Are your Accessories Dated?

A client once told me she had so many accessories, she couldn’t possibly use them all and she needed help with styling and editing.

But what she really owned were accessories that were purchased 15 years ago and the rest were an accumulation of one-off candle holders and random gifts from familly and friends.

She was surprised when I told her a shopping trip for an update was required in order to refresh her look.

The Pottery Barn is one of my favourite places to shop for accessories. When I arrived at their media event yesterday morning for a tour I was reminded yet again that even I–the obsessed styling addict–could update a tablescape or two in my house.

One thing I love about Americans, y’all DECORATE for each season I think much more than Canadians do in general.

Chris at the Vancouver location demonstrated how to decorate your dining table for fall.

Are your Accessories Dated?

Big candleholders and fake pumpkins are a great way to style your table even without a dinner party.

Are your Accessories Dated?

Pottery Barn seems to be one of the only places that I know of in Vancouver where you can buy a table runner that’s longer than 5 feet and wider than 12″.table runner that’s longer than 5 feet and wider than 12″.

I love this Suzani Embroidered toss pillow.

You can never go wrong with hurricane lanterns, your coffee table will immediately look better with these.


I spied this duvet cover and bought it for the master bedroom. Now that I have drapes being installed next week I need to finish decorating that room.

Pottery Barn is my go-to source for duvet covers for any colour scheme you might be decorating with.

Here’s a sneak peek below:

Are your Accessories Dated?

I get bored of pattern easily so I just bought the duvet and kept everything solid. See I’m breaking the pink vs. yellow rule. My upholstered headboard is actually the colour of muslin which has a slight pink undertone but looks a lot pinker here. Sorry for the dark picture, this room faces North so it’s the darkest room in the house.

Have a great weekend everyone! xo Maria

Related posts:

A Friday Tablescape for a Special Friend

What Do you Think? Is not Advice that Helps

5 Designer Secrets that will Make or Break your Paint Colours

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  1. Love the duvet cover. I’m guessing the north facing room issue is why the mat on the night stand looks pink too.

  2. Connie Nikiforoff Designs

    Table runners are easily sewn by even the most novice seamstress. All straight seams 🙂 It take very little fabric too so it’s a good ‘first project’ if you’re just starting out. And you have so many options because you’re not limited to what a store sells—you can get really creative with all the fabrics available as well as create any size you’d like. 🙂

    • Thanks Connie, I have had many custom runners made for clients and I should have mentioned that it can be done but it’s still not as inexpensive as off-the shelf if the colours work.

    • Still looking for those candle lanterns as well. Pottery Barn didn’t have them. I did order the dice though. Very cool idea. Anyone found those candle lanterns???

  3. Hi Maria,
    Love your colours in your bedroom, they are very similar to mine. What colour did you paint your walls?

  4. I have been eyeing that duvet as well (in the catalog) but we do not have a PB store in my town. I wasn’t sure from the pictures what shade of blue was in the pattern. Do you think it would work in a room painted BM Quiet Moments with BM China White trim?

    • Yes my walls are Palladian Blue and I think Quiet Moments is close. . . There were a couple different shades of grayed blue in the duvet.

      • My bedroom is also painted Quiet Moments. I’ll have to check out the duvet the next time I’m at Pottery Barn.

  5. I love freshening up my accessories but I like to do it with “OLD” things. I am not fond of new items unless they look old because that look can sometimes feel contrived.
    Any hints for me?

    • Ditto to Linda’s question on dated accessories. I read this post thinking there would be more discussion of what’s in and out and how often it changes; how what’s out can be transformed/reused, etc. Going shopping to change out accessories is kind of a no-brainer — but how does one know this is necessary? It’s interesting to learn that seasonal decorating is more popular in the US than in Canada, and to see what’s in store at Pottery Barn; otherwise this didn’t enlighten me.

      • Great question, I didn’t think to say which accessories would be dated. . . a good future post. Maria

        • Please make this your next post! We need lots of pictures of what is outdated in our homes. We know things are off, but we don’t know what needs fixing! Maria, I Love You.

  6. Yup, I have to agree that I still don’t know if my accessories are dated–so they probably are!

    I don’t know how others feel, but the last thing I would want is to have my house look like it came out of the latest catalog. I guess that makes me a dinosaur, too.

    • I feel the same way. I understand the need to freshen up accessories–one thing I always buy at Marshall’s is pillows and change them out and move them around. The assembled-over-time look is what I like, and a lot of my accessories never were and never will be in fashion. Think the duck decoys I inherited from my father that my husband loves!

      • Gosh!! I have accessories in my home from over 40 years ago, and I still love them. I guess that’s why I still have them. I did get rid of my old brass candle sticks years ago, that a start.

  7. I LOVE the candle lanterns with the dice and pool balls. Perfect for our family room. I have a few great game boards my grandfather made around 1910. This will be perfect to accessorize with. Where can I find those glass candle lanterns?

