Knickknacks. Chachkis. Accessories. Trinkets. Stuff.
No matter what you call them, we all have some of these laying around the house. Some may be artfully arranged on a shelf or mantle, and others may be laying in a dusty box in the back of your attic. I definitely have some in both categories!
I love the look of a beautifully organized bookshelf with the right mix of books and other things, or a mantle which plays up the architecture and the fireplace but doesn't necessarily compete. But, what is too much and what is too little. I admit, my current mantles (family room and living room) are too bare but I am not going out to buy things just for the sake of filling them up.
Instead, I am waiting to find the right thing either on one of the many trips we are planning to take this summer, on one of my many trips to Marshalls, or a neighborhood yard sale (there's a big one next weekend!). You never know where you are going to find something that you really like, and the perfect place to put it may not immediately present itself. My advice - unless it's a hugely expensive piece of art - buy it.
Although my favorite little things in our house are things that remind me of trips we have taken, gifts, or family heirlooms, I still have a lot of things that I really like for some unexplainable reason.
Here are some examples. The new bookshelves in our family room include a conch shell that we got in Nevis about 8 years ago. It was our first vacation as a couple after we bought the house. Great place - I would go back in a heartbeat - but I would definitely get the requisite certificate from the St. Kitts & Nevis Department of Agriculture before trying to pack it in my suitcase! Fortunately the security guards at the airport gave me a pass when I started to get a bit tearful! But I digress...
The ceramic pear on the shelf came from my favorite consignment shop REfind in Vienna, VA a few months ago with my mom. I kept walking by it and liked it - no explainable reason - just liked it. Bought it. Incidentally, the glass hurricane on my family room mantle also came from the same store.
Of course, not all of my displays are as glamorous but I try to save those for the top of my dresser in our bedroom. I think this is a great place for those special things that are a bit more personal and mean a lot to you. I contain them on my dresser using a tray that I got as a gift from friends years ago. Most of the things were gifts from my grandmother with the exception of the adorable frame which was a Christmas gift from my cousin Victoria (and fellow blogger!). The "flower pot" was a Mother's Day gift this year from my sweet 4 year old, Elizabeth.
In the yard sale category, I found this ice bucket at an estate sale on our street soon after we moved into this house. I think I paid $3! It's not really usable as an ice bucket any more because the lining is cracked, but it's a great conversation piece and can be used to serve food with a lining of some sort. Reminds me that I need to break out the silver polish!
My advice - look around your house and see what you already have that can be reused in a decorative way. Maybe skip the softball trophy on the mantle but maybe you have an interesting vase, shell, or other small item that would work well in your space.