Ten Tips for Accessory Arrangement

How do you avoid a cluttered look when you’re decorating with accessories?  How do you keep your beloved family photos and your figurines in your newly redecorated room?   Yes, having accessories that coordinate with your décor is important, but placing them properly is even more important.  

Those accessories you were about to replace may just get a new lease on life by creating attractive groupings within your room.   Try these ten tips for arranging accessories in your living room, bedroom, bathroom and kitchen:

  1. Group accessories in odd-numbers– one, three or five works best.  Using one item is only recommended for larger accessories – such as a throw on a sofa.   Save the pairings for formal rooms, such as the living room or dining room.
  2. Don’t place accessories any old place you have an empty space.  Groupings have more impact than having everything spread out in the room.  You don’t need to fill every surface, sometimes less is more.
  3. Use varying heights in groupings to create visual interest.  A group of three photographs; short, medium and tall work much better together than three of the same height;
  4. When grouping photographs, using frames all in one finish creates a cohesive look to the grouping.  Even using all black and white photos or sepia toned coordinates the grouping.
  5. Start big and work your way down.  When accessorizing your room, add the larger pieces first, then create the groupings around the larger items.  After each addition, take a step back and see how it looks when you enter the room.
  6. Don’t be afraid to be a copycat.  Notice accessories in magazine layouts, you can copy your favorite accessory looks in your room. 
  7. Group similar items together.  Any collection looks better grouped together for impact rather than spread out.  Have a figurine collection?  Don’t scatter them throughout the room.  Create impact by displaying together on shelf, preferably at eye level.
  8. Find the focal point. Arrange everything around one major object  - usually the largest object - to center the grouping.   For instance, try a lovely hand painted candy dish with purple flowers next to a tall purple vase and a small plant, such as an African violet.
  9. Use lighting to highlight your grouping.  Uplighting or accent lighting can provide just the touch for spotlighting your display.
  10. Know when to stop.  Don’t feel compelled to use each and every piece and fill every spot – that’s how rooms end up looking cluttered.  Take whatever accessories are left over and either move them to another room or box them up and take them to a consignment shop or hold a yard sale.
Your accessories are the personality of your room, let them shine through by arranging them properly.  They should add to and complement your décor, not overwhelm it.