trays, baskets, bowls and vases to organize tabletop treasures, grouping like-colored or themed pieces together. A neat stack of favorite books always looks great. If you've got a complete collection of one item, consider hitting the antique shop or home store for a display cabinet that gathers all the pieces into one striking set-up. Hint: Glass-front displays cabinets mean no dusting!
There’s perhaps no collection that’s easier, cheaper or prettier to display than books. Hit an estate sale to snap up local-themed tomes that you can mine for wall art within the pages. Shop the thrift-store for paperbacks or hardcovers all in one color -- most are handsomely clothbound beneath the dust cover. Or gather together your beloved favorites with a pretty ribbon for a simple table-topper.
Arrange your favorite objects in tight groups. Switch up heights and shapes in displays to make collections read more like art. If you have a collection that you’re worried will go clattering to the ground with a slight nudge of the coffee table, bind pieces together with a cute ribbon or a piece of neutral garden twine.
1. A grouping of white accessories against a black background is one of the coolest looks you can pull off. Brilliant green plants look amazing in crisp white rooms. The ping of an orange lamp base in a quietly neutral room commands attention. When you make a little visual noise with a piece that you love, the result is really striking.
If you're looking for a budget-friendly way to liven up a wall, consider a collection of mirrors. You can have a lot of fun shopping in crafts stores to garage sales to find mirrors of varying size, shape and age—you won't find a less expensive accessory if you need to fill a huge wall fast. If you're going for a set, unify by painting the frames the same color, or just let the use itself be the through-line.
Recreational gear will take you to your happy place, fast. Are you a lake lover? Hang a handmade canoe paddle on the wall. Sailing your thing? Group gorgeous model boats on the mantle. Are you a beach bum? A vintage life preserver is instant wall art. Wistful for your backpacking days? Frame maps of the places you've hiked. Do you daydream of the slopes? Antique skis and snowshoes are all over eBay. Think of what makes you happy -- and gravitate there with a room design.
Look to your game closet for some accessory inspiration. Wall-sized Scrabble tiles can customize a word-crazy kid’s room. Add a spot of fun in the family room by mounting vintage game boards on the wall (feel free to take them down when you’re ready for a quick round of backgammon). Classic British pub dartboards look great -- you can buy squares of slate and drill holes to hang for a good-looking and functional way to tally the scores.
Your attic collection of old band instruments and sheet music can make an instant accessory theme for the music lover. Frame the sheet music or place the instruments on mounted shelving. Musical note wall decals add a tuneful touch.
If you have a collection that's striking by itself alone, you don't have to get fancy with grouping or displays. Simply line a wall-length shelf to border the room with your pieces. This works great with collections of globes, pitchers, plates, apothecary jars, vintage cookbooks, and pottery.
Just because you have a large gathering space doesn’t mean every accessory in it should be large. Vary the height, size and texture of the pieces in a room for the most visually pleasing look. Same goes for a small space -- an oversized wallpaper print makes a big impact with a compact chair and a few sweet accessories.
If you’re a plant lover, you’ve got lots of great options for accessories. You can cultivate your own terrarium, or fill Mason jars (or fun coffee cups or old trophies) with herbs for a mini-greenhouse effect. Track down some old botany books, and frame your favorite pages.
If your room is short on space but you like to entertain, the space-saving stool is cool. Go for the Moroccan pouf, or choose a classic design with hidden storage. A small seat is also a good way to experiment with high-impact fabrics -- don’t shy away from animal prints or busy patterns. You’ve got nothing to lose when the piece is only taking up a foot of real estate.
If you had an entirely empty room, except for an amazing rug? You'd still have an awesome space. That's how important your floor covering choice can be. You can rarely go wrong with a classic Persian, or a crazy-deep statement-making shag. But don't write off the possibility of a fresh pattern or a bold color -- especially if your walls are neutral and your palette is otherwise mellow