Accessories Make the Woman…and the Room Part 2

Ah….the art of the Accessory.  Coco Channel understood it.  Dior understood it.  My Aunt Sylvia understood it.  Accessories ‘make the woman’ or the outfit as it were.   Now this Philadelphia area interior designer will add:  Accessories also make the room  – particularly if you hope to create the ultimately, perfectly and most deliciously striking interior.

Clients don’t always remember to protect the required budget or focus required to complete a space right down to the last lamp and piece of artwork, but oh…when they do, when they do.  The results are magic.  Think of the accessories in a room like the lipstick, rouge and eyebrows of the face. Something just isn’t right without them.

One of my favorite things to do is fluff and puff a space, aka…accessorize it.  I particularly love doing it with clients once we’ve established the great trust that always develops between my clients and me.  By this I mean that they come to trust that I not only have their best interest at heart, but also that I understand how to bring beauty, balance and harmony to a room – and to do so via design that is not only a high end style, but also one that always expresses and anticipates THEIR style. The art of the accessory…

Never is this more fun to do than at photo shoots at clients homes.  In cases where my team and I  photograph  ‘just about finished’ interiors in a clients home,  I always need to bring in accessories to ‘finish things off.” And just as ‘always’ when people walk into their home or a room and and see their space transform to something ‘as it could be’ with a full accessory plan,  they always looove it and ask if they can purchase the items they see.

The Rules of the Road for Accessories That Make For Great Rooms

1. Remember to Protect Budget for end of the project when one pulls in the accessories.   Accessories are part of the notes in the music. Leave a few out and you’ll have some strange holes.

2.  Less is More. (Enough said).

3. Fewer, more important items will have greater and more striking impact than many little things. Always.

4.  Get out of Home Goods.  I mean it.  Like food shopping when you’re hungry, walk into that place without a plan and some know how and bad things can happen.  Don’t get me wrong. I can find wonnnderful finds in Home Goods. It can be a great off price resource for great little odds and ends,  some of which mimic the high end look of the objects d’art I see in  some of the finest showrooms and designer haunts around.  But… there are some real clunkers to be found there too. The take always is that you need to know what you’re doing, what you’re  looking for,  what looks high end and why – and you need to know when to walk away.  Otherwise, you will create a cluttered disaster and look like the QVC shopping who just couldn’t stop buying, buying, buying.  (Did I just say QVC?)

5. For impact, use accessories to move color through a room. It’s powerful.   I love the rule of 3.  Take a look at that rule in action.  (photos of BENCHENER MASTER BEDROOM)  Here, I am moving an important accent color through this master bedroom  by splashing the color on the wall in the framed series of artwork …..which is actually framed fabric (that’s #1, and yes, that’s framed fabric). Next the green morphs and jumps to the bed pillows (that’s #2) and finally our accent green color morphs slightly again and leaps onto the bench (that’s #3).  Wall, bed, bench. The rule of 3. (5 is a good one too…but you need to be careful on that one)

6 . Use accessories to add needed weight to a room, as I did in this same room. Note the plant stand and plant underneath that framed series in the photograph.  Without this, that wall read a little too sterile and light weight. The stand and plant grounded everything.

7.  It’s the different thing that creates the seasoning and interest.  Same accessory as noted in the above:  That plant stand.  It works so well in this space because it provides unexpected shine and shimmer in a sea of matte textures. Further, its curled, filigree notes are perfectly juxtaposed against all of the repetitive, straight, no -nonsense lines as seen in the strong plantation shutters, the exaggerated tuxedo pleating in the bedding I designed,  the series of 8 fabric squares, and the coffered ceiling which is further highlighted in yellow.  That little pop of golden shine and swirl is perfect.

Yes, my Aunt Sylvia would be proud of me.  I took the lesson.   I recall watching her with great fascination as she’d transform herself before the mirror when we’d get dressed to go to synagogue.  She’d was the smartest looking, most elegantly dressed woman I knew.  “Donnala,” she’d say with finality and without taking her gaze from the mirror, magically applying her red lipstick in one perfect swipe.  “When your grow up, make sure your shoes and your handbag are smart looking and in excellent condition or they will ruin the whole outfit.”  She’d fasten her pearls and off we’d head, my stylish aunt and I on our cherished walk together.   Now I deal in pillows instead of pearls.  Thanks Aunt Syl.