Home Accessorizing: Using Accessories in Home Decorating

The furniture looks great in the store, the flyer, online and in a magazine. It’s the perfect style, the perfect color. But somewhere between buying it and having it delivered, something went wrong. It had to, because it just doesn’t look the same at home. What went wrong?


Furniture stores often have associates whose sole responsibility is to make the merchandise look good. They do this by adding throw pillows, blankets, lamps and vases. They add pictures on the wall, quirky figurines or unusual bowls and containers. In general, they add life to the furniture.


Lamps are some of the most basic accessories, and consumers often think of lamps because they serve a practical purpose: they light the room. Move away from simple practicality, however, and find an array of lamps to suit any personality. Colorful, modern, traditional, unusual or decorative – finding the right lamps to suit the room and the desired ambiance can add character to any room and make the furniture more inviting.

Don’t forget to make sure the room has proper lighting, though. If the room does not have an overhead light, add several lamps to different areas of the room to ensure the room is bright enough. A dim room is not inviting, and it can be difficult on the eyes, especially for activities such as reading or eating.

Pillows and Blankets

Throw pillows and blankets are next on the list. Like lamps, they serve a practical purpose – to enhance comfort while lounging. When not in use, however, they serve a different purpose – by bringing in coordinating colors and styles to add interest.

Avoid “matchy-matchy” pillows and blankets that are the same color as the main furniture. These accessories do not add interest, as the eye just blends them into the rest of the room. Rather, bring in colors that coordinate with the main color or other accessories in the room.

Color Coordination for Beginners

The easiest way to start experimenting with different colors in one room is to find a picture or painting that goes with the main furniture in the room. Look for one that has many different colors in it, as this provides the most options.

Find lamps that either match the furniture or bring out one of the main colors in the picture. Add throw pillows or a blanket that highlights one or some of the colors in the picture, as well.

The next step is the fun part. This is where bringing accessories together comes into play. Look around the house or go shopping at stores that offer home décor, such as HomeGoods or Pier 1 Imports. Anything that meets your tastes and coordinates with the room is fair game. Remember the colors and theme of the main picture and look for accessories that will go with it.

Mixing It Up

Consider taking one of the colors and grouping a few accessories in that color. Vases, bowls, boxes and 3D objects can have a more appealing look when placed together, especially when they are all in one color or theme.

Unless going for an eclectic look, keep the main style of accessories the same (for example, don’t put a very modern lamp in a room filled with traditional décor).

The beauty of accessories is that they can be changed to suit the mood. If something doesn’t look right, move it. Mix and match and play with the different options until the room has the desired look and feel. Then sit back and enjoy the furniture-store look at home.