[A snapshot from my current project… It’s little surprise that I’m a bit of a maximalist when it comes to accessories. If yesterday’s Wearstler-lovin’-post didn’t give me away, you simply weren’t paying much attention.]

All that said, having spent nearly four years in interiors while working for a furnishings company, I wanted to impart a few, easy tips for those of you who’d like to accomplish a layered composition without all the concomitant neuroses (which, for the record, I’ve embraced because, frankly, ignoring them failed miserably).

1) Define your palette | This is the most critical step. My walls are a deep charcoal gray that I’ve lived in for nearly six years. It’s an incredibly calming color for me, and it’s also one of the most underappreciated (and underutilized) neutrals out there. From the base color, define your complementary colors. Mine, clearly, are bright white, black, and a range of soft neutrals: rust and browns.
2) Balance weight and shapes | The largest pieces in this composition are in white, a color that, while providing great contrast, is not especially imposing. Against the deeper shades here, the white almost disappears. Personally, I love a cluster of objets d’art, but they’re not necessary. Want a cleaner composition? Balance the weight of accessories with contrast, big v. small, round v. square, dark v. light, slick v. aged. The juxtaposition creates tension that brings the composition together.
3) DIY Accessories 101: PAINT THINGS | Some of the items in the above composition were quite expensive but, frankly, most were not. A good deal of my small items were sourced at run-of-the-mill thriftstores. The frame in the top right, for example, had some ghastly ‘painting’ in it that I later ripped out and simply replaced with a photograph from a magazine. The lamp? Brass relic that was five bucks. Clearly I spraypainted it after losing patience with an actual paint brush. To round it out I’m going to add a band of black grosgrain to the top and bottom of the drum shade.

I’d love to see snapshots of your own projects… and answer any DIY questions you may have. Coming from the business, I could write a tome (don’t worry, I’m not going to force that on you here… yet).

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