5 Traditional Wall Decor Staples That Work In Any Setting

There are some wall decor items that always make me pause and take a closer look at a room, even if I've seen them a thousand times before. Put them in a stark modern loft or a cramped bohemian library; they'll catch your eye and make the room.

• Intaglios. We've seen these little plaster forms skyrocket in decor popularity in the last decade. Put them in modern frames, group them in multiples, line a hallway. They always look crisp and refined, but simple enough not to appear stuffy.

• Gilt frames and mirrors. Maybe it's that they're so eye-catching and so over-the-top, but gilt frames can get away with murder… ok, not murder, but definitely trespassing. You'd think these flashy beasts would read pretentious, or turn a room gaudy, but often in high contrast settings they can actually make a room appear lived in and relaxed.

• Mercury Glass Mirrors. Age usually elicits at least the air of refinement, wisdom, and intrigue, which is exactly what makes these murky mirrors so attractive. The patina alludes to a story, without the country flair of chipping paint.

• Maps. Unless you've been living under a rock, you've seen maps grace all sorts of rooms… probably on this blog… probably within the last five minutes. Kids' rooms, bathrooms, on the ceiling, they work just about anywhere.

• Busts. Even seeing them flung far and wide across blog land, I'm still intrigued by busts. They can be pretentious, light-hearted, ironic, austere, but they always make a statement.

What other classics would you add to the list?

(Images: 1. Veranda, 2. Rum, 3. House Beautiful, 4. Marie Claire Maison, 5. Nuevo Estilo)

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