A home is more than a table, a lounge and some chairs; it’s the mementos you have on the sideboard, bookshelf and bedside table. Here’s some style tips on how to show off your best side and avoid the clutter.

Some rooms just feel good the moment you walk into them. The secret is usually down to a tried-and-tested recipe of three parts: sunlight, space and a harmonious display of photos, artworks and collected objects. Stylists and interior designers are masters of the magical sense of personality, and you can be, too; all you need are the basics.

Firstly, you don’t want to weigh a room down with too much nostalgia. It’s cloying, overwhelming and dust-attracting. Instead, pick one (OK, two if you must) pieces as the stars of your tableau. After that, any piece you add must have a relationship to your hero item, be it through colour, shape or era. If it doesn’t fit, leave it out. Restraint is also key. Groupings only work when contained on a bookcase, mantelpiece or frame, otherwise all is lost to chaos.

A decorator’s biggest crime is to let a display become tired, musty and depressing. It’s the exact opposite effect you want to create!  So, in order to nip this mess in the bud, establish a display with wit, cunning and nous know-how from the outset.

First things first, you must get in touch with your inner disciplinarian. They’ll keep a watch over crimes like over-stuffed bookshelves, wonky picture frames and messy paper stacks. The best trick is to give your display a dust test before you finalise it. Run a cloth or a feather duster over it, and if it starts to wobble precariously or crumble into a heap, edit it back. You want a display that can survive the day-to-day rigours of a busy household. Finally, refresh the look every few months with a lick of paint, a bunch of flowers or a new piece, in place of an old one.

Here are some rules to stick by:

  • Don’t fake it. If it’s not genuinely a reflection of your taste and style, ditch it.
  • Do mix your eras and styles. Layering enhances the sense of storytelling.
  • Mix it up. Add a geometric shape to an organic collection – it’s just fun.
  • Stash away extra bits and pieces, and rotate for added creative interest.


Check out our sideboard styling gallery for some inspiration:


Want more? Try:
>> 5 tips to decorate your home like a stylist
>> 5 simple flower arranging tips
>> bold & beautiful: interior decorating ideas to steal