share post

Simple Decorating: Real Life Accessories

by | May 19, 2009 | Authentic Living, Decorating Inspiration, Details

This Post May Contain Affiliate Links. Please Read Our Disclosure Policy here

Simple Decorating: Real Life AccessoriesBHG

I am not a fussy decorator. I like details and {second hand} quality and all that, but when it comes to displaying accessories and decorations around the house, I like to keep things simple, easy and unfussy. If it looks like it took me a few hours to put something together, I don’t like it.  I like things to look like they just happened to look great and not that I tried and tried to create some foofy thing to display. Foofy accessories just are not my style. Authentic living is more my style.

Simple Decorating: Real Life AccessoriesBHG

I used to spend a lot more time creating and setting up stuff that looked impressive and complicated. It may have been useless and taken hours of my life to pull it together, but I thought it was impressive! But I think now I have found my rhythm and style in decorating —  it is much more laid back and subtle. It embraces the beauty of real life.

My favorite accessories to display are the ones I actually use or have special memories attached to them. Dishes, pitchers, plates, books, baskets, shells, chalkboards, wooden game boards, heirlooms or family hand me downs and things my kids have made or given me are pretty much all you will find around my house. No fancy centerpieces, useless stuff on shelves, or walls lined with random decor … just a happy mix of pretty things we use in every day life. I call that everyday on display! When you make every day things pretty, your home is attractive automatically.

Simple Decorating: Real Life AccessoriesBHG

I do love creative ways of displaying things and decorating my home. If it is unusual, attractive and functional, I am all for it. I am a bit of a decorating rebel because if EVERYONE has something and it is all the rage, I tend to shy away from the trend, unless it is something I have had forever or is  a classic — or at least something I had long before it became trendy. I just don’t want my home to intentionally look like my neighbors. Something just seems wrong about that.

Even if you don’t have a decorating gene in your body, I think you can have a personal style all your own.

Simple Decorating: Real Life Accessories

  • I love that unusual iron fencing in the top photo adorned with fabric jackets or aprons. Unique simple useful and pretty.
  • The open shelves in the second photo are beautiful and functional. Real life dishes on open shelving! SIMPLE BEAUTY.
  • The third photo is so real life, hooks with a cute bag and a dog leash!
  • And the accessories in the last photo tell me that a beautiful life happens there.

Don’t worry about all the rules, what is trendy, what your neighbor has or what looks great at someone else’s house. Your life is unique and your home can reflect where you have been, what your life is about and what you value. Be unique and let your life dictate YOUR style.

I really believe that decorating doesn’t have to be complicated, expensive or only for those who “have the eye” or know the rules for it. Keep things simple, and make real life beautiful. You can’t go wrong.

Need more inspiration? Here is a related post!



  1. Gabrielle

    Love this post and the westie in the sidebar! We have a westie named pearl!

    Gabrielles inspiring blog post..Day of the Black Belt

  2. a-m

    Oh I love this post. I have built a beautiful house and have nothing to fill it with. Beanbags look ok with chandeliers don’t they? A-M xx

  3. RML

    I love the way that bag is displayed as well, it has inspired me to do the same with a colourful Longchamp bag I have that I no longer use. I can see I am going to have to look out for unusual coat hooks etc when I am flea marketing. Hanging things up is such a good idea. Thank you for the post!

    RMLs inspiring blog post..One Minute Mystic

  4. Chie

    Good morning, Lady!

    I was so glad to find your blog as you always give us good ideas and to picture the house of all the decors to make it more cosy and to reflects what and who really we are.

    Your are right, I don’t like my house to look like our neighbours. We do have the same house style and I won’t let my interiors look theirs too. It was already in my thoughts.

    Trendy or not trendy doesn’t matter at all, isn’t it? Cheap or expensive. Matter of fact that be ourselves. Nice words to share to your fellow bloggers.

    TY again, and enjoy your lovely Wednesday.

    Chies inspiring blog post..REGN eller SOL? GARDENING, perhaps!

  5. Marian

    OH YEAH!! When my neighbors start to decorate like me, out it goes, lol. Now I live somewhere where only my house is like it is, no-one else has it, YAY!! I love shabby/romantic/victorian mix. and most here have the old fashioned taste (they are mostly seniors in my street) so they always look inside to see what I have now, and they love it….for me, YAY!!

