This is a weird tip, but it totally works! Here’s how to get a designer look with accessories:
Buy accessories at least big as your head.
When you look at a design mag or gorgeous interior photos on Pinterest, one of the things that gives a room a “designer look” is the accessories and how they’re styled. And if you start to pay attention you’ll find that most designers use large-scale accessories.
Check out the photo above. Vase with flowers? Bigger than my head. Framed artwork leaning on the piano? Definitely bigger than my head. Brass vase with ferns? Maybe as big as my head…but on top of the stack of books, it’s bigger for sure.
Small accessories tend to look like clutter, even when they’re grouped together. Think of your Grandma’s china cabinet. No matter how organized and neat all of those tchotchkes were, that thing looked like a hot mess!
If you want to get a designer look with accessories,
fewer larger ones are far more effective than a collection of curiosities.
Large vases, bowls, plants, bookends – and even brass peace-sign hands – look awesome as styling accessories. And if something’s feeling too small, place it on top of a stack of hardcover books or a decorative box to give it more importance.
What about candles, you might ask? They’re not usually as big as your head.
Yup, you’re right. I’d consider candles the exception to this rule. But it the majority of your accessories are as big as your noggin, a more delicate candle will be a welcome visual change.
With a few styling secrets like this in your back pocket, you can get a kickass designer look in your own home too. And I’ve got a FREE printable Cheat Sheet that you can unlock right here to help you out when accessorizing your own home.
Let’s get your home ready for the new year! It’s worth taking a day or two in December to clear out what’s not working from 2019 and give your home a freshening up for 2020. Here’s how I do it.
You had to know this one was coming, right? It’s time to KonMari the crap out of your home. While I love Marie Kondo’s concept of deciding if an item in your home “sparks joy”, if you’re not getting a clear answer on that (or if EVERYTHING sparks joy and you can’t let go of anything!), ask yourself this:
“Do I use this item, or do I love it?”
Those are the criteria I use as a filter to make decisions as to whether or not I’m keeping something. I have to either use it (like my boring but functional spatulas), love it (like the antique wooden bookends I inherited from my grandmother), or both (like my favorite cropped leather jacket).
If you use it and/or love it, it stays. If not…buh-bye. Go through your closets, drawers, and shelves. Don’t forget about your furniture too. If there’s something you’ve been living with that you just can’t stand, it might be time to invest in replacing it.
If the item is worth over $50, sell it! If it’s still in great shape but less valuable, consider donating it to a local shelter, mission, or Christmas gift drive.
Got rid of all the stuff that’s been weighing you down? Bust out the all-purpose cleaner and scrub scrub scrub. Baseboards? Check. Ceiling fans? Check. Replace the air filter? Check.
Whether you deep-clean your home yourself or hire it out (a very, very worthy investment in my books!), you’ll be stunned with how much better, fresher, and lighter your house feels.
Alright, the hard stuff is over. You’ve done the emotional work of letting go of things you no longer use or love, and you’ve deep-cleaned your house like a madwoman.
Now, let’s have some fun! Here’s your chance to start busting out of boring. Getting your home ready for the new year isn’t just about buying some pretty new things (although that’s coming, so hang tight), but it’s about taking a look at what you already have with fresh eyes and giving it a new life.
Gather up allllll the decorative accessories in your home. Think: bowls, hardcover books, houseplants, candles, bookends, knicknacks. Spread them out in one room where you can see everything at once.
At first glance, you’ll probably notice some things that you’re tired of, that are outdated, or just no longer reflect your style. Give them a little love, and then GET THEM OUT OF THERE. (See: #1 Purge, above.)
Use what’s left and restyle your home.
Have you had that white ceramic bowl on your kitchen counter for years? See how it looks perched on a stack of hardcover books in your living room. Has that potted plant been in your living room forever? See if you like it on your kitchen counter.
The idea is to take a look at what you already have and shop your own home before going out and buying new things. Sometimes a fresh perspective and moving things around can give a room a whole new look.
You’ve worked with what you have (congrats, you!) and hopefully most of your rooms are feeling pretty fresh and peppy after your awesome restyle. But mayyyybe there are a couple of things missing. Like, wouldn’t your coffee table look great with a large brass tray on it? And wouldn’t your bookshelf look totally pulled-together with a framed piece of art sitting on that empty shelf?
This is the time to make a list –
– a very specific list – and go shopping. (Or, hire your favorite designer – me – to do a Design Strategy Session with you where we can shop and style your home in a day! Contact me for deets).
Stick with your list, and don’t get seduced by cool things that don’t have a place. You have so much great stuff already – this shopping trip is just to fill-in-the-blanks with a few key accessories.
Girl, you’ve earned it. You’ve worked your buns off to bust out of boring and your home is organized, tidy, cleaned, and super styled. Go get some afternoon shut-eye.
Start the new year in a kickass home you love with these 5 tips to get your home ready for the new year: Purge, Clean, Restyle, Accessorize, and Nap.
PS. Lesley Myrick Art + Design is taking a break for the Christmas holidays. We’ll be back in January 2020 (after some serious holiday accessorizing and napping!) with the big reveal of Lesley’s Texas home tour. See you next year!
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Get ready to kickstart your interior design project and plan your budget like a boss! Download our FREE super helpful guide with room-by-room furnishing budgets and printable worksheets.
Every designer has their go-to styling kit – those must-have accessories to finish off a room and add the final decorative touches. So what’s in my styling toolbox at Lesley Myrick Art + Design?
Here are the accessories that I use regularly to style a room for photography and finish it off beautifully.
Fresh Flowers + Vases.
