How to Style Clutter into Stunning Arrangements

Globe West Styled Furniture

Clients and friends frequently ask me to rearrange their accessories with my ‘designer eye’.  They can’t believe how beautiful their ordinary things (or ‘clutter’) can look when stylishly arranged in groups.  With many of us isolated at home, there has never been a better time to style the accessories you already own into stunning arrangements.  And even if your accessories already look great, there is nothing like some new ideas to change things up!

Accessories styled the right way add personality and interest to your room and never make a space feel cluttered or messy.  With a few tips, your furniture can be instantly transformed into a stunning focal point that expresses your unique style.  Here are my 9 top tips to style the clutter you already own into stunning arrangements.

1. Consider Function

Consider how you use your furniture before you decide how to style it.  Do you need a place to set down your drink, TV remotes or jewellery?  Do you need storage?  Do you need space to play board games?  Do you love to read books and magazines?  Is a lamp vital to make your space work?  Your furniture must firstly meet your functional needs.

2. Group Common Objects

The secret to style your clutter into stunning arrangements is all about grouping common objects together.  If you have a collection, use repetition to your advantage and display similar items as a group.  My side table below displays three glass vases of different shapes, heights and colours for example.  They look great together because although the forms are different, they have the common thread of hand blown glass.

Beautiful Styled Coffee Table

3. Layer

Layer items (like a vase or candle holder) on top of stacked books to add interest and create height where otherwise things might have felt a little flat.  Stacking things is an interior decorators favourite trick.  Why spread things around if you can stack your gorgeous books into neat, chic little piles and use them to add height and interest to your table. 

4. Cluster on Trays

Cluster small objects that won’t hold enough weight on their own on trays so they will appear to the eye as one object.  This helps minor items look purposeful, rather than like a random group of objects.  Remember to add balance and scale to your tray cluster also (see below).

5. Consider Scale

Try not to display too many items of the one size in one place.  Breaking up your surface with objects of different shapes and heights will always make for a more pleasing display.  Try an oversized vase with tall branches or a large bowl alongside other smaller items to give a more dynamic look.  You can also use a lamp, a piece of artwork leaning against a wall or a statement piece atop a stack of books to add height.  Overlapping items can also add visual interest and depth.

Sideboard Styling

6. Ensure Balance

Great styling is all about balance.  Balancing height, texture, colour and shape.  If you have several small items on top of a sideboard try and create balance with a taller piece at the other end.

The shape of your surface will also influence your styling.  Round coffee tables or side tables tend look great when items are arranged in a triangular formation.  It could be a stack of books, a tray and a bowl like the photo below.  Experiment with different shapes, from circles to hexagons to make the display feel more balanced.

Coco Republic Coffee Table Styling

Square or rectangular surfaces often suit objects with curves to balance the straight lines and angles.  Try dividing a square coffee table into quadrants and display an item on each quadrant.  It could be a stack of books, a tall plant, a tray, or a collection of bowls, for example. Similarly, a sideboard can be divided into thirds.  This grid-like form of display feels organized and dynamic at the same time. 

7. Personalise

Don’t forget to add something interesting, personal or unique that will shape the identity of a room.  Interesting objects can have a lot of impact in places where people congregate, so throw in some special pieces with interesting stories.  They will not only bring memories, form and texture to a space – they engage us in conversation.

Consider items from your travels, handmade objects, mementos from family and friends and heirlooms that have been in the family for generations.  You can also add something a little quirky to show that you don’t take yourself too seriously.  A vintage board game, deck of cards or dominos can add a bit of whimsy to your space – anything goes.

Making Personal Stying Personal

8. Add Something Organic

A little bit of life will add wonders to your display.  A simple bunch of flowers are the perfect finishing touch to any room, but you can also use plants and other organic elements if flowers aren’t your thing. There are lots of organic options – shells, driftwood, a piece of coral, a bowl of fruit or a timber trinket box all add an organic touch as well as a splash of colour.   

Items with a beautiful fragrance can also add a luxurious touch.  Think a lightly scented candle, a quirky oil burner, a bowl of cinnamon and dried orange, a vase of eucalyptus leaves.

9. Less is More

Remember that less really is more when it comes to styling your accessories.  The most beautiful stying is often simple with only a few carefully curated items on show. 

Simplicity is the ultimate form of sophistication.

Leonardo Da Vinci

So, why not take a little time to walk through your home.  Have a look what you currently have displayed on your surfaces.  Change things up, group and layer things.  Look for balance, scale and simplicity and make sure at the end of the day, you love every single thing speaks to you and tells your story.  If you’re looking for something really special to add to your collection, you can find some stunning accessories and side tables that are ethically sourced and handmade in our online shop. I’d love to how you style your accessories in the comments below.

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Adentro Design is a Brisbane-based interior design studio focused on creating unique spaces that tell your story.  With 20+ years of experience, we have delivered exceptional outcomes in  commercial, resort, retail and residential spaces.  Our designs inspire, connect and drive productivity … or simply, spark joy!  Let us make the design process easy for you.