How Styling Is The Secret Sauce To Decorating

You’ve started decorating your living room, you’ve changed the flooring, chosen the sofa and curtains but how do you finish it?  No matter how you try, it never seems to look right or you aren’t sure what finishing pieces to choose and how to display them.

This is something I hear a lot and I understand the frustrations    You’ve spent hours on Instagram and Pinterest and know exactly what you like, so why is it so difficult to achieve?

Without a doubt styling is the secret sauce to bringing everything together.  I know by the time you’ve bought everything else there doesn’t seem to be enough left over to indulge in this final step but I would urge you to persevere and take the plunge, you won’t regret it.

Not only will it enhance all the pieces in your home, you will also create your very own unique style by displaying items that mean something to you as well as pieces that you are drawn to and speak your style.

The Elements of Styling

  • Texture

  • Scent

  • Contrast

  • Metallics

  • Life


An important element as it is very tactile, something that makes you want to touch it and appeals to the senses.  This can be in fabrics like velvet or linen cushions, hessian or wood, maybe even a rough textured vase.


We all love and remember when we enter a room that smells amazing.  This can be fresh flowers, seasonal scented candles or diffusers which are among my favourites.



Adding contrast to your vignettes (little groupings of objects) Creating balance and interest with different shapes.  You wouldn’t add too many straight line objects but rather soften this with a few rounded shapes.


Every room deserves a little glamour.  It doesn’t matter if your style is traditional or contemporary.

The trick is to mix up your metallics, gold, silver and copper here and there which add little bits of sparkle to your room especially at night by candle light.  This can be atrinket box, or dish.  A gold tray on a coffee table or silver candle holders on a fireplace.


Plants really do bring texture and form to your space, they can also improve the quality of air in your home.  If you aren’t green fingered and it’s just too much hassle then invest in good quality faux flowers or plants (you do have to spend more to get an authentic look).


How styling is the secret sauce to decorating


  • Odd number groupings work best.  
  • Use the three, five or seven rule. 
  • The essesntials
  • A statement piece
  • Display your personality/character
  • Odd-number groupings
  • Height

Areas to Style

  • Coffee Tables
  • Bookshelves
  • Console Tables
  • Fireplace

Coffee Table Must Haves

  • Stack of Books (no more than3 for each stack)
  • Decorative Boxes
  • Bowls or Trays
  • Fresh Cut Flowers
  • Vase


Start with your books, say two stacks on a rectangular coffee table at each end, add in a vase for height.  Create different height levels by adding in various small items, say a candle or bowl on top of the books.

Play around with it and have fun.


Mantle Must Haves

  • Tall Vase
  • Candles sticks
  • Picture Frames
  • Flowers
  • Mirror
  • Art
  • Boxes
  • Trinkets

There are two kinds of balance you will want to achieve, symmetrical and asymmetrical.  For a formal setting you would usually use the symmetrical layout of accessories.

A mirror in the centre with two other items either side but instead of flanking a vase in each side, think of grouping smaller items in groups of 3 or 5.  So maybe a vase on one side and on the other, group items to balance it out

Bookshelf Must Haves

  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Bookends
  • Picture Frames (try leaning framed art against the shelf to fill a large gap)
  • Ornaments
  • Vases
  • Flowers
  • Bowls
  • Trays
  • Mementos
  • Boxes/Baskets


Choosing art is a very personal thing and doesn’t necessarily mean choosing something that goes with your colour scheme, especially if you are investing in a piece of art.

When hanging art the general rule of thumb is 57” (average eye level) from the floor to the middle of the painting i.e.  gallery level


The right size rug will make all the difference, most make the mistake of going too small.  I generally like to have all furniture on to the rug or at least the front legs of furniture.


Bringing cushions together in your overall theme, colour and texture will help pull everything together.

  • Styling in odd numbers looks good as well. Say 3 x cushions on one side of the sofa with 2 x cushions on the other side. 
  • Mix with a solid colour,  pattern and co-ordinating print.
Engaging these elements and techniques when styling will help you with the final hurdle of decorating and finishing off your room.

Still feeling overwhelmed?

Book A Styling Session and finally tick that one off your list!

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