Using familiar objects to style your home

lou-brown-design-auckland-interior-designer-say-it-with-objects title

Did you know there are 6 main groups of décor; horizontal, vertical, organic, fillers, layers and the familiar (more about how to style using these groups in another blog)? It’s the ‘familiar’ group that I want to introduce you to today. These are items from your story that you have a deep connection with, and can be used to inject a sense of individuality into your home. Because let’s face it, none of us want a home without soul!


I recently visited a client’s home, and she had a small collection of jugs out on display. They were all different shapes, sizes and colours and each one had a different story; one from her daughter living in Melbourne, one from her best friend, one from Africa where it was made by children with special needs, another from Morocco and so on.


These jugs stand proud on her new shelf, and every time she looks at them, she feels happy and that right there is the power a simple, familiar object can have.


  • It could be an image of something or somewhere you love, blown up and framed to create a piece of art
  • A sculpture, trinket, vase, trophy, photo frame, tray, urn, lantern etc. that you love, given to you by a dear friend or family member
  • Use books that you love (i.e. if you love cooking use beautiful recipe books) to anchor your arrangements. You’d be surprised how many books it takes to style a home properly!
  • Any object (old or new) that evokes a fond memory


Using familiar objects as decorative items is not the only way you can incorporate them into your home; they can also have a more practical use.

During lockdown, we cleaned out our garage (like the rest of the country was doing) and came across some old doors that we’d pulled out of our old kitchen. The doors themselves were nothing special, but the handles I love, they’re unique and detailed.

So we’ve stored these handles in a safe spot and one day, I’ll use them somehow; most likely on a piece of furniture in my new home. Now every time I look at these handles, I’m reminded of a past time, of where we used to live, of happy times.

Here are some other ideas:

  • It could be an old piece of furniture handed down from someone dear
  • An old vintage vessel that you can use to house a plant or flowers
  • A vintage light fixture rewired and refurbished
  • A vintage rug
  • A trunk or box to store bits n pieces in such as books or rolled-up throws
  • Something you could repurpose, like turning an old vase into a table lamp base, Chelsea Lighting would be able to wire this up for you. Or a vintage blanket or fabric you can turn into a cushion etc.
  • Something new that evokes a fond memory and has a practical use within your home
lou-brown-design-auckland-interior-designer-say it with objects 1

So, what objects can you introduce into your home that are part of your story? Not every decorating piece needs to reflect your story, just a few splashes here and there will do. They give your arrangements meaning and depth rather than something shallow that you’ve spotted in a shop.

For more examples of how I’ve incorporated much-loved pieces, visit some of my recent projects here

Hayley x