Lessons on Accessories

DSC_0197accessories on parade

Since we busted up some parades yesterday, I though we should talk about good and honorable ways to accessorize.  Let me assure you, I am accessory’s biggest fan.  I love accessories.  I dream about accessories, I am connoisseur of accessories.  Of course, these are all my big fat opinions, they are not rules, no accessory police will come arrest you, and I retain the right to change my mind any time I want. I should be a politician.


Yesterday we talked about “Accessories on Parade“.  We can easily fall into the trap of lining up a big bunch of lovely tchotchkes to the point where they look like they are marching in 3/4 time.  Part of the reason they resemble the parade is the scale of the items are all relatively the same.  That’s fancy decorator talk for saying all my cute junk  is about the same size.


{did you notice I all ready have one more accessory added in?  my son brought home a clay creation}

A few ways to bust up a parade:

  • mix up the scale
  • layer your cute loot
  • stagger the placement

Let’s talk about scale. For example, on my mantle, even though I showed a photo with just 3 little accessories, some of you asked about the big urn that you saw sitting next to the small accessories.  Wait, doesn’t that count?  Don’t you have 4 accessories?  Cue the bass drum…and then, I admitted not only did I have an urn, I also had a pair of shutters and a large frame of classy broken wood.  So does that mean I have 7 accessories up there?  I have no idea.

All I know is that since the shutters are like 4 feet tall, they don’t seem to be competeing with the little dog.  And since the frame is layered in front of the shutters, it doesn’t feel like it’s marching in a parade.  It’s my little way of still getting to fill my house with lots of much loved accessories without having them compete or march side by side in a parade.


Let’s take a look at my tablescape.  Real designers, please avert your eyes–look over there, it’s Stephen Drucker! {ok, got rid of them, as if they are reading this blog anyway.}  I’ve got my two lamps, 3 topiaries, 3 framed photos and some dish with a wrapped clear box of nuts.  Don’t ask.  Now you may hate all of my stuff but you have to admit, it works ok.  Lots of my stuff is close to the same size but I’ve staggered and layered the topiaries one in front, two in the back and I’ve staggered and layered the frames.  I had to incorporate the use of a little metal stand for one of the frames.


But wait, what about shelves?  I have not choice but to set 4 photos of the same exact size up there, right?  Nope.  But, I wouldn’t say I have anything against 4 photos of the same size, I do like that look.  But you do have options.  Scale, stagger, layer.


Another method to get away with having lots of the same size accessories grouped together is to call it a collection.  Just know, four of something does not a collection make.  You can do this with apothecary jars, picture frames, trophies, urns, silver, bonsai trees, bobble heads–whatever you collect.  The trick is to mix up the scale and to stagger and layer the items. Scale, stagger, layer.

Today’s words are Scale, Stagger and Layer.  Do you have someplace you can apply them?  I know I do.  And it’s not just what I do with my body after I wake up on a cold winter’s morn.

“Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory”  -coco chanel, the QUEEN of accessories


  1. Nester, what’s a good place to find wooden shutters? I have one of those corner fireplaces with an open shelf above it for the TV/DVD player, and I want to hide it most of the time. Don’t want it sitting up there like a tyrant king ordering me and my furniture around all day.

  2. Thanks for the tips. Now, I just want to go out and buy more accessories! :) I’m guessing that was not the purpose! :)

  3. Oh, my mom used to always use the quote about removing one accessory…I never knew where it came from. I still replay that in my head sometimes when I look in the mirror and have a *little too much* going on. :)

  4. My problem is rarely too much, but, instead, not enough accessorizing, either on my body or in my home.

    But, seeing the way you put together some of these “collections” has given me some ideas!

