The Exclamation Point for Your Home

Accessories will transform your space

By Bob Moore

Friends don’t let friends decorate their home without accessories. Most of us consider accessories to be things we use to enhance our wardrobe: jewelry, a scarf, hat, purse, or a pocket square for the blazer all complement what we wear and take our appearance to the next level. The same principle applies when decorating a room. Think of accessories as the exclamation points for your home. For example, take a clear glass vase and transform your plant stand into a seasonal, sensory sensation by filling it with layered colored sand and cotton ball stalks in the summer, fall leaves and corn stalks in autumn, or wine corks and tulips in the spring.

Fireplace Mantels

I am frequently asked for advice on how to decorate a fireplace mantel. In most cases, the fireplace is the focal point of the room. This provides a great opportunity to get your “accessory groove” on.

There are three main design methods you can use to spark  that mantel to life: the “bell,” the “U,” and my favorite, the “upward slope.” The bell shape starts with a large, tall item in the middle of the mantel flanked on both sides by shorter, smaller items. The “U” has tall items on both ends and lower items in the middle. The upward slope can be arranged to flow either left to right or right to left. Place a smaller, shorter item on the end of the mantel, a medium-sized, somewhat taller item in the middle and a larger, tall item on the opposite end. If you were to draw an imaginary line over the top of the items it would create an upward slope.

Make a statement with antique or vintage style items.


Let’s illuminate the topic of lighting, starting with getting our terms straight. In the trade, the word “lamp” is used to refer to the light source that is commonly called the “bulb.” What is commonly called a “lamp” (a table lamp or a chandelier) is referred to as a fixture. Although it’s good to be aware of the technical terms, let’s just call them lamps!

Lamps play a major role in accessorizing and decorating. When working with a client, I like to focus on function and mood. Lighting has three main functions in a room; in our industry they are referred to as ambient, task, and mood.

Ambient lighting provides general overhead lighting to a room through recessed, track, and can lamps.

Task lighting refers to light that serves a specific purpose. Reading, writing, and other activities require specific light. A floor lamp or a lamp placed on a table next to a comfy chair can provide ample reading light. Smaller lamps are great for lighting up your desk. A pair of candle lamps can provide just the right amount of glow to read piano music. Wall sconces by the fireplace accent the mantel while providing light for a conversation area.

Mood lighting draws attention to items or textures in a room to affect the atmosphere for the occupants. Recessed wall washers spread light in one direction toward the wall. Placing floor can lights behind a plant can cast dappled shadows on the ceiling. Picture or painting lights can be installed above or below your wall art, adding yet another layer of mood to the room. Another option is the realistic flameless candle made of real candle wax with a faux flickering flame. These little beauties add a cozy ambience without the worry of real flame or melting wax and can be placed throughout the room. Use various wattages of bulbs throughout your lighting fixtures to allow some areas to shine and others to glow, providing a lovely variety of illumination. When accessorizing a room with light, always remember this: “It is not the size of the candle that matters, but the size of its light.”

Time keeps on ticking into the future—clocks make a timely addition to your décor too, and I must hang a huge six-foot sunburst mirror that just arrived. Blessings to all!

About the writer:

Bob Moore and his wife, Lois, founded Shelf Life Furnishings in Old Town Warrenton. Bobby Fresh Design is an interior design service being offered through their store.

Shelf Life Furnishings is located at 52 Main Street Warrenton Va, 20186.


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