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10 Styling Necessities to Transform your Home ASAP

By 05/12/2014February 2nd, 201724 Comments


In a few weeks, there will be magic happening at Aimee’s house in Port Alberni thanks to all of you!

Irene will arrive with a team of 10 volunteers to assemble IKEA furniture and then the following weekend I’ll be there with my car full of accessories and lamps to hang artwork and create some tablescapes.

I’ve been compiling a list of basic necessities we’ll need for styling and here’s what I recommend for every house:

Portable dimmer.

I have one beside each of our bedside lamps and I have one attached to both of the lamps on the sideboard in my dining room (above). One little flick and both lamps can be adjusted at the same time.

White pots for potted plants (faux or real)

White Plant Pots

I have probably 10 of these basic 4″ pots and just as many larger ones for for bigger plants.

Maidenhair Fern

I bought one of these to put inside a white pot for my kitchen island and it lasted for a little over a month.

I was so sad when it died and thought “Well, better stay away from that fern” until I read a post by a stylist who said she replaced hers monthly.

Unfortunately, I have only been able to find small ones since then even though I look for them constantly.

Maybe I should try it in our dark bathroom, apparently they can ‘almost’ survive in the dark.

Maidenhair Fern

Kalanchoes are another favourite. They last for over two months in my sun-filled living room.




In many shapes and sizes. They can be filled with magazines, faux granny smith apples, green moss balls or even family photos.



Even in the summer time, when I’m sitting on the sofa at night, I like a blanket on top of me. Unless it’s a real scorcher which doesn’t happen that often where I live.

My best tip is this: I have a queen sized fleece blanket that I fold in half lengthwise and then in half again and throw it at the end of the chaise on my sofa. Then I have a pretty faux fur throw that I lay on top of it and it sexes up my sofa like nothing else. This way when people sit down, their feet never touch the chaise because your blankets are always there.


Beach house or not, there’s ALWAYS a place for a pretty white coral. And the fake ones look real these days.



Coffee Table Books or Magazines

Books or magazines are great pedestals for countless accessories. They take the most mundane looking ‘what-not’ and turn it into something cool to look at.

Try it.

Birds, owls, penguins, elephants, squirrels.

A collection like this image below. . .

Animal Accessories

or four. . .



Or just one.


Hey, how can you resist that cute face, haha.



You need them for ottomans, coffee tables, if you have a pretty tea set, they look good in a tray on a sideboard.

Bathroom Tray

In a bathroom, your hairspray and all kinds of other miscellaneous bottles look messy in a group on your vanity but so much more organized and decorative when sitting inside a little rectangular tray.

Tear Drop Vase

tear drop vase

Click on images for sources

All you need is one flower, leaf or branch and a tear drop vase always looks good.

Tea Lights

I buy mine by the boat load from IKEA. They are a great price, unscented and last 4 hours.

Tea Light Holder

While you’re at it. You can get these from CB2 and hang them anywhere. In your powder room, in between a wall of art, so fun and inexpensive.

Accessories are what truly create the look and feel in your home.

What’s your favourite way to add style?

PS. If anyone local has any fun accessories to contribute to Aimee’s house, let us know. 

Related posts:

What Every Lighting Obsessed Gal or Guy Should Know

Atmosphere: The One Thing you Cannot Buy

The Enchanting World of Atmosphere

If you would like your home to fill you with happiness every time you walk in the door, become a client. On-line or In-person.

Download my eBook, How to Choose Paint Colours – It’s All in the Undertones to get my complete step-by-step system on how to get colour to do what you want and to make sure the undertones in your home are right, get some large samples!

If you would like to learn how to choose colour with confidence, become a True Colour Expert. 

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  • Andrea says:

    Thanks Maria! Love this post! Everything is so beautiful yet affordable. Do you know where I can find coral that is not too expensive?

    • Carol J says:

      Andrea, you can buy fake coral (that looks real) at Pottery Barn, or you could find other options on-line. Please do not buy real coral as the coral reefs are already imperiled.

