What’s your preference: sentimental or pretty?

How do you decorate your house? Do you like to display things because they have story, or do you prefer buying pieces for their looks alone?

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Almost every decoration in my house has sentimental value. I have skeleton keys in a shadowbox, prints with lyrics to a favorite song, art by my kids, a watercolor painting of my grandma’s hollyhocks, and a few photos that remind me of really good days.

(That black-and-white print, above right, is an excerpt from “Invictus” by William Ernest Henley. It’s a favorite poem of mine, and if you want a free copy of the print, you can download it at the end of this post.)

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See that wall of plates? I bought those one at a time as vacation souvenirs. My favorites are a replica of James Madison’s White House china (top left) and the blue-and-white reproduction dish from Monticello (middle left), both from a trip back East.

But I have a heck of a time buying something just because it’s pretty. My side tables and dressers are bare. I just don’t know what to put on them.

I’d been musing on this for awhile when I ran across two blog posts with links to lovely, timeless—and NEW!—accessories. Erin wrote about styling accessories she uses again and again, and Emily shared some of her favorite things to use when styling coffee tables.

So I’m sharing too because even though it’s fun to have sentimental stuff around the house, not EVERYTHING has to have a backstory. Maybe just 90 percent of it should, ha!

What’s your favorite sentimental treasure, and do you display it in your home? •

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