Adding Character to Your Home Through Accessories

How homeowners can find big opportunities for interior upgrades by focusing on the little details.

Accessorizing your home is an exciting endeavor that inspires creativity and allows you to showcase your personal style. Deliberate and thoughtful selection down to the smallest detail is the best way to evoke a space’s personality and elevate its feel. The process of accessorizing requires focus and a critical eye, so ESTATENVY picked the brains of individuals fluent in design to help guide you to your perfect home aesthetic.

Architect-turned-interior designer Marshall Erb of Chicago-based Marshall Erb Design has been in practice for two decades and recognizes the magnitude and complexity of the relationship people have with their homes. Erb said he approaches every project with this at the forefront of his mind, personalizing each client’s space with their story as it relates to state and design of their home.

“Accessories add the final layer to every room,” Erb said. “Too [few] make a space seem sterile, too many is cluttered and heavy.” Stressing balance and quality, Erb said he prefers to furnish homes with accessories that have meaning or stories attached to them that are important to his clients.

Casey Finn and Bridget Matkovich, founders of The DIY Playbook blog, echoed Erb’s sentiment. “We both spend the most time in our living rooms, so we want these spaces to be extra cozy and filled with items we cherish,” Finn said. “A space that is decluttered and organized gives you the best chance to surround yourself with items you love, not ones that are just taking up precious room on your bookshelves,” Matkovich added.

While he acknowledged how tempting cheap knick-knacks are, Erb stressed finding items you really love and being determined in your purchases. “Instead of just buying a vase to fill space, why not buy an antique vase made by an artist instead of a factory?” he asked. “I think that’s a wasteful way of looking at purchasing. Ask yourself, is this just one more thing to throw out or is it worth it?” Erb said. In doing so, homeowners are able to hone in on quality over just filling walls for the sake of filling walls.

Erb noted the colorful potential accessories can bring to a space through careful selection. He suggested throw pillows as means to tie a room together and connect different features throughout. “Pillows are a great way to add life to a room. They bring out accent colors without adding too much of a visual impact and aren’t a major commitment,” Erb said.

“A budget-friendly way to add personality to a space is through the right textiles,” Finn said. “If you have a neutral couch, use pillows and throw blankets to layer in color, texture, and pattern.” Erb agreed, noting that using one accessory as a focal point to build the rest off of is ideal. “If you have a great piece of artwork that has a little blue in it, bring that color into the rug, flower arrangements, or throw pillow colors,” he said. “It creates rhythm throughout the space that ties everything together, creating cohesiveness.”

Erb’s most poignant piece of advice was for homeowners to keep it simple. “Go with a few lovely items that you’re going to use everywhere,” he said. “Invest in that versatile tray for the coffee table! Find one thing you really like and use it in different around the house,” Erb suggested. His favorite “usable accessory” in his own home is scented candles. “I’ll burn ten candles of all the same scent in multiple rooms. The scent that carries throughout functions as a sensory detail in my space.”