How and Where to begin...

Start with functional accessories- lamps, books, blankets, mirrors, rugs, fireplace.
After you have "function", "fill in" with ornamental objects.
Decide whether you want a formal or informal feeling.
Wood and clay are more casual.
Fine porcelain, silver and brass are more formal.

The objects (accessories) should not complete, but rather highlite a concept.
Example: no oriental accessorues in a country styled room.
Colors should compliment your color scheme.
Accessories should fill gaps, but not detract from overall look.
Remember - The right accessories may take years to obtain. Avoid buying for the sake of buying. Make accessories personal and meaningful.

When grouping objects:

Avoid too many small objects that have no emphasis. In any grouping there should always be one object that is slightly larger than the others → makes it more interesting and important. Think of a triangle theory (see below!).
If items are similar in height and style, lay them out in a line and play with their spacing. Allow for tension between the accessories.
If items are small, find a tray they can sit on to pull them together as a unit.
If the items larger, they should all be the same to work in the line sequence.

Repetition of the same object shows importance.
Change accessories with the seasons (fall/winter - more intense colors and spring/summer - lighter or more floral).

Pictures, Art and Frames:

Pick what you like and what you can afford.
If it's an expensive piece, buy it and then buy furniture, to follow the colour scheme.
The depth and use of color determines whether 2 small pictures can be grouped together—not subject matter.
Furniture should be used to anchor a picture; center of picture should sit just above sitting eye level (approx. 6" - 8" above the sofa). — If it's hung so the picture is at eye level while standing, it will be too high.

Use larger pictures alone, and group small pictures to read as a unit.
When grouping try to create a straight outside edge.


Mirrors should reflect something attractive.
Hang it so the center is at eye level.
Determine character / style of room, when choosing a mirror.
A mirror can be mixed with pictures to create grouping.


Sets of books should be grouped as units but not in a nice row.
Vary some upright and some stacked with different heights.
Intersperse with objects or pictures.
Use heavier books on bottom shelves.


Don't have to match. They just need to coordiante!
Height and proportion should be equal.
Also, blend lamps in character.


If important to you, it's important to show!!!
Collections will read better and have more strength if they are grouped.
Collections add personality to a room.
Choose a room that will harmonize with the collection.

Rules for arranging: strive for balance and proportion!
Symmetrical balance means that if the arrangement was split in half, each side would reflect the other.
Basic elements of equal distribution of size and weight create a more formal feeling, and is much easier to achieve.
Symmetry is easy to achieve.
Asymmetrical balance can be more exciting and dramatic, but is more difficult to achieve.
For asymmetrical balance, you can use a variety of different objects or many of the same type.
Restraint the number of objects and placement of these objects is essential to pull off this look.

Odd vs. Even:

Even number of objects creates more stability and is more formal.
Odd numbers are less structural, more fun, and create flow of line.
A singular object alone highlights its importance.

Good Base Triangle Theory:

When grouping, start with tallest, then place the tallest next to it. Add the next tallest in height to the middle. Progress to the smallest object using this technique.
If this is done properly, the eye should travel from a good triangle base, easily progressing upward towards the tallest object.

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