Tribune News Service
When designing a house, it is easy to get caught up in the big things - the large purchase items that take up space and set the tone for the rest of the room. Then, once the walls are painted or papered, light fixtures are installed, the rugs are laid, and the furniture is in (and flawless), the room still looks half-done. Now comes the task of artfully adding the finishing touches.
When I think of finishing a room, my goal is to turn it from a house to a home. I want my spaces to feel elegant and refined, but also alive and lived in. I do this by adding accessories to my flat surfaces. All rooms - I'm talking living room, bedroom, dining room, kitchen and even the bathroom - can benefit from thoughtfully curated accessories. While I am always moving pieces around and adding to my collection, below you'll find some of my current go-to touches.
Whether you have a traditional coffee table or prefer an ottoman in your living room, there are many ways to add depth and texture. I like to layer items using a large tray and building up. Not only is this technique functional, it gives you many opportunities to add color and pattern. I like to use everyday items like wine bottles, glassware, napkins and books to build vignette displays (at least in homes without little ones running around). I also love to incorporate greenery and flowers to add freshness to indoor spaces. My biggest obsession right now? Coffee table books. I find the beautiful photos within them inspirational, and they make for great conversation starters when I have guests. And of course, they are fantastic to style with, too!
The dining room can be a tricky room to decorate, especially if you use it as a formal area that is not frequently used. I find the dining room a great area to keep some of my favorite bottles on display. A gorgeous silver platter elevates a surface into a bar area perfect for pouring after-dinner drinks. A silver tea set or a pair of lamps are great alternatives that bring in an extra element of color or texture to your space. Using the same techniques from above, you can incorporate everyday items onto your surfaces to build height. Another trick: Keep the table set. Just because the room isn't in constant use doesn't mean it shouldn't look soiree-ready. Creating a tablescape can be time consuming. Leaving it up for all to enjoy makes it worthwhile.
Adding personal touches to your bedroom will make a big difference in comfort. You want to come home to a space that makes you feel relaxed. I try to balance my love for maximalism (never enough pillows or vignettes for me!) with my husband's simplistic style by keeping clutter to a minimum and displaying items I actually use such as my evening glass of water and ring holder (plus a space to dump my handbag after a long day). When it comes to a guest room, I like to keep an easy upkeep plant on the side table to make the room feel alive and lived in so out-of-towners feel at ease. Adding books and more indirect light sources helps make everyone feel at home when visiting.
You might be thinking no one will notice the decor in your bathrooms, but it can make a huge difference. Carrying your theme or palette into every space no matter how small takes your home to the next level and gives an air of homey elegance that can't be beat. Keeping essentials like Q-tips and towels in decorative containers makes the space both stylish and functional. Don't forget that art looks amazing in any room, no matter how small. Pair a couple of similar pieces to make the wall appear larger. Another decor trick I love in a bathroom is tying the window treatment in with the shower curtain. It creates a great flow for the eye and shows an attention to detail that will be sure to please.
I like to use practical or functional decor in the kitchen. Wooden cutting boards come in so many shapes, sizes and finishes that they make the perfect addition. I don't think it's possible to display too many at once. I use them against the kitchen backsplash to break it up and create a more intriguing backdrop. I also use them on countertops and tables to both serve food and display decorative pieces. The look of natural wood doesn't compete with the other beautiful things in the room and adds a nice organic element to the space. They pair well with decorative bowls, fun glasses and colored napkins for the perfect kitchen vignette.
The best part of incorporating finishing touches into a space is you can continuously add and rearrange for fresh, new looks. Switch accessories between rooms until you find the perfect mix.
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