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A Space of Your Own

There is a delicate between having an artfully cluttered apartment and a plain ol’ cluttered apartment and that fine line can be hard to navigate.

What is the tipping point from a gloriously full bookshelf to a bookshelf that is buckling under the weight of your classic reads? When does your cluster of personal collectibles atop your coffee table slip into more of a hodge-podge of knick-knacks? Blogger Jeanne Chan of Shop Sweet Things illustrates how to find your apartment’s own delightfully full presentation and offers tips on how to display your personal mementoes.

Break up the geometry of the surface. If you have a rectangular coffee table stacked with rectangular art books and magazines incorporate an organically shaped or rounded element to break up the straight lines and right angles. Flowers are the usual first-choice but you could also include cylindrical candles or a shallow dish or plate. Having these curved elements adds a romantic touch to your arrangement.

Add playful elements. As you select items to display, consider which ones make you truly happy. “Since this is also my creative space where I spend a lot of my time working and blogging, I wanted to have lots of fun colors and objects around me,” explains Jeanne. While colorful book spines and planters make Jeanne happy, perhaps yours is a family photo, a keepsake from a memorable trip or a silly knick-knack that is a part of an inside joke. Weaving these silly elements into your space gives your display that personal touch.

Incorporate plants and organic elements. As Jeanne demonstrates, introducing greenery like her aloe plant and petite succulents refreshes the living space. If you lack a green thumb, opt for a solid colored arrangement in a clear vase.

Stow away unsightly essentials. Storage space is always valuable in your home. When closet space is limited or already full, consider incorporating storage units as a part of your design. For your bookcase, look for colorful or printed boxes to work into your display of books. Or, if the table in your entry way is also the home for all your mail, keys and dry cleaning receipts, get a lovely dish or tray to hold those essentials so they feel more contained.

Mix and match items of varying heights. To make your display of books or collectibles more interesting, shake up the heights and levels of your arrangement. Prop up some books while laying others down. Stock up on frames of different sizes. Arrange smaller items in front of a larger props to create more depth.