  • Maggie S says:

    Great Ideas Maria!
    Maidenhair fern is a perennial plant and will live as long as you don’t let it dry out (as I learned the hard way). I had one in a heavy glazed pot for a several years before it died -and only needed to be watered once a week.
    I just got a new fern and didn’t take it out of the small pot (just stuck it inside a decorative pot). Because it was potted in such a small pot it dried out and died in one week –might be a record for killing a plant ;-).
    Put your fern in a larger pot with good potting soil and don’t let it get dried out. It should live and get big!!

  • Linda says:

    Oh Maria you didn’t have much luck with your maidenhair fern. Where I lived as a child (in Australia) they used to grow wild by the roadside. Heard the best maidenhair fern story tho. on a talkback radio show recently – the caller wanted to know how to divide up her 100 year old fern. It had been passed down through the family over the years & had grown enormous. So there is hope for you yet!! 🙂 Btw all your styling tips are spot on.

  • Robin says:

    You can get 1 gal maidenhair ferns at garden centers all year long. Where did you get the mirrored tray on the back if the toilet? I have been looking for one for two years to go there.

  • franki says:

    We are on the same page so MANY times!! I use trays on everyTHING! Just spray painted some metallic bronze (since that’s my “new/old” thing) and, yup, maidenhair ferns are just the right accent…just moved mine outdoors for the summer. franki

  • Joyce says:

    Hi Maria,
    Luv all your ideas for accessories and your blog!
    While I used to burn lots of candles, I now use mostly LED type candles. About 8 years ago, I almost caught our bathroom on fire with tea light candles (scotched the corner of the wooden medicine cabinet-yikes!). Since then I use the LED tea lights, pillars, and tapers. They can be scented or not. Some of mine are on timers also –
    I do use real ones on our dining room table or
    outside next to our deck and gazebo where I can keep an eye on them.
    Make everyday special.

  • Great tips Maria, as always! I hopped on Amazon and bought the dimmers, super fantastic idea!!!! It was great to see you in Toronto! Had a blast! Your color training is like no other!!! Incredibly valuable and definitely taking my business to the next level. Thanks so much!!!

  • Paula Diekhoff says:

    Maria, this particular blog segment was just what I needed!! I am so glad you point out exactly what will almost always be of use!! I also am delighted when you reference the online sources for your items. Like several other people, I would like to know where you got that mirrored tray AND the ceramic (?) owl in the collection section. Would appreciate hearing from you if you have time. Thanks!

  • Marianne says:

    If you have a favourite tray, just go to a glass shop and they can cut a mirror to that size. It’s not expensive at all. Wonderful ideas, Maria!


  • Heather says:

    I have started buying orchids rather than cut flowers or other indoor plants. The orchid I bought at Christmas is still blooming and still has buds – 5 months so far and many more to come. When the blooms end I buy a new one. It turns out to be economical when you consider how long the flowers last. Similar to that very expensive dress you buy and wear all the time, calculating the price per wear.

  • Mary-Illinois says:

    Hi Maria,
    Great tips for styling a room. Can I add another?
    I like a few framed pictures of loved ones sitting on my end tables.

  • Don’t forget to have some colorful art on the walls!

  • Pat says:

    Great tips Maria. Love them all.

    I do like the look of coral, particularly in the ocean. I suggest finding a good looking replica rather than going for the harvested.

    Let’s save our coral reefs.

  • Carol J says:

    If you use coral, please use fake coral. Our coral reefs are already endangered and should not be cut down for decoration. As Maria says, the fake coral nowadays looks real.

  • Ooooooh, I jumped for joy – just what I needed – love the hints and tips. Great idea to recommend some faux coral – might have to try some soon!

  • Betsy OShea says:

    Great stylizing tips. I bought orangy red kalanchoes in feb from Home Depot and they are blooming again! I would add glass hurricanes, faux fruit, faux boxwood topiaries, clients travel momentos…

  • Ginny says:

    Love the birds on the books, so darn cute! Great affordable styling tips, thanks Maria!

  • Carol says:

    Love the ideas. I recently replanted two indoor house plants into white pots. I painted one and bought one. I really love the way it transforms them.
    I take home a peice of coral on every vacation and pop in in a glass vase when I get home. It looks great.

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