Accessorize Like a Pro

By Joseph Pubillones

December 15, 2018 4 min read

My first collection or attempt at displaying items as a child was boxes, made of any material — cardboard, wood or plastic. I would organize them by size and stack them in all sorts of arrangements. Now that I think of it, this was probably my first foray into architecture and interior design.

Accessorizing is one of the most fun aspects of decorating. Accessories can change the mood of a room. It can also make a room feel complete or, in some instances, not quite finished. There is an art to what makes for an interesting vignette, shelf or tablescape.

First and foremost, let's make a distinction between accessorizing and creating clutter. Accessorizing is creating artful arrangements for flowers, household items, collectibles and art in such a way that they almost seem to tell a story. Creating clutter is just plain old filling tabletop space with random incongruous items. Most anyone can tell where there is clutter and when there has been little or no effort to arrange and control it. As a matter of fact, clutter can be arranged and edited so it looks like a good assemblage of accessories.

In accessorizing, an important thing to consider is composition, which can be symmetrical, asymmetrical or seemingly haphazard. Everyone has their own preference. The shape of the composition is really a personal choice. The number of items you have to display — whether you have a single item, a pair or a group of three — they can be assembled in a myriad of ways.

Also contemplate displaying groups of similar items. For example, a table full of decorative obelisks of every material imaginable. Likewise, a collection of cut-glass objet d'art, and other-cut glass items such as water pitchers, vases and candleholders, make for a great group. These groupings start to let your company know of your interests or hobbies. From an interior design point of view, this is a good thing!

Another type of grouping is a selection of items of a single color. A variety of disparate items can be linked by displaying ones with a unifying color. Imagine, for example, a collection of cobalt blue turn-of-the-century medicine bottles of different shapes and sizes. Let your mind run wild with what interests you. Your visitors will be mesmerized by how interesting you are.

The scale of items can also be an intriguing element of a display. For example, chairs — for adults, children or dolls — can be displayed side by side, or stacked to create an unusual composition and conversation piece. The options are endless!

Lastly, no place in your home should be off limits for a display. Any surface can serve to show off your things. A fireplace mantel, a windowsill, a nightstand, a skirted table, a dresser or a display case can act as a collector for your items.

Joseph Pubillones is the owner of Joseph Pubillones Interiors, an award-winning interior design firm based in Palm Beach, Florida. His website is To find out more about Joseph Pubillones and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

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