Small Stuff, Big Impact

A guide to accessorizing


By Charlyne Varkonyi Schaub

You know the saying: It's the little things that count.

Truer words were never spoken, especially when it comes to interior decorating.

It's important to have a plan before you clutter up your space. If you randomly buy things, your home can go from well accessorized to tchotchke overload. So, make sure those finishing-touch items fit into your overall design concept.

Check out the following purchasing tips:

• Open and examine anything that comes in a box. Many times things look different than they are pictured.

• Learn who has the best prices. You don't have to get everything at one store or website; shop around.

• Don't prejudge ready-to-assemble furniture.

• Consider adding plants, even if you don't have the greenest of thumbs. Some stores offer a guarantee: If you kill it within a certain amount of time, you get a refund.

• Set up a system for sales receipts if they're not on your phone. Store them somewhere easy to find, just in case you want to return something that doesn't look great once you get it home.

• Add area rugs, which are multifunctional. They help anchor your furniture on a tile or hardwood floor and can help tie in carpeting if you have it in an adjacent room.

• Choose curtains or drapes with care because they can make or break a room. Window coverings should be long enough to puddle slightly at the bottom rather than hanging above the floor.

• Remember that odd numbers of things are more pleasing to the eye. So are varying heights. For example, cluster three candlesticks, each a different height, for the best effect on a table or mantle.

• Break up busy upholstery on a sofa with solid-color pillows or a throw.

• Cover the dirt in planters with Spanish moss for a decorator touch.

• Buy an accessory if you really like it because it may not be there when you go back. If it turns out that it doesn't work in your space, you can always return it.