    Like your post a lot.


    Marians inspiring blog post..I am SO proud!!!!

  6. Robin

    I like to think of my style as “eclectic”…I don’t have a theme, it’s actually quite random…LOL. I just buy what I like, usually vintage/antique and it just comes together. I realize my style might not be the same as someone else, but I am the one who lives in my house. I think of it as “fuss-free”. :)

    Robins inspiring blog post..Snips and Snails, and Puppy Dog Tails……..

  7. cityfarmer

    I love your style….and I MISS you!

  8. Becky K.

    This post is the very reason we love you!
    You are so authentic.
    I love how you keep the balance between style
    and living!
    And you do it with grace and beauty.

    Hope things are truly looking better for
    you now. Praying for a buyer better than
    the last…

    Thanks Melissa!

    Becky K.s inspiring blog post..Outdoor Blogger Meet

  9. nel

    I love this post… I also prefer to decorate with everyday things around my home that mean something to me or the people in my home and like to think that helps make our home unique to us.

  10. Kristen

    I love the bins and buckets in the last photo. I think one of my favorite accessories is unique storage in unusual places. Thanks for the encouragement to find our own style and create an authentic space!

    Kristen @ Beautifully Imperfects inspiring blog post..Everybody Needs a Nest

  11. Suzann

    This is the best post!
    This is exactly what has been in my heart, but I couldn’t figure out how to put it into words. The second and third photos took my breath away. Thank You!!

    Suzanns inspiring blog post..Matthew 6:34

  12. Christi

    Great post, Melissa!

  13. Lisa

    Absolutely breathtaking!!! This is exactly the style I’m embracing. I’ve far from mastered it, but I’m so drawn to unfussy decorating. I could never do a formal centerpiece again.

    We have a giant fork and spoon passed down from my husband’s grandmother that hang on our kitchen wall because my husband has always loved them (and now so do I) and I think it’s funny that suddenly they’ve become “all the rage” — but I refuse to part with them!

    What a perfect post! You are absolutely inspiring!!!

    Lisas inspiring blog post..Tuesdays Unwrapped: Growth

  14. Ashley

    I love the exposed dishes. I’ve been seeing that a lot lately, I just don’t think mine would look as pristine as those pictured. :)

    Ashleys inspiring blog post..Avant Cirque

  15. Hallie

    I read several blogs but rarely take the time to post–but I had to comment on this one! I agree w/ you wholeheartedly that we shouldn’t try to copy our neighbor’s house or decorating style. Our home is filled w/ family pieces, well-used thrifted items and a few new purchases. You won’t see any of it in a house next door. When our adult children come back home, they can walk in and see Grandma F’s clay vase she made in high school and Grandpa H’s painting from 1949 and know they are home. When we have guests they usually comment on the style of our home. It may not be for everyone, but that is the point isn’t it!!!

    Thanks for a great post and and wonderful blog–its one of my favorites.

    • Melissa

      Thanks for commenting Hallie! Your home sounds delightful!

  16. teresa

    I so agree with everything you said- It is fun to be a rebel. I know for year- {starting way back} some people would think l lost it- because I didn’t buy the whole “Set” of furniture. I’m not a “matchie” kind of gal- I too, like it to just happen. That’s the fun in it.
    Happy Day

    teresas inspiring blog post..twilight

  17. Candace

    beautifully stated… it seems that when I try to “force” a display or design – it just doesn’t work. our house is also packed with sentimental items – from the milkcan to the wooden bowl bought on a mission trip. i wouldn’t choose to put anything store bought in their place. our house decor is like a jumbled timeline of our families and our lives as they have merged together. thanks again for such an inspiring post.

  18. Pam D.

    I agree… my tastes have always run more to the classic, warm, cozy, peaceful (I love blue and white!) English or Early American look. I have friends who are always saying things like “I need to re-paint… the new in colors are…” And I think they think that I am a little out of step in my tastes. But I always think, why do you have to change just to be trendy? Occasionally I might incorporate some trendy colors that I like, but only because I like them… Trends come and go. Give me the classic, mixed with a little eclectic if it is something I like! Glass front kitchen cabinets. Pretty hooked rugs. Toile accents on pillows and curtains. Nooks and crannies, and dormers and bay windows (don’t have those last two, but wish I did). Warm brown furniture. White plates arranged on a buffet or table (like yours!), colors that lift my heart to the sky and fill me with praise, pictures of loved ones and paintings that make me smile. You’re so right. Forget trends…choose what makes the heart smile.

