Our possessions can give our homes personality and character but all too often they end up randomly spreading through rooms, crowding shelves and spilling out of cupboards.
According to interior stylist Tim Rundle, this is a waste of pure 'decor gold', as he believes that effectively displaying our collections of clutter and treasures can result in spectacular interiors.
"As a general rule, we've owned the majority of our possessions for a while so tend to take that 'stuff' for granted. After all, familiarity breeds contempt," he says.
"We've a tendency to think the only solution to a tired interior is to start afresh and buy new, which is often impossible as it's so costly.
"Actually, it's also unnecessary," he adds. "Rearranging objects creatively can make you fall in love with them and your home all over again."
He's revealed his display secrets in Visual Contrast: The Art Of Display And Arrangement, a book illustrated with a gallery of intriguing, imaginative and striking ways to show off a variety of objects, from the everyday through to the eye-catching.
Each display - there are more than 100 - has been created at his home, an extended Sixties bungalow on the outskirts of Nottinghamshire.
"I wanted to show that you don't need a spectacular home or exotic setting often favoured by interior magazines, and that even the most ordinary spaces can be transformed by the re-positioning of furniture, a regrouping of paintings, or just a quirky assortment of objects," says Rundle, 48.
"It's also essential, in a way, because we're so used to visual stimulation in today's world that we can become bored with our rooms very easily.
"So treat your home like your own little bit of theatre and enjoy the staging of it. Have fun, keep swapping things around, adding and subtracting, and don't worry about mistakes!"
One of his top tips for creating displays is gathering together pieces that work because of a shared theme - then throwing something you think definitely wouldn't work with them into the mix!
"Very often, it's that random object which actually brings the display alive and adds a twist of humour and surprise," he says.
Transform your rooms by following his simple guide to decorative display.
Identify key viewpoints in your rooms, such as the view from a doorway, or the space you focus on when you're seated to eat or to work.
"Most rooms will have anything from two to five key viewpoints. Don't overdo it. Limit the number of displays or arrangements so you can create contrast between busy display areas and calmer non-arranged spaces," advises Rundle.
Take into account static elements like windows, room dividers and large pieces of furniture, and essentials like lamps, bookcases and storage. Then work out the decorative items you'd like to add.
Being brave and selecting objects which are larger or smaller than would normally be expected is an easy way to bring wit and drama to rooms.
"Avoiding too much repetition of size - most rooms are dominated by middle-sized furniture - is essential. Greater extremes of scale around those pieces will shake up a room and it's a trend reflected in modern design, from jumbo-size Anglepoise floor lamps to floor rugs inspired by postage stamps," he says.
How to do it: Upscale a conventional object, like a small plant pot, by replacing it with a metal bucket containing not one but four plants. Increase drama by placing four similar vases together and it will super-size the display. Place the largest item next to the smallest and keep an eye out for the unexpected. For instance, a giant image of a diamond, normally a small object, is more surprising than a giant landscape.
Old versus new
Most of us have a mix of antique and contemporary items in our homes, but for success, combine the oldest with the youngest to achieve cross-generational visual drama.
"Nothing highlights the freshness of the new as much as the patina of the antique, equally the excitement of the 'now' can be used to throw into relief the romance of the past," says Rundle.
"Contrasting the clearly vintage and the overtly modern is a great way of adding a jolt of visual electricity to any group or display.
"Take some clues from the period of your home to create a visual link, by all means, but try to avoid the feeling of a museum or period piece by deliberately introducing some elements which don't conform."
How to do it: Almost anything with age adds character to an arrangement but contemporary pieces can feel brash and aggressive unless used with care. Ideally, select strong geometric shapes, pure colours or bright white, so the modern elements don't compete with patterned or more ornamental pieces.
Make a place
Commonly in interiors, there's an interplay between horizontal lines and vertical lines. Think of the upright vertical of a standard lamp beside a horizontal chest of drawers, explains Rundle.
"Avoid categorising all decorative objects and accessories as verticals, and all items of furniture as horizontals, which again is too predictable," he advises.
"It can be hard to find decorative objects with a strong horizontal presence - that's why I love model boats and planters - but their rarity makes it worth the hunt."
How to do it: A blend of horizontal stripes and vertical lines is a winner every time. Place a bold vertical-striped cushion onto the broad horizontal of a sofa. For a statement look, use wall stickers and transfers to inject a space with verticals or horizontal-shaped designs without making a permanent commitment.
Disguise a lack of decorative horizontals by grouping several vertical objects together to create a single block, such as a cluster of vintage canisters, that will assume a horizontal shape.
Many of us are nervous about using colour but it's a key tool in successful rooms. Rundle suggests a simple route to success is simply taking the temperature of shades and dividing them into two categories - 'hot' or 'cold' - and then playing with contrast.
"All colours can be placed somewhere on the temperature scale," he says.
"The warm end of the spectrum is dominated by pinks, reds, oranges and yellows, taking in metallic golds and neutral woods, while the cool end is dominated by purples, blues, greens including metallic silvers and neutral monochromes."
How to do it: Identify the largest area of colour in your space and remember the floor is a major factor. Generally, neutral hues will be a large part of the mix so focus on the more obvious colour elements in your scheme - maybe a sofa, a painting, or accessories. Consider whether the shades fall into the 'hot' or 'cold' group and then introduce a shade from the opposite group. So cold greys and chilly blues could be offset with a little bomb of bright red, while warm russet tones could be offset by a puddle of cool aqua.
Visual Contrast by Tim Rundle, photography by Polly Wreford, is published by Ryland Peters & Small, priced £25. Available to readers for £23 (inc p&p). Call Macmillan Direct on 01256 302 699 and quote ref GLR 7ZD