Do you want an edgier look to your space? Start with your wardrobe and accessories

About a month ago, I wrote a column about how you can draw inspiration from your wardrobe to design your space. It was astonishing to me how many well-put-together women approach me and say they can create eclectic looks from their clothing, jewelry and accessories, but can’t seem to do the same with their spaces.

As I showed you last time, you can! Think of accessorizing your home the same way you accessorize yourself. You know how sometimes you can achieve an edgier, more interesting look when you mix things up? Well, it’s the same with your rooms: Sometimes, doing something that seems wrong is the right way to go.


For my inspiration piece, I went back to my boutique, the small corner that we’ve carved out in Cathy’s Marketplace with clothing, jewelry and accessories on consignment, and found a black St. John jacket. This is not your mother’s St. John! It’s a timeless piece that has a lightly ruffled lapel and draw string sleeves that create just enough interest and femininity.

Now, what would you do with this jacket if it were in your closet? The traditional, easy thing would be to pair it with the matching black knit St. John skirt or slacks. Nice, stylish, classy? Absolutely. But very much expected. Let’s try to kick it up a notch by thinking outside the box.

Say you want to go a bit more daring and unexpected. By juxtaposing this elegant jacket with something edgier, such as black leather pants or blue jeans, maybe even with a rip, you would highlight this jacket’s femininity even more and create a really interesting concept.

A simple white T-shirt or even a black bustier would finish the look. Boots or sky-high heels could make this outfit to die for. Do you get where I’m going?

Now let’s take this idea with the black jacket and do the same for a very basic black modern chair that you may have in your home. What type of side table and accessories could we pair this with? A square black modern table would certainly work, but would not create any tension in the room or give the space an eclectic vibe. A table — possibly an antique table — would make the chair feel more modern while at the same time giving the antique more of a sense of history.


Although the hammered metal table in the photo above is modern in style, the unique use of material and its reflective quality also add an interesting contrast to the chair.

And finally, pillows. Any solid color on a modern chair would add a pop of color, however, your style and pattern would be one-dimensional. Incorporating an ikat print with the hammered metal could be great. Now both the chair and the pillow with the bold, geometric pattern are modern, so pairing these with the antique table and possibly silver candlesticks will give it a modern flair that ties it in with the edgy concept.

So, do you get the picture? Don’t go with the same direction. Just as you would mix it up a bit to create that eclectic outfit from your wardrobe, try going for that same vibe in your space. Think outside the box and try accessorizing in a different way. You’ll be amazed at how dressed-up your space can be!

Cathy Lee is president and designer of Cathy Lee Style and Cathy’s Marketplace, a furniture and accessories showroom with design services at 1110 University Ave. She recently opened reStyle Hawaii, an affordable, style-conscious consignment warehouse with upholstering and repurposing services at 420 Keawe St. To find out more, go to


Photos: Cathy Lee