  5. You could…paint the half wall a dramatic color. Love the wall and draw attention to it – rather than trying to make it go away. Me? I live in a box. Not a lot of that fancy “arkitekchure.” I’d love a half wall. Anything to break up the cube I call home. :)

  6. Oops. My reply was in reference to Comment #19 above.

  7. Oh Whew! I feel like I just got a get out of jail free card! That’s what I try to do. I learned this technique of making one item out of many when I was a graphic designer. Clients always tried cramming as much as they could on a page. I had to try to figure out how to give emphasis to certain items. So, I used some of these very techniques in 2-D, and have tried thinking the same way in 3-D.

    Happy Day!

  8. UHHHHHHHH…I am gasping, is that how you spell that?!?!? So many issues…I just today got all braggy like on my blog sportin’ my new mantle and then I read this blog…now I am concerned I have not “staggered”, but maybe I can get away with it because it is a “collection”…but do I have enough to be callin it a “collection”….I give up, I’m leaving to go find a therapist that will see me without an appoinment.
    PS-I almost bought those EXACT SAME TURQUOISE LAMPS yesterday at a my fav consignment store. They are divine. Except I had the 14 month old little man on my hip and I only have two arms. I considered leaving him and taking the two lamps.

  9. Yes, you should be a politician. Vote for Nester!!! And tchotchkes is one of my favorite words, ever.

  10. I remember once seeing a cute half wall and since then have always kept that idea tucked away in my memory….. The half wall separated the kitchen from the family room. The drywall on the family room side was removed and staggered shelves were built in. Every shelf was trimmed and finished with wood and painted to look like distressed wood. Although the shelves weren’t very deep because the wall isn’t very wide, it was enough room to put in some cookbooks, toys and other “pretties”. A really fun and adorable look. Have fun – whatever you end up doing!

  11. Great post and oh so helpful! Love the key words.

  12. I HAVE TO HAVE THE BLUE LAMPS! Yes, I am screaming. I have looked everywhere for at least one in that blue color and cannot find it anywhere. You probably actually made them out of hand thrown clay, but I am not so talented. Please help.

  13. Laurie @ My Domicile Style says

    Adore those turquoise lamps! I have some in my bedroom right now! And the Stephen Drucker comment made me laugh. I always get nervous when a professional interior designer comments on my blog, as I am sure I am committing some atrocity. :-)

  14. LAYER!!! THAT’s the part I have a problem with!! I LOVE the layer look, but I can never pull it off quite right – I’m in the middle of changing my decorating style (from prim country to a more clean fresh look) – so it’s a bit overwhelming, I want to change EVERYTHING – but can’t afford to – I know I could just move a few things around to start getting the new looks I want………..ahhhh, will you come help me? LOL I’ll bake cookies and make lattes!!

  15. I just recently started following your blog and added your blog to my list of favs. you are so funny and witty which makes your blog so entertaining. I also rent so I’m always looking for others who are in the same boat because I dont’ want to invest too much into the house but I still want a nice house. I like your shelves {the tin metal ones} and would like to know where you got them? I am slowly finishing up my family room and think I would like to get some like that, something a little different. I like the texture. I think I saw some at the Rosebowl…when I went so I’ll have to make a trip out there. Anyways love your blog wanted to say Hi!

  16. Thanks for the tips and tricks. I love your blog!!

  17. I am so happy to have found your blog and these tips. My husband and I are desperately trying to redecorate or actually decorate for the first time and on a pauper’s budget!!! We are great at giving furniture a facelift, but I can’t seem to put it all together. Thanks for the great tips!

  18. LOL! “Real designer” here, and I am in fact reading your blog. Giant hugs for you, and all of your non-marching accessories. I may start sending my clients to this post when their eyes glaze over as I prattle on about scale, proportion, and depth. Bravo! :)

  19. Scale, stagger, and layer on a cold winter’s morn?? LOL. It’s only 6:45 and I got a good laugh out of that one. Great post! Thanks for waking me up with a smile!


  1. […] also messed around a LOT with accessories.  I’m trying to break my addiction to them.  I was ok with our house being imperfect while I figured out what I […]

  2. […] Waaaaay overcompensating with too many accessories because I didn’t like our furniture and wal… […]

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