I have a thing for smalls. Not Smalls from The Sandlot (although I do love The Sandlot), but smalls as in home accessories. I actually have a whole big cabinet dedicated to smalls I don’t always use but never know when I might need them. There are brass horses, giraffes and multiple other varieties of brass accessories, trays, decorative vessels and lots of other little “smalls” that I just find pretty and have picked up at yard sales, thrift stores and T.J. Maxx for a few bucks.
At one time, I would have insisted on having every one of those smalls out on display. And while I had all these pretty things out, decorating with them, I could never figure out why it didn’t look that great. It was just ok. And then one day, I started clearing off surfaces, putting some of those smalls away. And I’ll be damned if the new vignettes / decorating moments / whatever you want to call them didn’t look 101 times better. Not to be a cliche, but sometimes less really is more.
How to Accessorize a Space Without Over-Accessorizing
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I have two general rules for accessorizing without over-accessorizing. Yep, two. So don’t say you can’t do this.
1. Try to decorate in threes.
Choose three accessories, preferably one small, one medium, one large but all generally comparable in size and use those for one space – a nightstand, the end of a buffet, etc. Now, there are many times, I may only use two things or more than three, but you have to play with it a little more to get it to work.
2. Arrange the three accessories in a triangle formation.
It doesn’t have to be your typical triangle – it can be sideways or a right triangle or whatever. Just try to arrange them in a triangle formation.
Here are my favorite “small” decorating moments I’ve done. I think I can show you how to accessorize a space without over-accessorizing better than tell you. Practice what I preach, right? What’s up with the cliches in this post??
Take a look at the edge of this buffet. My threes are the potted succulent, the bust and the unicorn. I really liked the look of the succulent behind the bust and unicorn, but the pot was short, so I actually propped it on top of a decorative box that you really can’t see too much. And notice how I created the triangle with it too?
Recently, I used that same brass unicorn in another vignette on the opposite side of the buffet as shown below. This time though, I kind of used my lamp tassel and lamp as one of the smalls. Again, I propped the gnome up on the box because he was too short.
This is like the perfect rule of three and triangle right here. These are three pieces of faux jadeite I made. You’ve got three different sizes and all placed in a triangle formation. I added in a bracelet and old match books for a bit more interest.
This is one of my favorite vignettes, mainly because of the bull planter. Trays are great for containing items and making it look less cluttered. I don’t necessarily count the tray as one of my three or small decorating items, but more of a base. I count the wing tray, bull planter and books as my three. If they were all just arranged on the table without the tray, they wouldn’t look as put together. The tray helps to anchor them.
Of course, you already know this is my most favorite here. Yes, there are more than three things on the bench, but notice how they all work together in a triangle. Sometimes when you have something that’s a larger scale surface, like the bench, you need to use more than three things.
In this one, I only used two items because the random circles accent wall behind the print and Elvis bust was quite busy and kind of worked as an accessory all on its own.
This one is an oldie, but a goodie. Before I moved and made over the liquor cabinet, I had this setup in the narrow space between the upper and lower cabinets. My three main accessories are the hat (my great-grandfather’s), the brass bowl (which I put on top of books to raise it) and the vintage clock in the glass case. They all still make a triangle, but a lower one.
This one has a bit more going on, but I still think it works well because the surface of the nightstand was larger than usual. The lamp, art, books and bookend and vase all still make up a triangle. Looking back now, I should have removed that black and white box though to make it a little less cluttered.
See, it’s easy when you break it down! Now go edit your accessories and put ’em in triangles and I promise they’ll shine even more! Tuck away the ones you edit out that you still really love though.