  8. Agree with the others who’d like a bit more discussion on this topic and examples. I have things that I’ve had forever that are very meaningful to me – they are part of me and speak “me” and make me smile every time I walk into the room. Why would I want to change them? Pillows, maybe, but not a special pillow; accessory artwork maybe, but not a favorite piece; not my small black & white striped flat-top wooden cat with upright tail made in Mexico that was a gift placed in the entry to an empty apartment when I moved back to Houston (my “guard’ cat) who still welcomes guests to my home today. I love Pottery Barn too as well as Pier 1 and World Market, but I don’t want anyone to feel they’ve walked into the store when they walk into my house. Definitely a more detailed post on accessories, but maybe more on freshening up while keeping treaures that make us happy – your great tagline, Maria – and lots of examples.

  9. JoyceB in Atlanta

    Hmmm… Like others, I want more information about what is dated. And, like others, I have a 42 year old collection of accessories that have traveled all over the country with me. It turns out that I’ve always loved glass candlesticks of every kind. Now, I can afford beautiful crystal. Most of the glass ones are quite unusual by today’s standards, and I’ve found that they work well with my newer candle holders when I use the same color candles in all of them. Also, one of the best ways of using them on my dining table is clustering them and interspersing them with many votive candles in crystal. I’m also supremely happy I never got rid of the ‘dated’ brass candle holders and decorative boxes that are now 30 years old. Seems that everything cycles around and suddenly look new again! Some things I agree may be out of date in my home are the pictures and lamps. I’m working on replacing those. I heavily decorate for each season, but pillows only change from velvet for winter to silk for summer. Please do a post for us as I love your perspective and more modern decorating style. Even my very traditional home can use a shot of ‘new’!!

  10. Maria, your guest room looks lovely. Where might I find night tables like yours? I have been searching for something exactly like that!

    • Jeri, I saw Marias side table at our Home Goods store, Marshalls and Tj maxx carry them sometimes,too-all 3 stores are owned by the same corporation-good luck shopping!

  11. I like the Pottery Barn bedding (currently have a duvet from there) but I have a hard time with the fact that their entire store is muted and doesn’t mix well with white/grey. So now that I am replacing my (inherited, very bossy) olive green carpet, I am going to be finally changing my entire bedroom from ivory creams/muted reds, yellows, and greens to clean whites and cleaner blues and greens. But that means I can’t shop at PB for the bedding! I am interested in a closer picture of how you made yours work.

    • You might like West Elm as an alternative to Pottery Barn. I have two duvet covers and a few pillows from West Elm and generally I find it fresher and not as “country” as Pottery Barn tends to be.

      PS They are both the same company, Williams Sonoma, and each has a paint line through Sherwin Williams.

  12. Well, I can’t really agree. For me, accessories must be personal and have meaning for you and/or be an item you especially love.

    Otherwise, your home would just feel like a higher end hotel. The exception for me would be the bathroom, where I will buy soap dishes, dispensers and art just to match it all up. One of my bathrooms does have an item on display that I had as a little girl and it matches perfectly.

    I’ve seen people shopping with a decorator at Homesense, it seemed so strange to me to be filling a shopping cart with items that someone else picked out for you, all at one time.

    As I sit here in my open plan living, dining, hallway and kitchen rooms I can look around and see all the lovely things I have collected from many different countries. I have original art from Dominican Republic and Mexico and Guatemala, and the list goes on…..I am filled with happiness as I look at these things, some bought from the person who crafted them.

    Sometimes items will no longer work with your decor, I understand that and then these items will have to be put away for another time/place. But I would absolutely hate to have to go out shopping for accessories in a local store.

    PS recently my husband has been bringing home decorative items from Asia, which I dislike, so I’ve told him he cannot put them in our living space and he has to take them to his office.

  13. Love the duvet. I eyed it myself for some time. But I need to comment on something completely off this topic. Because you have made several comments on the Hot Pink I had to try it. I made the Hot Pink Smoothie today for the first time. OMG! Whole food nutrition that is soooo wonderful.
    Thank you for mentioning this enough to me to research it! It will be a regular at my house.

  14. I believe that the accessories in a home should reflect the interests and life experiences of the people who live there. This is best accomplished over time – fine art, poster art, handcrafted items, beautiful things found in nature, inherited items, and thrift store bits & bobs should be gathered along life’s journey not during a one-time visit to a store.

    There is nothing worse than going into a home where all the accessories were bought at chain stores (this year the stores are filled with XYZ motif/color, next year it will all be ABC motif/color…) or were all bought in the same year. In my opinion this is THE recipe for having a home with dated accessories and it is also the recipe for having a home that is lifeless and dull. Avoid the cheap, nasty, mass produced stuff as much as possible if you want to love your home from season to season, year after year.

