What Every Room Needs

living room with side table
Living Room with Side Table. YinYang / E+ / Getty Images

Have you ever decorated a room and felt it was missing something, but you couldn't put your finger on what?  Do your rooms feel dull despite your best efforts to make them inviting?  This list of must-have home accessories can serve as your checklist as you work on decorating a room, ensuring that you won't end up with a space that feels unfinished.  

  • Color--All-white or all-beige rooms can feel sterile and lifeless.  Monochromatic schemes are fine, but it may be a good idea to inject a little energy with some pops of color on accessories or a piece of painted furniture.
  • Something living--Houseplants do wonders for a space.  No green thumb?  No problem!  Try out some trendy succulents, which are very hardy, or an easy-to-grow houseplant.  Trees add wonderful height and life to a room as well.  Alternatively, faux plants can look very realistic. Fresh-cut flowers are another avenue, and can last up to two weeks if you care for them properly.  Make an inexpensive bouquet from the grocery store look more stylish with these tips. A small vase of flowers on the kitchen counter or coffee table, or a houseplant or two by a sunny window instantly makes a place feel more homey.  Try it, you'll see.
  • Something black--Designers often offer this piece of advice and it's no wonder: it works!  If your room feels like it's missing something, try adding something black.  Whether it's a piece of accent furniture, a set of picture frames, a lampshade, or a chalkboard-painted sign, you'll see improvement in the room by adding black, which seems to ground the space and bring order to disparate pieces. Touches of black can also modernize or lend sophistication to a color scheme.
  • Books--It's hard to imagine a room without books in it.  Whether there are coffee table tomes in the living room, cookbooks in the kitchen, or a basket of children's books in the family room, it's easy to envision how books can live happily in any room.  Don't have built-in bookcases?  No problem!  There are lots of unique ways to store and display your books.  However, you needn't feel as though you have to be an avid reader, nor should you feel like you have to have whole bookcases filled with books.  Books can simply be used as beautiful objects in a display, and they can add height to other items you might want to showcase.  
  • Personality--If your room feels like a furniture showroom, chances are you haven't added in enough of your own personality.  Your home should be a reflection of who lives there, so try to highlight your family's hobbies, interests, or travels through accessories that reflect those stories.  Instead of your usual haunts, why not shop off the beaten track at places like Etsy, garage sales, or flea markets?  Items that lend a sense of history, as well as tell your own meaningful story, make great conversation pieces and infuse a room with life.  Photographs are only one way to do this.  Framed memorabilia, objects acquired on trips, or collections are other ways to infuse your room with personality.  Just be sure to read up on the dos and don'ts of displaying collections first so your objects can be shown in the best possible light.