Decorating Simplified

“Stacking books creates a surface to display a favorite object.”

“Stacking books creates a surface to display a favorite object.”

The idea of living a simplified, uncluttered life with less “stuff” sounds attractive to many.  There are numerous benefits of owning fewer possessions: less cleaning, less debt and less to organize.

By Cathy Osoria

Uncluttering and reorganizing doesn’t have to be stressful. One method to simplify is the “four box method.”  Set out four boxes marked trash, give away, keep and relocate, and place all the items in the target area in the appropriate box.  What’s left in the relocate and keep boxes should be some personal meaningful items that can be easily accessed and displayed to create a minimal beautiful space.  Walls, shelves, and tabletops are places these items can be used to create visual interest.

Some of the same rules used to accessorize shelves can also be used for counters or tabletops.  Some simple accessorizing rules to follow are:

  • Less is more — every space doesn’t need to be filled; a minimal display is better. The fewer items that are well displayed will place the focus on what guests notice when they visit your home or office.
  • Group accessories — avoid distributing individual accessories or collections around a room.  Arrange them in groups, combining items that share a similar palette, texture or character.
  • Vary heights and scale — displaying collections that are all the same size and scale can be made more interesting by raising some of the collection on books, boxes, wood blocks — anything that can be used to vary height.  If using items that have varied sizes, lean toward using an odd number of objects so the area doesn’t get too symmetrical or “matchy-matchy.” Arrange the accessories in a pyramid, from highest to lowest, with the tallest object in back. Using trays for displays can anchor a grouping of accessories and add texture, color, and interest to objects that need to be highlighted. Place heavier objects on the lower shelves, and display lighter objects more sparsely in the upper shelves. Art can be hung in the backs of shelves, displayed on an easel, or even attached to bookcase trim.
  • Mix books and accessories — books can be key elements in accessorizing many areas and can be easily purchased at yard sales or inexpensive bookstores.  The paperback books need to be tucked away; the hard back books can be used in original form or altered to help display favorite items.  Painting the books a variety of colors can help unify space.  If painting is too damaging, then the book binding can be covered in fabric or wall paper. Gluing the fabric and wallpaper is best but just folding paper (like when covering school books) does the trick also. Just turning the books backwards with the paper facing out may make the area appear clean and unified.  Books are great “risers.” A riser is something used to raise an object higher to create a focal point.  Stacking books creates a surface to display a favorite object like a framed family picture, a natural piece of coral, a child’s toy or architectural piece.  Old photo albums and three ring folders can be recovered in a preferred color and can help with easy access, organizing and beautify the space.
  • Accent color repeated — If the room has a dominant accent color, echo it in the accessories, paint, wallpaper or the backs of shelves.  Limiting accent colors in a room to 2 or 3 main colors helps the eye to focus through the less chaotic space.
  • Be creative — dig in storage spaces and accessorize using objects that are attractive and have character.  Place the objects; then just step back and observe. If the arrangement doesn’t look appealing, then rearrange and look again. If the result is still not satisfactory, try taking a picture of the space and looking at the area on the computer. This trick may help to see if scale and color are working together.

Simplifying and minimalizing allow the beauty of the objects that are valued and appreciated to be emphasized.

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