In Praise of Knick-Knacks


This will, no doubt, be the first of many posts that emphasise the need to have things in your home.  I don't like a lot of clutter but I do think that we all need something to look at.  If you can take in every object in a room within a few of seconds of entering it, then it is likely to be tidy but quite soulless.  The most pleasing interiors unfold as you spend time in them, more delights are revealed as you sit and look about you.

It can take time and money to build up a collection of beautiful antiques or quirky objects but, in the absence of such a collection, you can still create lovely and interesting displays - I don't yet own such a collection.  However, the alcove in my sitting room was fitted with some very well-made but slightly, depressingly, bland shelves so I had to put something on them.  It's a rented house so I'm not allowed to remove them or paint the wood.  I covered each shelf in some left-over Brian Yates wallpaper (you can often get nice end-of-line rolls really cheaply at DIY stores).  I then went through my house and picked out every object that could be spared to try out on the shelves.  This was the not-too-shabby result:

None of the items is particularly expensive and there are no show-stoppers.  Several pieces would look quite sad if they were looked at in isolation but, as a whole, the display is interesting and looks coherent and coordinated.  In reality, the threads that run though it; the reflective mercury and glass, the blocks of white and the touches of blue, red and gold, just presented themselves and I went with them, editing out anything that jarred.

If you gather together things from your own home you will see that they often have details in common that will then suggest a theme to you.  This is only to be expected because you have chosen items that are to your taste, maybe you like the colour green or are drawn to the matt finish of untreated zinc or the lovely sheen of copper.  If you don't have a lot of stuff you may need to be a bit inventive - I dug out the big mercury diamonds from my Christmas decorations box and took the dust jackets off some books to reveal a more suitable cover beneath.

To ensure it looks interesting you need to add layers.  This just means putting things in front of, behind, on top of each other.  It's easy and actually easier to do than to plan, so just do it, I say.  My shelves get tweaked at intervals and occasionally I go really mad and actually buy something to put on them.  That way I can keep myself interested, which is the most important thing of all.

I decided the lowest shelf needed brightening up and making a bit less stuffy.  All the excuse I needed for a small purchase from the wonderful Anthropologie.  This is their funky and fresh Illume Jacinta Candle Pot:

While I was in there I spotted this fun vase which picked up the blue in my books really well - couldn't resist:

If you were at all unsure about putting together a bit of a display yourself, I hope I've helped to dispell any doubts.  You have nothing to lose.  It is unlikely to look worse than an empty featureless space.

Have a lovely weekend,




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