  19. Shilo

    What a refreshing post! Thanks, Melissa, for continuing to inspire.
    Blessings on you and your family!

    Shilos inspiring blog post..A Well in the Desert

  20. Kay Alessi

    I love this! Great pictures. My dishes, photographs and old family treasures are my art. I couldn’t agree more about wanting your home to be unique. Sometimes a challenge in Suburbia, USA.

    Kay Alessis inspiring blog post..Treat Yourself!

  21. Meredith from Merchant Ships

    Hear, hear!

    Artful living takes some practice, but I totally agree on the clutter-y nicknacks. I think we see so many over-styled magazines that we think our tabletops need to look like store displays.

    To me, real life accessories include books and live plants.

    Meredith from Merchant Shipss inspiring blog post..Summer Party Cupcakes

  22. Kimm at Reinvented

    Amen, sister! I have seen little signs of a trend in the simpler direction, at least among “real” people! Simple and functional IS beautiful!

    Kimm at Reinventeds inspiring blog post..Sometimes Trash Should Stay Trash

  23. Gina

    This post is totally why we love you! You embrace your own authentic style and encourage your readers to find their own as well. I love how my home is evovling, growing on it’s own. If something takes too much effort or time, well, it’s just not for me. It’s all about real life!

    Ginas inspiring blog post..Sprucing up the Front Porch-For Less

  24. Stacey

    What a great post! I wholeheartedly agree that our style has to be our own!! I like a simple, uncluttered look myself :)!

  25. AnNicole

    I love this post! I definitely stess too much over accessorizing. Sometimes it’s so much easier to just do what Pottery Barn tells you to do (their accessories are beautiful afterall), but you’re completely right about your accessories need to be meaningful and unique to you and your family…even if that means they’re “imperfect”.

    Thanks, and have a great day!

    [email protected] inspiring blog post..Go Monkey Go!

  26. Deserae

    Great post…it really made me stop and think about the way I decorate!

    Deseraes inspiring blog post..What a mess he is!

  27. Angie

    As usual you have inspired me with both your writing style and your ideas. Beautiful, and I too thrive on decorating with pieces that have history, things that make me giddy inside, every day items that I use.

    I’ve so enjoyed decorating our new place with this new mantra in mind, as as I turn in for the evening I look around and smile – I just love it so much. Thanks for the encouragement to be unique.

    Angie @ The Creative Mamas inspiring blog post..What I found Wednesdays!

  28. Astrid

    I really love all the photos you posted. I love how none of them look designer perfect….Simple, sophisticated & beautiful. Thanks for sharing them!

    Astrids inspiring blog post..What do with Morels

  29. anne

    Hi Melissa…you have such fantastic ideas…I will certainly keep them in mind when decorating…I could do with you over here, to take control of my house :-) :-)..wish I could get things hubby is not that good, he says looks fine, NO…it needs fixing, painting or shifting to the tip!! :-)

    annes inspiring blog post..To All My Readers and Commenters…….

  30. Sarah

    I love, love, love this post! Thank you for the reminder to do what we love and to not worry about what others think. I pray that all of your house needs work out. Thanks for the decorating encouragement!

    Sarah @ No Frills, No Fuss….s inspiring blog post..I am in love…but I think I need therapy.

  31. Tee

    I absolutely love this. I think it feels so much better when you can come home to a place that is personalized to your life, taste, style, etc. That’s what makes a home truly beautiful :) Thanks so much for sharing and inspiring us to step outside the box. It makes for much more affordable living too! lol

    Tees inspiring blog post..Keys Please

  32. pendy

    I like to use things that my mother, grandmother, and those before them used. Also, things my friends have given me.
    I DO NOT like trendy stuff. If it’s all the rage, I want no part of it. Anyone can copy but my own personal collection of things is what makes me ‘at home’ .

    pendys inspiring blog post..Eight Months Old!

  33. Joanie

    What a wonderful post. Those photos are yummy! I am just beginning the process of thoughtfully going through my home and trying to honor each space, trying to be authentic and real. Thanks again for another inspiring post.

