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Ways to (Re)Decorate with Accessories You Already Own!

Updated: Nov 25, 2019

Back in January, I showed you how I gathered all my accessories into one space as the first step in a process to mix it up and refresh my home decor. The best part is that this refresh is that it is free! I already owned each piece and by changing how I group and where I place each object I end up with a new-feeling result.

a curio cabinet in our living room

Now, it is time for the second step - how to place and group my existing items in new ways - new combinations. I am looking for some similarities to create a sense of unity, but also adding an item or two that adds variety or something unexpected. In addition to showing you the new outcome, I will also show you the before photo of each area.

our living room

the adjacent foyer

We live in a neo-Dutch colonial home - it was built in 2001 and has the shape and architectural details of the historic style. We moved here 16 years ago and did a lot of the initial decorating at that time. We decided to embrace the style, rather than fight it, so we have a bit of a colonial vibe going. Over the years, furniture and objects have moved in, moved out (donated or swapped items with a friend), or have been reassigned to other rooms.

As I mentioned earlier, my intention here is not to go purchase and entire room full of new furniture and accessories, but use what I have to create a refreshed, comfortable, and pleasing space for my family. Of course, I have plans in mind to improve the space, but I am looking for what the best thing I can do with my current assets, making gradual change over time. Going forward, I plan to swap some of the period pieces out and bring in some transitional or more contemporary furniture and decor that will help our space feel more updated.

BEFORE and AFTER - decor arrangement on curio cabinet

There was nothing really wrong with the BEFORE arrangement, but it felt heavy and dated to me. Frankly, I was tired of the same old thing and longing to try something new.

I was looking to lose the heavy look by eliminating so many dark reds in exchange for something fresh, lighter in color and in visual weight. Bringing in silver and turquoise helped, plus it ties in with colors from our foyer, creating unity.

I took some of our nicer books off a bookshelf and placed them (on the left side) as a structural anchor for my new arrangement, then placing an orchid on top gives softness and some height. The foyer and living room ceiling height is two-story, by the way, so we can use a little elevation on that curio cabinet.

The tall silver vase (on the right) had been an orphan for several years. I bought it several years ago because I loved the look of it, but had never found the "right" home until now, after the January remix process. I am so glad I held on to it and was finally able to give it a place.

The apothecary jar, filled with turquoise, glass beads, had formerly been in our family room, then dining room, but found a new home here. The wooden duck was a gift from my mother-in-law. It adds a nature element and warmth because of the material and the rich color.

BEFORE and AFTER - pillows on the settee/sofa

What a difference updating the throw pillows makes! The large checkered pillows (photo on left) in the back and the big, red patterned one (in the middle) came with the sofa, so I just figured they "belonged" there. And I can't believe I left those velvety, black pillows on the sofa for so long. Ugh! Way back, when I initially bought them, I thought it would tone down the red of the sofa, but instead it ended up looking drab.

I took a chance when I bought the new, light colored and patterned pillows at Ikea (photo on right). Okay, I admit it, the pillows were my one new purchase, but the pillow covers are removable and I can keep the pillow inserts and change up the covers when I feel the need. I loved the patterned pillow (front and center) and was hoping it would work when I got them home. I think it all works together, is a marked improvement, and besides, I really like it! Also, changing to the black and white striped pillows brings a more current look to the space.

BEFORE and AFTER - accessories on the secretary (dining room)

Adding a white tray creates a focal point on this piece by directing the eye and grounding the arrangement. This is what I had available, but if you have large wood cutting boards or table runners, or a myriad of other things, they can be used to delineate a space for accessories. It makes the space look sharp and intentional. I also limited the number of items in the AFTER version. I think it has more impact by the act of editing.

By they way, the AFTER flowers above are newly created from the original arrangement in the living room (see the BEFORE photo a couple sets back). I tore the old arrangement apart and made this new one to fit this space. As it was, I didn't think I would use it again, so why not just pull out a few things I liked and make it work for a new life in a new space.

So, by rearranging accessories, varying height, unifying objects with similar colors or themes, mixing texture and materials, we can refresh our spaces with out having to purchase new items and start from scratch. I would love seeing your refreshed spaces and design ideas too! Send me your remix photos by email and/or tag your Instagram posts #hillandvalleydesign

I hope your week goes well, and stay tuned for a future post on my upcoming visit to the Design Bloggers Conference in March! I can't wait to see what I will learn there.

Until next time, Valerie

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