Everything in the house are too precious to you to throw away. You know, you are maximalist. I try to work out with a lot of people to clean and organized their house. But some people can’t do it and I have to make a compromise with them. When you don’t want to remove things to live an organized then you must create a system that keep dust, smell and insects out of the house.


  1. Tell your story using photographs.
  2. Collectibles


  1. Symmetry and asymmetry
  2. Height and scale
  3. Shape
  4. Focus



Having the surrounding things that say who you are gives your house individuality and personality. Personal items might be a toy elephant from childhood, old photographs of family and friends, a postcard of a favorite painting or vacation, souvenirs, an ornament, or maybe a vintage picture you found one weekend. We often have things that we don’t want to throw away because they are a part of us. Instead of storing them away, display them and use them to tell your story.

Tell your story using photographs.

There will be a variety of styles and times your photographs were taken—some will be in color and others in black and white, and some may be very old sepia prints. They can be brought together by using similar frames or by painting frames of the same color. For instance, using large frames all painted black gives a cohesive look to the photos. Or placing items on a colored background or putting them together in a strong-shaped frame can unite a mix of finds.

collection of framed photos on wall


Whatever your interests, from abacuses to zebras, you can use them to tell a story in your home. We are not talking about giving each room a theme. Theming a room is great for a special occasion but not really something you want to live with on a day-to-day basis. Some people make large collections—for example, antique dolls. This can easily become a big mess of objects that don’t particularly work well together, so it’s important to connect them in some way.

When I came to redesign my living room, I needed a collection of objects to go on my gray marble fireplace, so brought them all together. The largest piece is a stone statue given to me by my father. The small figure of a man is, in fact, a maquette for a larger piece. I bought it in China from a modern artist.

traditional oriental decorative souvenirs presented in local market


If everything in a room were the same height, size, color, and texture, there would be nothing for the eye to look at. You need something eye-catching that will lead anyone entering the room to look around.

Composition is about creating arrangements—thinking about how you place items, as well as considering the space in between them.

Symmetry and asymmetry

True symmetry requires two facing sides of an arrangement to be exactly identical. Balance is such an important requirement in composition, and symmetry helps to provide this.

Height and scale

The larger objects catch your eye at first, and then lead you to look at some of their more detailed features. Finally, you start to notice the tiny objects, such as the delicate cherub. Having a good mix of different levels of detail means that you always have something of interest to look at.

Think of your space in terms of floor level, eye level, and above eye level. You should try to have something of interest in each of these places. Similarly, you should aim to have a range of different-sized objects in a room, from the large and obvious, down to the small, intimate, and detailed.

table with vases placed near wall with picture


Another way to think about composition is in terms of arrangements of shapes. A shared characteristic, such as shape, will help to bring different elements in a space together, but having too many things in the same shape will be rather boring—so, once again, a balanced approach is needed.

For instance, the introduction of a round table into a room made up of squares and rectangles could be just the thing to bring the room together.


Every room needs some sort of focus to bring everything in it together. One key way to think about where the focus of a room should be is by considering viewpoints.

A viewpoint could be a place that you often sit, such as an armchair; or a place in the room where you often stand such as the entrance or doorway. In this case the focus becomes a matter of first impressions. Having worked out where the focus point is in the room, consider what to feature there, drawing on the other design principles.

For example, you may choose to add an element of storytelling, through hanging pictures or paintings, or introduce scale, through a large object such as a chandelier. You may even use colors as your focus, whether they blend together or contract with each other.

interior of cozy kitchen with modern furniture and appliances and potted houseplants

One last thing is color.

Color is a great way of bringing together disparate elements. This could, of course, be a collection of objects that are all the same colors—black and white, or all yellow, for example. Another way to use color to bring elements together is with a color scheme. For example, a modern abstract painting on a wall could play off antique furniture in the same room if it used colors that tie in. You may find that some objects of very different styles happen to be similar shapes and therefore work nicely together. Juxtaposing strongly contrasting styles is a playful way of creating a fusion. An interesting counterpoint to a rustic setting could be to have some very grand elements, for example.

sweets and snacks on blanket in daytime


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