    [email protected] Bright Sides inspiring blog post..lilac days

  34. Rona

    It’s nice to have a style that reflects you and your family. My husband and I have tried to reflect that when making purchases.

    Ronas inspiring blog post..Wordless Wednesday – May 20, 2009

  35. meg duerksen

    one of my favorite decorating props…markers and paper…it makes a room seem lived in. :)

    meg duerksens inspiring blog

  36. Lindsey

    Thanks for this reminder. I’m in the beginning stages of redecorating our front rooms and I needed this post. :)

  37. Cindy T

    Oh! Oh! Thank you so much! We are a bit like you…moving again and this time retiring. I am going home to mix a bit of France where we live now, with a bit of British (my husband and things from England) and a bit of the American West. That’s us…think that I can pull it off….especially in a small ranch house? No matter, I will have a great time trying.

    • Melissa

      Oh, absolutely you can do it! No one else will be able to recreate your look! :-) It will be lots of fun!

  38. Tara

    I was reading along and hoping you were going to tell me that these pictures came from your home. :) I totally agree that we should decorate with real things. I have a problem actually doing it, though. My mom is all about trinkets and knickknacks, and she gives them as gifts all the time. It’s hard for me to toss them because she gave them to me, but they just sit around and collect dust. It’s a struggle.

    Tara @ Feels like homes inspiring blog post..A Sure Sign of Spring

    • Melissa

      Yeah, I know how that is. Just remember it is your house and if you aren’t happy with how it looks just gather up those items and put them in a pretty box somewhere until you can part with them. Or if you must keep them out, at least try to group them altogether on one shelf so you don’t have to have them all over the house. I know it is hard when people give you gifts but maybe you can redirect her to starting a special collection of dishes for you or something you really want.

  39. Rachel

    Thank you so much for reminding me of these things. I have no decorating sense….yet. I’m trying.
    This was the year that I was definitely going to get my house ‘together’. I was going to decorate, whatever that meant to me. Unfortunately there have been some real set-backs (like major surgery to remove a possibly cancerous mass, along with ovary, tube and maybe more). I’m getting better but haven’t done anything in my home because this year has been such an upheaval.

    I’m so glad I checked your blog on this particular post. I needed to read it.

    • Melissa

      Rachel, I am so sorry about your health issues this year. Take care of yourself!

  40. Ruth

    I believe this is one of the BEST posts I have ever read on the subject of decorating or the atmosphere of our homes. You have put into words exactly what I feel about my home and my “signature” feel. Love it – Thank you!

    • Melissa

      Thanks Ruth, what a sweet comment!

  41. Amy

    Wonderfully written! I agree with Ruth, one of my favorites of yours:-) Have a great weekend.

    Amy @ Living Locurtos inspiring blog post..Giveaway Winners!

  42. Jenni at Life from the Roof

    I agree with the sentiment that having something everyone else has kind of takes the joy and fun out of it. That’s why I don’t tend to buy as many textiles, etc. from places like IKEA, though I think there’s still plenty of room for creativity by mixing and matching certain pieces, and I tend to use their frames a lot.

    Just an idea . . . I would love to see how others have applied this idea in their own homes . . . perhaps a place for a Mr. Linky? I have a couple of ideas I’d love to share, and would love seeing what some of the others have done as well.

    Jenni at Life from the Roofs inspiring blog post..For Trader Joe’s lovers only . . .

  43. Tara

    I found the link to your site at incourage. I’m an interior designer and I think your blog is amazing! I love your ideas and how you look at design. I like to look around my house and see all the memories and pictures and various things that my husband and I have aquired over the years, our house tells many stories of where we have been and who we and what is important in our lives. You inspire me even more to let my life dictate my style as you say…I love that.

  44. Christina

    Despite how busy we may be, it’s important to take some energy to make our house a home. Thanks for reminding us of that!

  45. lylah ledner

    Ahh..just what I was looking for….coat rack inspiration :-) thanks my inspiring friend!



  1. How to have open shelving in your kitchen (without daily staging) - [...] Related posts: Keeping Things Simple with Real Life Accessories [...]
  2. Inspired By Life: Finding Your Style - [...] Keeping Things Simple [...]

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

browse categories:

browse archives:

let’s stay connected!

Follow for daily
Home Inspiration:

get my free decorating guide

home decor inspiration, free downloads,
and more, straight to your inbox