The Art of the Zhuzh

 
Journal | Amanda Steiner Design | Northwest Hideaway | Custom Mantle

zhuzh | verb : to make something more interesting or attractive by changing it slightly or adding something to it.

– CAMBRIDGE DICTIONARY

Chances are this term is already a part of your vernacular, but if not, it might be time to bring it on board because sometimes a space could really use a good zhuzhing and we are here to help!  

When I visit my client’s homes, some of the most common areas that I notice are crying out for attention are bookshelves, built-ins, mantles, and tabletops – it’s either not enough or too much stuff, and it can be hard to find the right balance. This is where styling (aka zhuzhing) comes into play. 

There are already plenty of comprehensive books and blog posts dedicated to pro tips on home styling advice, so I will avoid an attempt to recreate that here. However, after spending many years on the retail end of design creating visual displays and merchandising décor, I found a knack and love for styling.

Amanda Steiner Design | Styling Client NW Hideaway.jpg

Thus, a condensed version of my top five pieces of advice for styling and accessorizing are as follows: 

1. Edit: Let’s face it – most of us have way too much stuff. Take some time to reflect on what you’d like to keep, donate, or sell. To quote William Morris: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”

2. Group: Grouping like items such as a collection of ceramic vessels, books, or frames helps create a visual organization that is much more effective than scattering these types of pieces throughout a room. Grouping usually works best in odd numbers – 3 or 5 tend to work well for me.

3. Balance: Aim for balance with symmetry, however you can also achieve balance in asymmetrical arrangements by varying the size, height, and the visual weight of your items. Look for balance in material and color as well to achieve a cohesive look. 

4. Something Old, Something New: Unique items that are inherited, thrifted, hand crafted, and found on travels will add soul to a vignette and tell a story. Simply displaying all new items that are mass produced from big box stores will look exactly just that. 

5. Greenery: A space just doesn’t feel complete without a little plant life. Even small doses help connect us to nature and have a restorative and calming effect.

Above image: A beautiful case in point - in the home of the founders of the design firm Workstead, they artfully show us how it’s done with all five of my key styling tips: edit, group, balance, something old - something new, & greenery. Image via  T Magazine .  Top image: Our client’s custom mantle was balanced by a pair of brass sconces and styled with grouped sculptural pieces, vintage abstract art, and a bundle of fresh greenery for a polished yet edited look. Photographed by  Elijah Hoffman .

Above image: A beautiful case in point - in the home of the founders of the design firm Workstead, they artfully show us how it’s done with all five of my key styling tips: edit, group, balance, something old - something new, & greenery. Image via T Magazine.

Top image: Our client’s custom mantle was balanced by a pair of brass sconces and styled with grouped sculptural pieces, vintage abstract art, and a bundle of fresh greenery for a polished yet edited look. Photographed by Elijah Hoffman.

If you feel like you could use some help zhuzing your space, please explore our Services and get in touch to book a consultation.