Why I Dread Styling

Platemark Interior Design Commonwealth Avenue Living Room

You might be thinking, “What?! You design interiors for a living, how can you dislike styling?”

Generally, I don’t care for anything that comes off as forced or deliberate. The exercise of filling a space with objet d’art , tchotchkes, bric-a-brac, knick-knacks completely stresses my brain out because I worry about finding the right piece, which could take time.

I prefer to slow things down and reflect thoughtfully about the designs I create, rather than the fast, iterative approach to “How about this? No, this? Or this?” To me, it emphasizes the Cartesian Product of infinite arbitrary possibilities that have less to do with the big picture: color, scale, lighting, texture and alignment – all the elements I love to control and manipulate.

Necessary Accessories

Jewelry. Whipped cream. The cherry on top. That final 10% that makes all the difference, if done properly and tastefully. I do believe the soul of a room lies within cherished or personal objects gently scattered almost at random. This is what we like to call lived in, without which a room might feel hollow or incomplete, dare I say staged, or worse, propped.

So how do we successfully style?

Options and Teamwork


Honing in on the perfect accessory takes time and certainly some trial and error. I can’t stress enough that when installation day arrives, having a deep cache of objects in every shape and size makes everything run much smoother.

I can’t manage it alone. Together with Ashley, we can swiftly compose a vignette and create a layered visual balance very quickly.

Eliminate indecisiveness and perfection paralysis!

Missed Opportunities

Our team could spend months on a project tending to every detail of a room. First, as a kaleidoscope of ideas (in my mind), then materialized into what becomes layers of fine hand-sewn curtains, custom upholstery, fine rugs, cabinetry — you name it, anything created for our client that someone has labored over.

Projects can last for months and require so much patience on everyone’s part. So when the big items do arrive and we orchestrate the reveal, there’s a tendency to place the styling process on the back burner.

We get it, project fatigue sets in and the transformation from before to after is so stunning, it’s difficult to see the benefit of styling in that moment.  “The last thing we need is more clutter.”

There’s that word: clutter.

To me, that word evokes images with piles of unopened mail.  Or scattered dog toys. Breathe, everything will be fine. The key is don’t over-do it, But with a little bit of planning … More on that later in this article. See below to see how we make the styling process a cinch!

I compiled a bunch of un-styled vs. styled photos and you have to admit – what a difference!

Platemark’s Approach to Styling — Rip off the Band-Aid!

Truth is, if we don’t plan accordingly, it won’t happen. And if it’s done in drips and drabs, that’s all you’ll be left with, sadly. So to make it happen, here’s what we do to ensure that our styling process goes smoothly and we get amazing results:

  1. Two to six weeks prior to the final installation, we discuss with clients the needs and requirements for styling the home.
  2. Our design team then “shops the city”, surrounding areas or within their home to source accessories required for the completion of the project.
  3. Because of our relationships with shops and antique sources all over New England, we arrange to have accessories delivered to the job site on approval on the installation day and we place each item strategically. This gives our clients the opportunity to enjoy a fully furnished and completed interior. Sounds good, right?
  4. We give clients about 48 hours to decide whether or not to purchase items from the styling process.
  5. Any items, which are not purchased during the styling process, are returned to the suppliers.

Art Counts as an Accessory

Being married to an Art Dealer has its perks, I know. Art is the best accessory! I’d much rather pepper the walls with paintings, prints and drawings than pull together the right stack of coffee table books.

Deck the wall with artwork.
Deck the wall with artwork.

Oh and don’t forget about sculpture …

Accessorize with art and sculpture, too.
Accessorize with art and sculpture, too.

Heirlooms Count Too

Some to the best accessories are right under your nose! Shopping a client’s home is often a way to make the best use of an accessory they didn’t realize they had, or perhaps were using in a less obvious way.

I mean, where else would we put the red rooster?

Knowing When to Stop

It shouldn’t look over the top, unless of course that’s the look we’re going for. The up-side with accessories, nothing’s permanent and just like switching out a handbag, shoes, tie or scarf, a space can look completely different with that extra 10%.

Like having a clothing stylist pick, choose and edit for you, everything is laid out perfectly and stress-free. This makes the process a breeze, trust me. Leave it up to us!

Did you like this post? Sign up to deliver directly to your inbox!

Like what you’re reading? Stay in touch with monthly (or so) e-mails.