We all suffer from a tendency to accumulate sentimental objects that clutter every inch of surface space. But there is no need to display our possessions all at once. “Cutsie, cutsie” are weeds that choke your garden. Dolls and stuffed animals seem more appropriate in a child’s room than in a living room. Avoid displaying mementos from your travels, i.e., items purchased from vacation destination gift shops. Be cautious with pillows that have slogans or messages. If you’re a collector —of teapots, antique silver, antique cups and saucers, figurines, whatever —display your possessions with economy. A grouping of like objects in one space is dramatic, but a grouping of like objects everywhere throughout the house can look demented. Concentrate your collection in one area for the biggest impact.
Remember, too, our homes are not hotel suites
Nothing is duller than everything being paired off — bedroom end tables that match the headboard, the headboard that matches the dresser; the dining room table that matches the chairs; and the chairs that match the sideboard. When everything is matched, the effect is stultifying. A room is far more interesting when it has a variety of woods, shapes, and textures.
A dining room can successfully incorporate upholstered chairs with a wood table, or the table and chairs can be of contrasting woods. A pair of sofa tables shouldn’t be identical. Two unmatched tables can be unified with a pair of lamps.
Break up the boredom of the obvious with surprise touches. Every room can stand a touch of black or red. Introduce an object that is whimsical— a child’s chair a vase of branches, a clay handprint from kindergarten. Remember, decorating is creative, and our best results are achieved not only through trial and error but through combination and recombination.