In our first edition of ‘Tools of the Trade‘ I started off with an item that I thought you all may not have much experience with: the pedestal. Sure you all probably use a cake stand here and there, but I think we did a pretty good job of branching out on that one.
Well, today we’re going even more random because we’re talking about beads. Yes, really. There are a few reasons that stylists should have a bag full of glass beads in their toolkit, and I’m gonna cover them all!
In my styling closet I have several bins that are marked ‘fillers’. Fillers are items that – as their name implies – help fill a scene. Items that fall under this category include shells, matchbooks, tiny trinkets, a deck of pretty playing cards… you get the picture. They’re the finishing touches to any vignette, and they are essential!
So let’s start with the lesson, shall we?
STYLING WITH BEADS FOR TEXTURE & MOVEMENT:
This first vignette is perfect for any sort of small side table or entryway styling. The challenge? It’s a super simple moment that we have to make interesting and special. Fresh plants or flowers are a must to add a little life! I start with branches for height to balance the heavy pedestal. If you were styling a smaller nightstand, obviously your arrangement would be smaller and lower!
To add a little more oomph to the arrangement, I ground it with a couple books (sidenote, I could write like 50 posts about using books for prop styling!). Then, I go for some simple, but special, objects. Now imagine that the beads aren’t there. You’ve got some really quiet, minimal objects and the focus floats to the top because all the color is up there. So what do we do? Beads!
Not only do the beads bring in some color (which is our next topic) but maybe even more importantly they add another layer of texture and movement to this vignette! This tiny object is the great connecter between all the other pieces. Do you see it?
Now, if you wanted to really go for it, you can also mass out beads in a big pile to make them the focal point of the whole thing. They’re great for filling vases, or bowls, although you’ll quickly find out that guests of all ages have a hard time not wanting to play with them, which I don’t mind at all. They’re hard to keep styled!
STYLING WITH BEADS FOR COLOR:
Ok, so let’s talk about color! In our previous post we talked about using color to tell the story of a space. If you have trouble with styling that’s really layered, eclectic, or busy – find your palette and stick to it. This vignette is none of those, though! In fact, looking at it again, I kinda wish I had added more, but c’est la vie.
We started with the bare bones of the table. The lamp, some pale pink in the artwork, and I added blue in the books to make things a little more playful. Then, once again, we filled in the holes.
While I liked the way this looked, it felt like all the color was in the middle of the image – art,books, stool, rug. So what did we do? Bring in the beads. I love the way the pink and aqua beads are subtle in color, but heavy visually. They also bring some more visual interest to the lamp, so that you notice it more. And of course, we added flowers and other little accents to round things out.
STYLING WITH BEADS FOR DIMENSION
Now here’s one use of beads that you may not have thought of, that I absolutely love. Beads as art! This works best with really big chunky beads. If you’ve seen the ones that are huge strands that people hang as art in hallways or above fireplaces, then you’re getting the right idea! But we can use these smaller ones too, just as effectively.
Here’s our little gallery wall moment before – it’s fine, but it’s pretty straightforward, and the console needs some styling.
And here’s after! Again, PLANTS to bring in life (are you getting the theme here? books and plants for-evah, guys). But you see how we used the beads in the gallery wall to bring in a different shape and add dimension. You could do a whole long wall of these in a hallway, or above a bed (I might just try that in our bedroom, actually). Breaking up lots of squares with organic shapes is such a stylist move.
Did you notice that I snuck another beaded strand into the books too?
That was a little haphazard in placement, but I liked bringing that bit of blue into the console styling area. And now that you know how to style them, you just need to get some in your hot little hands, right?
For online sources, try Etsy. I found mine at Beadworld Seattle, who has an online shop, but you can really get them from anywhere in so many colors!
So, have I convinced you enough that having glass beads in your stylist toolkit is a must!? If not, I have one more vignette that I’m going to be sharing in this weekend’s newsletter! You can sign up for it right here.