Corey Damen Jenkins - Feb. 2013

Designer Display

Photo of Corey Damen Jenkins - Feb. 2013 accessory display at Judy Frankel Antiques

Bookshelves - Filled with Design Possibilities

This French Bibliotheque is fabulous all on its own, but I’m always drawn to bookshelves – spectacular or simple – because they are so versatile for design purposes. Transforming your bookshelves from humble library storage to a functional and decorative element within your home couldn’t be easier. First, start looking at the books themselves as decorative items.  Pay attention to size, texture and color. There’s no rule that says all the books have to be shelved upright with the bindings facing out.  Use the arrangement of books on the shelves to create variation, pattern and niches for displaying accessories.

Bookshelves are a perfect place to highlight smaller accessories and artwork.  Prop a framed print, painting, decorative tile or tray into a niche.  Do you have a beloved architectural fragment, piece of driftwood, pottery, or carving that doesn’t work anywhere else?  Bookshelves are an easy place to rotate accessory displays. Tuck a few spectacular ornaments or pinecones among the shelves during the holidays, show off a single bloom from your garden in a special vase or bottle, use your favorite framed photos and mementos to accessorize.  Have fun, display what you love, don’t worry about following rules and experiment! 

Group Similar Items for Impact

One simple tip for accessorizing is to create groups of similar items. Displaying a collection of related accessories highlights the unique qualities of each piece and creates instant visual impact. Pay attention to scale and shape – here I’ve used display stands to vary the height. I like the mix of taller, more slender vases with rounder, shorter pieces. Because the pottery is grouped together by color and type, the eye is naturally drawn to the differentiating details. Collecting items that are the same color or type is an easy way to start creating accessory groups.  Take a walk around Judy Frankel Antiques and you’ll notice lots of accessory groups:  white ceramic pieces, a wall of gilt frame mirrors, pewter pitchers, fossilized shells, ceramic beer tankards, mercury glass and opaline glass are just a few examples you’ll find here.

Symmetry with a Tweak

Often when I visit homes, I notice accessories arranged symmetrically: a matched pair of vases framing a perfectly centered bowl, a sofa lined with coordinated accent pillows flanked by a pair of end tables and matching lamps.  Too much predictable order can drain the energy from a room.  As a designer, I use symmetry with a tweak. On the Bespoke Desk, the pair of industrial lamps frame the mounted horn and blotter, but the other accessories are not arranged symmetrically. I’ve also combined pieces with a wide range of styles and periods – the Deco-inspired desk is paired with mid century chairs, industrial lamps, a traditional French clock, the exotic horn and bold brass forms.  Using the larger pieces as a frame appeals to my desire for order, but tweaking that symmetry with the arrangement and mix of accessories creates visual tension, interest and energy.