Must-Have Decorating Accessories

Items that should be in every single home

Must Have Home Accessories
kwanchai_k photograph / Getty Images

Decorating is a very personal exercise (or at least it should be). You decide what items go into your home, from the furniture to the rugs, to the lights, to the accessories—it’s totally up to you. But even though you’re free to decorate with whatever you want, there are a few essential items every home should have. Having these items in your home will ensure that no matter what the style it will always look its best.

Statement Lighting

Every home needs at least one great light. It could be a statement chandelier, a sculptural table lamp, a modern floor lamp, or a great sconce. A unique, statement piece will be a super conversation starter and will add some wow factor to the room.

A Tray

Trays are great for a couple of reasons. The first is that they’re great for carrying multiple items at the same time but even better than that, they can be used to corral accessories on a table surface and lend a sense of organization to decorative vignettes. When multiple items are placed on a tray they instantly look better. And trays are also decorative accessories in their own right so find something in a style and color you like.

Something Vintage

Every home (in some cases every room) needs to have something vintage. It could be a piece of furniture, a decorative accessory, a piece of fabric framed and hung on the wall—anything. Vintage pieces add a sense of history and character that can’t be found with new items.


We live in an age where books are becoming less common, but when it comes to decorating books are as important as they’ve ever been. Having books in a room (coffee table books in particular) is great for a few reasons—they’re great for filling empty shelves, they’re super for including in coffee table displays when you need a little height, and they’re great for flipping through when you or your guests are bored. Beautiful books are just that—beautiful, and every room should have at least a few.

Window Treatments

Empty windows are cold and impersonal. Put some sort of window treatment, whether it's drapes, blinds or shutters, on every single window in your home. There are tons of options and what you choose should be based on personal style, the style of the room, the shape of the window and the amount of privacy you desire.

A Bench or Ottoman

A bench or ottoman is a great piece of furniture to have on hand in case you ever need extra seating. They’re very versatile and can go in many different places such as in an entryway, at the foot of a bed, as part of a living room furniture arrangement, in a dining room or even in a hallway. To get the most out of an ottoman or bench consider one with hidden storage—particularly in an entryway where you can store bags, hats, shoes, and the like.

Personal Art

Hanging art on the wall is a great way to add personality and character to a living space. It’s even better if it’s not the kind that’s mass-produced and sold in big box stores. The term “personal art” means it’s something unique to you (and no, it doesn’t mean you have to have any artistic talent). It could be personal photos framed and hung on the wall, something made by you or a loved one, a wall-hanging purchased on a vacation, or something else personal and meaningful. The idea is that it’s something you won’t find in anyone else's home.