How to Use Accent Furniture

To make your home look visually interesting and lively, you need to put in some accent furniture. Literally speaking, an accent furniture is a piece of furniture that serves as an accent. Any piece of accent furniture goes beyond mere functionality. It’s picked and placed inside the home for its decorative value, more than anything else. It doesn’t work as hard as, let’s say a sectional couch or a dining room table, and it usually doesn’t cost a lot either. There are accent furniture pieces that serve a purpose other than décor, while some doesn’t have any practical or utilitarian need for it. The main purpose of an accent furniture is to add vibrancy, color, drama and definition to the home, while solidifying the color scheme you have set for your space.

A room can be cheered by a yellow stool, a mint green dresser or a bright red ottoman. Accent furniture are often colorful, and it makes an instant eye candy to any kind of décor – be it contemporary, modern, transitional, coastal, farmhouse, or industrial. They complement and work with your bigger, more important and more functional furniture to bring the room together.

Here are some ways how you can incorporate accent furniture pieces in your home:


1. Pair it with your accent or secondary color (or set it as one)

An accent furniture’s color is very crucial. The classic interior design decorating rule involves the 60-30-10 rule, which is a timeless decorating rule that helps you set a color scheme successfully. This proportion helps give balance to the colors and keep any interior appealing. It’s a very helpful top in deciding what color the accent furniture must be in. The rule means you should choose a three-color palette, and decorate 60% of the room with your main color, 30% of your room in the secondary color, and 10% in your accent color.  

For instance, in the photo above, the main color is the neutral gray which dominates the walls and the couch; while the secondary color is green, which is solidified by the palm leaves pattern on the upper portion of the wall and the house plant. Yellow serves as the accent color, as evident by the throw pillows and the coffee table, which serves as the accent furniture. The warmness of the table and the throw pillows cheers up the rather dark room, and it complements the green patterned wall.

If you’re starting from scratch, you can set a color scheme, in which the main color would be most of the walls or large furniture or accessory. The secondary colors can be added through the draperies, accent tables, accent chairs, bed linens, smaller furniture or accent wall. The accent color could be seen through your flowers, artwork, lamp, candles, and more. Depending on the largeness of your accent furniture, it may match your secondary or accent color.

To pick out the color of an accent furniture to add in an interior, look at your accents. Pull out a bold color from your artwork in the room or from a printed fabric you display. You can choose the color from there.

2. Add a chair with flair

2. Add a chair with flair

The most common accent piece used for interiors is the chair. When selecting an accent chair, choose something with a strong profile, a striking look or a color that brightens up your mood. Like on the photo above, the teal blue wicker chair adds an interesting textural contrast, while still solidifying the white-gray-teal color scheme.

It can be of different style from the rest of the furniture in the room to achieve even more contrast. For instance, if you have a smooth leather sectional couch as your main seating in the room, you can add a tufted wingback chair or a brightly-colored chaise lounge as secondary seating. If you’re furniture is mostly modern, try bringing in a traditional chair, or the other way around.

3. Pick up some small tables

Adding small tables are a great way to accent your space. They can be added anywhere, from living rooms, to bedrooms and bathrooms.  They can add contrast and color, while also serving a purpose. Most often, accent tables are painted, inlaid, has glass panels, has bright metallic legs or other interesting treatments. It can have a strong color, a striking pattern, or unconventional materials – the options are endless. Make sure that any material or color you choose for an accent table is also existing somewhere in the room so that it will not look out of place. For instance, you can add a lemon yellow end table beside your couch to match a sunflower painting on top of your mantle. You may pick a set of gold-legged coffee table, if it will complement let’s say, a gold light fixture above.

4. Add an imposing piece

An accent furniture can be as large and imposing. If you’re not too shy about décor, you can add an all-mirrored armoire, a brightly colored bookshelf or a large painted folding screen. This works best if the rest of the room is muted, and you feel that you have the need to add a striking piece to add interest. But if you already have a busy room, then get an accent that can be plain but has a noticeable color that complements with things already in the room.

5. Don’t forget your entryway or mudroom

What people sees as they enter your home can set the tone for the rest of your home. Don’t forget to add an accent furniture to your entryway or mudroom. A classic bombe chest works great, as well as a stunning bench. Anything ornate, painted or gilded will work as well. Choose something with a striking color, a strong personality or an outstanding shape.

Here are some tips to remember before you pick out any piece you want to add as an accent:

1. Start small

As you start to use accent furniture to decorate your home, you can start small to keep it safe. If you feel like you want to add bold and colorful prints, go for something small, like a side chair or ottoman, which can easily complement larger pieces that you already have. Going for something big right away may cause future regrets if you haven’t planned it through (and also because your taste may change through the years).

2. Consider proportion and scale

You don’t want to place too big or too much of an accent furniture if the room is already accented enough. For instance, if you have an oversized statement piece of art that you originally made as a focal point in the room, let it be the star. This means that if you’re going to put an accent furniture, it must not distract you from the big art you have.

Also, consider the proportion and scale around the accent pieces. For instance, if your space is predominantly brown and you have that beefy Chesterfield couch, don’t pick a dainty, slim-legged, gold-and-glass side table. You may think that the gold legs can make enough accent, but it may still get overpowered by the big couch and may not make a lot of impact.

3. Pick patterns wisely

If there are too many patterns inside your home, they will fight for your attention. The accent piece is called accent for a reason – and if anything must have a pattern, it should be it. Choose a dynamic print and keep the other colors and items in the room solid and neutral. You may still mix up patterns, but make sure to vary the scales. You can pick a boldly patterned chair and a rug with subtle patterns. It may be harder to pull off, but if you do it correctly, the end result is beautiful.

4. Let it add personality

An accent piece can add a layer of personality to the space. Don’t shy away from pieces that look expensive or looks eclectic – it may provide the all-new personality you need to an otherwise boring and predictable interior.

5. Let it add contrast

The accent furniture can add the much-needed contrast your room wants more of. For instance, you have a black and white living room. However, it can be really stark and edgy, so adding a splash of color can help make it livelier. Perhaps you want to add a little flair by adding pink flowers. To make it more impactful, you can add a pink side table or re-paint your old one.

If you have an interior with predominantly neutrals like beige, whites and grays, you can add one bold splash of color to add cheer. If you want to make it feminine, try adding pinks, lavender or coral. If you want a fresh and modern feel, try adding a green, yellow, orange or teal furniture. Adding a colorful piece as an accent can change the feel of the room completely.