5 Accessorizing and Decorating Tips from Bradley Thiergartner

Irwin Weiner ASID - We started Design2Share many years ago to showcase the best of interior design, and to "share" the projects, tips, and solid experience designers have had with clients and their homes. That's why I'm so excited to showcase some of the beautiful projects from the two designers behind NYC firm Bradley Thiergartner, Benjamin Bradley and David Thiergartner.
Their 20-year collaboration has produced a number of impressive "tailored traditional" homes with precision and contemporary overtones. You can view some of their featured projects and read what this decorating duo has to say about them in our D2S Scrapbook photo essay- Bradley Thiergartner: Accessories at Work. And we asked them about the oftentimes difficult step of accessorizing a room. First, they commented about the interior shown in the top photo.

The power of accessories! Built-in bookcases provide a natural display space for a variety of accessories. Books, boxes, and objects create a visual feast. Our standard accessory - throw pillows - invite you to sit. Colorful artwork in multiples hang above the sofa.

 And here are five accessorizing tips Benjamin and David wanted to share with you.
  1. Add your personality to the accessorizing process. After we provide many of the basic accessories for a space - artwork, lamps, throw pillows, throws, etc. - we then like for the client to purchase things on their own so that the room takes on a personal feel. Many times a room lacks personality if all of the items are selected by a designer. While the room will undoubtedly be beautiful, how it reflects its owner is a crucial factor to the success of the “feeling” of the room. Accessories are such an important element. They add tremendous warmth and interest. They provide “eye candy” and allow you to discover elements of the room long after you have taken in the feeling of the space. They also give us great insight into whom the room belongs, what are their interests, hobbies, etc. Finally, accessories can add comfort to a room ... a wonderful down-filled pillow, a cashmere throw, a good reading light, the soft sent of a candle. All of these accessories add to the comfort of any home.
  2. Sprinkle in the unique. We love to haunt antique shows, antique malls, and flea markets for one-of-a-kind accessories. Many times we will have already spoken with the client and reviewed where we need accessories and what we might generally be thinking. We let them know that we will be attending an antique show or such and we'll discuss a budget. We find that, in most cases, the client is thrilled to know that their designer will be selecting unique and interesting objects that none of their friends will have. 
  3. We LOVE collections! Any item, when massed together, can make for an interesting accessory. For one client, we discovered a collection of clear glass chemistry funnels and had them mounted, museum style, on black metal stands. Taking any utilitarian object and elevating it to “artwork” status is great fun. Working with collections or masses of objects can cut down on the number of individual accessories you need for a room, as their impact can be so great.
  4. Use books and textiles to "fill in" the look. Use antique books, coffee table books, novels, design tomes, etc. Books can fill a shelf, cover a coffee table, accessorize an ottoman, lift a table lamp to a certain height, elevate a small accessory to more importance, add color to a neutral space, add texture and interest to a contemporary space and on and on…. Select books that reflect the homeowner's interest - that's also another way of personalizing the accessories. And don't forget the textiles! Antique paisley shawls, vintage quilts, and decorative throws can all add a sense of history, comfort, and familiarity to a space. Nothing is more inviting than a wonderful quality cashmere throw on a sofa or chair.  
  5. As a last word, we think that accessories can be much more than trinkets. Some of the most important accessories in a room are ones which you only perceive with your senses - accessories that play to the overall sensation of color, sound, and scent. Entering a room with an intoxicating fragrance, warm accent lighting, and soft music is a completely immersive experience.


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