One of the biggest dilemmas when presenting your North Shore property for sale is how to arrange your accessories, whether it be a bookcase, shelf, or tabletop. Here is a three step system that will transform your boring or cluttered spaces.

Harmony and Contrast

When arranging a space with accessories, keep in mind that the most important thing to avoid here is boredom! This has a lot less to do with the objects you choose than how you choose to display them.

To keep a space from putting buyers to sleep, remember to keep a balance of harmony (things that feel like they go together, like similar colors or styles) and contrast (things that spice things up by being different…smooth against texture, round against straight line, etc) You want a bit of both in your setting.

You can create harmony by repeating a square shape and then add contrast by sitting a smooth candlestick next to a rough basket.

Scale and Shape

Make sure that the items you are using fit into their new locations scale…you don’t want one tiny paperweight on a large kitchen table, and you want to steer clear of using a huge ceiling high arrangement of flowers on a tiny table.

Generally people tend to use things that are too small for their surroundings. If you have a number of smaller items that you would like to use try grouping them to make one larger item.


Layer and Soften

Once you’ve chosen your objects for the space following the design principles above, now it’s time to layer and soften. Start with a larger, taller piece slightly off center…this will be the defining piece in your arrangement. Now work to the outer edges in layers…Add a taller background layer, a middle sized medium height layer, and your tiniest objects in the front. Keep the eye moving up and down as it purveys the arrangement from left to right for interest.

Add some fabric or twisted ribbon to soften the edges of the shelf or table, to bring in color, and to highlight certain objects.

Above all, keep trying new combinations of items until you find an arrangement that works for you. Use things in unusual ways. Tuck flowers or a live plant into an arrangement that seems too static.

Remember, Keep it simple. If your space still looks cluttered and lost, chances are you are trying to display too much.


If you are considering selling and would like some personalised help presenting your Northcote home for a maximum sale price, you can use my Interior Design qualifications and obtain a FREE Property Presentation Plan, call me at 021 85 84 83 or email me at for more information.