The Little Things

By Chelle Cordero

June 19, 2009 5 min read


Accents shape up boring rooms and provide variety

Chelle Cordero

Creators News Service

Well-placed accents can turn a humdrum room into something that vibrates with personal energy. Your choice of colors and placement will do more than just decorate -- it can set a mood or create a focal point and bring the look of a room together and make it into a "home."

Most pieces are minor and complement or contrast the room around it. Some common accents include candles, throw pillows, blankets, mirrors, pictures, sculptures and assorted knickknacks. All you need to start is a theme and purpose.

The J.C. Penney Custom Decorating Department suggests choosing designs and items that reflect your lifestyle, filled with colorful patterns, interesting textures, asymmetric cuts and graceful layers.

Professional interior decorators will often use "the rule of three" when finishing a room, and it's a tip that you can use too. Create a visual balance by grouping tabletop or mantle items in threes. Using this repeated pattern will bring the room together and create a coordinated look.

One way is by choosing a color scheme of complementary colors or matching hues, grouping like three objects of different textures or look-alikes of different sizes. Some other examples might be placing complementary vases of varying heights together, or a rectangular mantle clock with a tall, slender lamp and a horizontal stack of books.

No matter how you arrange, make a plan and stick to it in order to avoid a cluttered and uncoordinated look. You can also choose accents that also have function such as a coat rack near the entryway, throw pillows for a reclining sofa or decorative coasters on the coffee table.

Avoid filling a room with non-essential and misfit items. Accents should be pleasing to the eye and/or provide comfort and relaxation. Base your color scheme on the furniture -- walls can be repainted and knick-knacks can be replaced far easier that having a sofa reupholstered.

If you are a student of Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese art of space arrangement that uses laws of nature to placement, colors and textures, then you will also understand that the proper placement of objects add to harmony, efficiency and wellbeing. Certain colors such as subtle blues and pale greens are restful for bedrooms while vibrant reds and orange go well in active playrooms.

These rules also apply to your accents and can aid in creating a pleasant and flowing room. It is believed that the right combinations will help you to feel more relaxed, productive and improve your personal harmony.

In Feng Shui, green is a color of freshness, peace and growth. Decorative orange, yellow and browns are great for health and relationships. Metal wind chimes and other metal accents are good for creativity. Decorating with small fountains, water-themed paintings or aquariums is good for careers. Use earth tones and colors that resemble skin tones, as they will create a warm feeling in the master bedroom -- this includes pink, brown, beige, yellow, cream, and sand.

Bamboo is also a hot decorating trend. Scores of industry experts agreed that natural, sustainable products such as bamboo were among the hotter trends for 2009 this past February at the Las Vegas Market Center Home Show. Decorate any room with hand-embroidered fabrics, pillows and curtains in exotic styles and hot colors for a trend that incorporates global goods while keeping your accents sustainable.

"Consumers are buying responsibly now more than ever before. Earth preservation has hit the mainstream and is here to stay," said Margaret Casey, director of programming for World Market Center in Las Vegas.

"At this market I'm seeing a lot of trends towards the sustainable end of interiors," said Barclay Butera, an interior designer named one of House Beautiful's Top 125 designers. "When you walk around this market, there is so much diversity and a different approach to interiors."

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