We have some upcoming installations and that means one thing: STYLING! I discovered years ago that styling is an essential element of a successful interior design installation. Without that layer, the new room just falls flat. When we don’t style a room it looks like it was robbed…. by a very tidy thief.
It takes a lot of accessories to furnish one room. On a recent installation, our team pulled up with a large box truck and a fully packed car and my client asked in surprise “Is all that coming in here?” Yep. We have several years of historical data so thankfully, we’re able to calculate how many accessories we need and a rough per square foot budget.
Interior Design Tip: If you’re calculating a furniture budget, we recommend you allocate 10%-15% of your overall budget for accessories. At Ruxana’s Home Interiors, we DO NOT consider area rugs, pillows, or draperies to be accessories because they are an essential and integral part of the design.
Because we want our projects to be as unique as our clients we love to incorporate items that are specific to their lives or hobbies. I hate cookie-cutter design so although we source from several of our vendors, I also keep an inventory of unique and one-of-a-kind items. Where do I find these items, you ask? Antique stores!
The best thing about shopping at antique stores, estate sales and auctions is that it gives you a lovely “collected over time” quality. Do you want your home to look like you walked into a furniture store and bought the floor display?! Not only are items from antique stores unique, but they’re also better for our carbon footprint.
I used to buy and sell antiques and although those days are behind me, I’ve spent countless hours in auction houses, scouring antique malls and visiting estate sales and I’m sharing my top tips.
My own home is filled with art from antique stores and street artists we discover when we’re traveling abroad. Using vintage art adds a great deal of elegance to a space. I’m tired of mass-produced art from box stores with cliched scenes and trite sayings.
Unless you are a serious collector, my tip when looking for secondhand artwork is to not worry about the origins of the work. If you like it and it has a place in your home that’s all that matters. And don’t worry about cracked or ugly frames and you can always get it reframed.
Finding small quirky, intriguing pieces of décor adds interest and can even be a conversation starter. In the antique world, these items are referred to as ‘smalls.’
This category is broad and can include small objects you can use to style coffee tables, and bookcases, or to add something unexpected to a bedside table.
Small Decor & Accents
There are no rules here, but I recommend you look for decorative accents that tell a story and feel unique—items like small sculptures, vases, and busts. I collect dog sculptures that I have tucked in our bookcases and on our coffee table on a stack of books. This includes a pair of foo dogs I love!
Candlesticks are surprisingly expensive and after a large full-gut renovation, clients may have financial fatigue so when I find good-quality candlesticks, I buy them. It allows me to stretch the styling budget without sacrificing the overall aesthetic. The same for vases and catchpots. I’m thrilled when clients have Simon Pearce vases on hand for photoshoots but when they don’t, having a selection of vases in various sizes and colors makes arranging flowers easier.
You can’t have enough books! And I’m not just saying that because I’m married to a bibliophile.
Much to my husband’s chagrin, I buy most books purely for aesthetics. They add personality and undeniable charm to a bookshelf or nightstand. They can be artfully stacked on a coffee table to create a visually appealing centerpiece; they can be thoughtfully arranged on a bookshelf, where they serve both a functional element, as well as an aesthetic one, adding depth and dimension.
Using second-hand books instead of purchasing new ones is a more sustainable and environmentally friendly choice saving them from the unfortunate fate of ending up in a landfill! It also stretches our clients’ styling budget.
Tableware and Dining Accents
Tableware and dining accents are the unsung heroes of kitchen and dining room décor. I happen to love vintage china. I have several of my mother’s pieces and even a few from my husband’s mother and grandmother.
Beyond the table
Soup tureens, platters, plates, and bowls, meticulously curated, can be functional, and practical. They add panache to your kitchen counters or dining room hutch. For example, take a plant you bought from the grocery store, remove the garish-colored foil, and place it in a soup tureen, and that $9 Trader Joe’s plant is instantly elevated.
I use an oval ironstone bowl on a tray in our living room that corrals the remotes. It transforms the utilitarian into functional art. Much like a well-organized bookshelf, a thoughtfully arranged china cabinet can create a beautiful backdrop for festive holiday dinners. Each piece, whether chosen for its unique design or sentimental value, adds depth and dimension to a dining room.
Click to read PART II
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