Show me a woman with less than five pairs of shoes in her wardrobe and I’ll eat my sofa... It’s just one of those certainties in life. Men WILL talk to a stranger in a pub like they’ve known each other 20 odd years. Flat roofs WILL leak. Women will NEVER be able to resist the perfect pair of shoes. Or coat/jewellery/handbag. It’s in our genetic make-up and therefore not, strictly speaking, our fault.
We’re programmed to accessorise to within an inch of our lives. So much so, that it spills over from our personal space into the home, where again we find comfort in items that don’t actually do anything, but oh my, look so pretty. It’s important to know what will work, where to put it and how to tie it into the overall theme, whether it’s a vase, a set of shelves, a mirror or a bean bag.
Firstly, get your colouring right. But remember that it’s not necessarily the colours that you need to concentrate on, but the shade. The most obscure colours will complement each other as long as they’re of the same tone. For example, a strong purple/vivid pink combination would normally quarrel, clash and fight, ending in grievous bodily harm. However, if they both have a grey metallic element to them, they could work perfectly together. Mixing and matching is what it’s all about.
When using your accessories as statements in the room – if their presence is there purely to impress, then be strong with them, especially in an otherwise neutrally decorated room. Adding splashes of colour to the walls in the form of painting/photography can create an incredibly eye-catching X factor. Try to find one-off pieces that won’t be easily available to the masses. And most importantly, try to keep it Irish. It’s great to support up-and-coming artists, and even better if they’re home grown!
In the event that you can’t find the right print to adorn your walls, try using mirrors. They give the extra dimension by bringing light into the room. And when properly placed, can act as frames in themselves depending on what they’re reflecting. Have fun with them too. Using a number of mirrors of the same style but all different shapes and sizes on the same wall can bring a funky feel to a room and can easily be used as the main ‘stop in your tracks’ feature that you’re looking for.
If the last few months have taught us anything, it’s to be practical. Sometimes, accessories are there for one reason and one reason only. To look good.
If possible though, try to choose your items carefully so that you’re not just creating a home full of dust collectors. Magazine racks for example, can, depending on their style, be a fabulous extra in a room, but they’re functional too.
And lastly, don’t be a banker. Know when to say enough is enough. If in doubt, leave it out.
Naoimh Tuohy is an interior designer based in Westport and working countrywide. Originally coming from a property background, she made the jump from valuing buildings to redesigning their interiors. She has worked freelance for the last six years and specialises in show houses, home-owner renovations and investment-property fit-outs. She can be contacted at 087 7625539.