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Big Style, Small Space

As interior designers, people in our profession really focus on furniture and its placement. We ask ourselves, “Which sofa style looks best in a space?” or “Does this sideboard work well with the dining table?” However, we should never underestimate the power of amazing accessories. Much like putting together an outfit, one must carefully choose the accessories, or “objets” as we call them, we use to add personality to a space. These accessories can transform a room, or an outfit, from traditional to whimsical, predictable to interesting, and impersonal to personal. Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing your home accessories this season.

1. Combine old and new objects to create a diversely gorgeous space. If you look in this room, you will see accessories of various styles from several different time periods. The black glass balls and stands centered on the mantel are 1930′s French antiques, while the carved wooden figure to the right is from Kelly Wearstler’s new home collection. I really like to mix it up, because it gives a space a spontaneous feel and allows you to really express your tastes. Just remember: Mixing styles doesn’t prevent you from creating a complete and stylish space – it helps you!

2. Mix materials. I always like to make sure that my rooms consist of various materials as well as styles. For instance, if you have a lot of wooden case furniture, you would want to avoid wooden accessories and focus on metal. If your coffee table and side tables are metal and glass, then focus on wooden and upholstered objets. This variety will make your space feel more balanced and less rigid. As you can see in these photos, most of my furniture is upholstered. This allowed me to bring in wooden objets, such as the art deco obelisk on the mantel, and the sunburst globe on the accent table.

3. Furniture can be accessories, too. When thinking about accessories, don’t limit yourself to small boxes, statues and figures. Small scale furniture can also be very effective when used as accessories. Here, I used a small side chair as an accent by the fireplace. Not only does it provide extra seating, but it adds a playful punch to the room with its fantastic splatter paint fabric and unexpected placement. The floral ottomans are another way I used furniture as an accessory in this space. These functional pieces can be placed anywhere in the room, instantly adding a pop of color (and even more seating).

4. Books, Books, Books. Coffee table books are one of my favorite things. They are beautiful as well as functional, and they bring warmth to any space. Here I enjoyed placing them in unusual spaces, such as the fireplace mantel. Coffee table books can also be used as design problem solvers. Is your lamp shorter than you would like? Just put coffee table books under it! However you use them, coffee table books add character and individuality to your space. Just make sure to choose topics you and your guests will enjoy.

Austin Varner is an interior designer based in New York City and a regular contributor to Minkette. Austin Varner at Varner Interior Design LLC is dedicated to making every space luxurious, livable, and most importantly, all your own. In these blog posts you will find my tips on how to make the most of your smaller space, without sacrificing style and form. For more information on Varner Interior Design LLC, please visit www.varnerinteriors.com

Credits: Photos c/o Austin Varner