Girl, fresh flowers just can’t be beat to make a room look amazing. I never want a floral arrangement to be a scene-stealer though. Flowers are there to complement the design and bring a natural, organic element – not be the center of attention. For a photo shoot I like a low, wide arrangement in a vase with cool texture or detail. And you’ve gotta have a little greenery sticking out.
Want a room to look beautiful? Light a candle. They bring a special sparkle and warmth that just can’t be beat, both in real life and in photographs.
Magazines + books.
Stacks of books and magazines are an interior designer’s best friends. Need a little texture and color? Add a row of pretty hardcover books. Need a platform to raise an accessory up higher so things feel balanced? Place it on a stack of magazines. Seriously, books and magazines are indispensable when accessorizing a room and help a space feel truly lived-in.
I love to corral
Glass and crystal decanters bring a hip element and just a little sparkle to a space. Even if you don’t drink, they sure look pretty! I have a collection of vintage decanters that belonged to my grandmother, and I love using them for the vintage vibe they bring to a modern space. And I totally love this decanter with the word “booze” emblazoned in gold script.
Draped over a metal chair or layered on top of a patterned rug, I’m a sucker for a good sheepskin. You can use them anywhere! I have one on the back of a wing chair in my living room, under the dresser in my bedroom, on the armrest of the upholstered glider in my kids’ room…you get it. They’re versatile. And chic. And furry!
Now that you know what the 6 go-to accessories are in my styling toolbox – flowers and vases, candles, magazines and books, trays, decanters, and a sheepskin – you’ll probably spot them in just about every photo in my portfolio! Busted.
I’ve got a printable freebie for you with 7 Designer Styling Secrets to help you take your room from unfinished to unbelievably awesome. Grab it right here.
Have you ever thought about how to style your room for an online video meeting? If you’ve ever virtually met with someone on FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, GoToMeeting, Google Hangouts, or other video conferencing software, you know that what’s seen behind you matters.
Everything in the background shows up on camera, even things you wish didn’t! (Case in point – all the backgrounds from my weekly Facebook Live show, Bust Out of Boring.) I’ve had video meetings before where the person was sitting in their messy bedroom with an unmade bed in the background. Let me tell you – no matter how professional someone is, staring at their untidy bedroom is a major distraction!
So how can you make your room look best on camera for a meeting or an interview, and make you look your best too?
Choose an appropriate location.
I don’t care how pretty your bedroom is – it’s just weird to meet with someone in such an intimate space! When choosing a location for a virtual meeting or conference, think about where you’d actually meet with someone if they came to your home. I doubt you’d be snuggling up in bed together.
Less is more in a video background. Be sure to remove any obvious clutter, like loose papers, items that don’t belong in that room, and cords and cables. Consider decluttering even more ruthlessly and removing excess items to keep your backdrop from becoming a distraction. (You might just have to stick a pile of stuff in another room for a little while!)
Clean and Organize.
Do a quick dusting and vacuuming. You never know what someone on the other side of the camera might be looking at! Pay attention to any obvious signs of wear seen behind you – stains, tears, or damaged items don’t convey you in your best light.
Be selective about what’s seen behind you.
Make sure nothing looks like it’s growing out of your head. Clear out anything that’s too personal or inappropriate for a professional setting. You might be meeting virtually in your home, but it’s important to treat your space like the professional you are. The last thing you want is a potential employer blushing when he spots “The Complete Illustrated Kama Sutra” guide
Set up the right lighting.
Natural light is awesome, and you should definitely use it to your advantage! But a ring light on a stand will be your best friend for looking
Want a little more guidance on how to style your room for an online video meeting? I’ve got 7 designer styling secrets to share with you in this FREE cheat sheet download.
I know, I know – interior designers make styling look easy! But if you’ve ever tried to accessorize your living room, arrange a bookshelf, or style your kitchen countertop, you know it’s not as easy as it looks.
That’s why I’m sharing my cheat sheet with 7 Designer Styling Secrets. (There’s a free download for you at the end of this post!) Getting an expertly-styled space can be within reach once you know a few tips and tricks.
Tip #1: Create Balance
Use symmetrical (formal) or asymmetrical (informal) balance when you’re arranging a grouping of items. Symmetrical means that everything is the same on both sides (like a matching pair or lamps); asymmetrical means the items aren’t identical but have the same visual weight to balance each side out (like a lamp on one side, and a tall vase on the other).
When creating a grouping of accessories, always use odd numbers! Arrangements of 3 or 5 items look way better than things in even numbers, which can visually fall flat.
Tip #2: Pay Attention to Proportion and Height
Use stacked books or boxes as pedestals to display items on to create height, and look for vertical accessories like vases, branches, and candlesticks to break up horizontal items.
Tip #3: Have an Anchor
Choose one item in each grouping of accessories to become the “anchor” – the focal point. Allow the anchor item to take center stage, and for the other accessories to support it.
Tip #4: Less is More
Let your “anchor” accessory – your statement piece – shine. If something isn’t working, consider paring down! Sometimes taking away is better than adding an accessory. And as much as I love
Tip #5: Bookshelves Are a Beast!
Yeah, that’s not really a tip – just a heads up that styling bookshelves
Tip #6: Bring In Something Natural
Organic elements are often the missing item that can take a room from feeling incomplete to perfectly styled. Introduce florals and greenery (faux is fine!) to soften up your shelves or coffee table, and think about bringing in a tall potted plant to a lonely corner.
Tip #7: Buy More Than You Need (And Return the Rest)
Stylists always have options! Always buy more accessories than you think you need so you have the flexibility to play around and see what works best. You might be surprised what looks best in your home! Keep the price tags on, and return what doesn’t work in the end. Be sure to check the store’s return policy first.
Want to take these tips to go? Download your FREE printable cheat sheet with these 7 Designer Styling Secrets to reference when you’re decorating and styling your own home.