    It is perhaps better to have a mix of old and new, expensive and inexpensive, handmade and manufactured all bound together by your individual aesthetic sense and delight in the items (trust your gut …you know deep down inside what makes your heart “sing” and what does not …don’t buy (or keep) the “does not” just because it is on trend). This is a more difficult approach that shopping for “current” and “fashionable” items but ultimately more emotionally satisfying and more visually interesting. Instead of shopping for more stuff ….perhaps move what you have around the house… play with creating vignettes from what you already have ..repaint things (even glass and plastic can be painted) … go for a walk in nature to see what you can find …put a few things in storage so everything left on display has room to breathe. If you LOVE something deeply hang onto it (even if it sometimes needs to spend a wee bit of time in storage).

    Of course, there will always be a few things that will need to be swapped out because they no longer work (or a worn looking) but for the most part “updating” can be done by introducing the current colors and “trends” through transient things like flowers, plants, and candles and by mixing up how you display the pieces you already own if your foundation pieces are things you truly love.

  15. Interesting post. Accessories are important, but less is more in most cases. I have observed that if the architecture of the space is sufficient, usually meaning a pre-war structure where architects and builders understood proportion and harmony, the need to “over accessorize” is not needed. Often it is when the built space is lacking so in “structure decoration” we feel the need to improve it by over accessorizing. True, some things have sentimental value and clients want to use them. I am usually successful with working some items into the scheme and often, they realize that perhaps what they thought they wanted to use is not quite suitable for the new scheme. But, I must say a house full of some pottery barn (and stores like them) accessories will become “dated” in time. Am I knocking it? Certainly not, they have some great accessories, and for events, it works well. In the long-term chosen wisely, some can also work, but they will never be an investment in your overall scheme. The question to ask is, “what is the quality level of my overall space?”

  16. I love changing out my dust catchers, oops, I mean my nicely chosen accessories! I tend towards glass or wood items that I can intermingle with a few seasonal items. Then every year I purge a few at our church rummage sale, do you have those in Canada? Today I found a huge hurricane on a wooden base, probably from PB originally. It’s timeless and I paid $4. A chunky candle and my island has a new look for fall. Love rummage sales.

  17. I think that a key to “freshening up” lies with editing. Collections are nice but sometimes fewer is better. It is also fun to shuffle things around periodically. And it’s always good to have a few really nice pieces in the mix.

  18. Accessories that I think date really fast are trendy picture frames, lamps, candleholders, votives, and vases. Am I saying get rid of all your collected accessories? NO.

    It’s great if you don’t need a designer to have a wonderful collection of accessories but most of the clients I work with have no idea how to buy accessories even if one jumped up and said “pick me, pick me” because their talents lay elsewhere. They are thrilled if I show up with a collection of accessories and lamps that I have chosen to suddenly give their home a look and a feel.

    Just like I had no idea which plants and shrubs to buy for my house, is my experience of my garden any less diminished because every single one was chosen by my landscape architect? NO.

    Could everyone here buy a faux mercury pumpkin, a new curvy vase or some chunky candleholders and inject some new life onto their dining table without throwing out all your collected accessories.

    I think we could.
    Thanks for your comments everyone.

  19. Hi Maria!
    Enjoying your discussions; I learn so much! You are right about Americans accessorizing. I have four large boxes of just Halloween & fall decorations. I did take an old orange pumpkin, spray painted it gold, then hot glued rows & rows of pearl Christmas garland covering the whole pumpkin-
    so pretty with the 2 white pumpkins my daughter bought me last year on my foyer table. In the meantime I will be reducing the 4 boxes to 2, needless to say- luv accessories. I do try to purchase what I love & will blend with what I have.
    Your guest room is lovely by the way!

  20. I think home accessories are somewhat like jewelry: good quality expensive pieces like a strand of pearls or diamond studs never go out of style..where as costume trendy pieces will become dated over time. Lovely antique ironstone or silver frames or pewter candlesticks or framed silouettes or whatever it is one loves and collects never looks dated. Trends right now that may look silly in ten years: hurricanes everywhere, potted white silk orchids, frames hanging on wall w no image inside, lucite or chrome tables, ottoman/coffee tables, moroccan tile motif rugs, peacocks and owls!! But the trendy is fun so long as u dont pay too much!

  21. Maria, I would love more about accessories and “styling” shelves and surfaces. This is a great discussion. Thanks everyone. Fads don’t appeal to me…i.e. white animal heads, flag banners, or empty frames….just sayin’.

  22. Great post Maria. Thanks for the tips as always.
    Joyce, love the white pumpkins. I’ve been using white pumpkins for a number of years now, couldn’t buy them in my town but had to go elsewhere to get them, but I see they are now quite common. Great fall decorating. I have them in my garden at the moment. and they make great spooky pumpkins.

  23. I like your idea to put the pool balls in a vase with a candle on top. I have the pool balls and candles I would like to know where did you find the double vase like that?