I’ve always loved pretty, useless things.
Figurines, miniature tea sets and furniture, mechanisms, wood carvings. If it can fit in a shelf, I’m sold. Even though my mother dislikes knickknacks because of the potential clutter (but we won’t hold it against her, she’s an otherwise lovely soul), and so I didn’t grow up having any about the house, I’ve somehow managed to slake my little obsession by having a little piece here and there.
Since I’ve gathered quite a stash over the years and on the basis of my sheer enthusiasm, the people upstairs have asked me to share some of my favourite kinds of knickknacks, because they take pity on me and know that I need to shout my love from the rooftops.
I’m generally up for almost anything that can go on my windowsill, but certain features immediately catch my eye.
Miniature crockery. If it’s a plate, spoon, teapot or anything you might find at a dining table, only shrunk to Thumbelina proportions, I’m your customer. Willow-patterned ceramic, wood, plasticity doesn’t matter what it’s made of.
Shelfie knickknacks. Bookshelf-compliant bric a brac is a great way to not only decorate the dwelling place of one’s precious books, but also to let one’s personality shine forth. From bookends to quirky vases, you can be as ornate or spartan as you like with your bookshelf knickknacks.
Traditional figurines. I love African knickknacks. The figurines are representative of our culture, and are masterfully done. From beautiful bowls to tiny huts to fishermen in a boat, the possibilities are endless. A great place to buy some affordable, locally-made ornaments is by the beach in Lagos.
Sets. One beautiful piece is exciting to acquire, but if it comes in a set of two or more, then TAKE MY MONEY. One carved bowl is lovely, sure, but three? A loot. Look at Russian nesting dolls. A doll with an exact replica inside it, which in turn has an even smaller exact replica in it- I’m giddy just thinking about it.
Musical instruments. It goes without saying that I’d probably buy anything on the quirky side of musical paraphernalia. Tiny saxophones, tiny men playing tiny saxophones, tiny bubbles containing tiny men playing tiny saxophones – name it.
Minimalist knickknacks. As much as I stuff, you can’t deny the allure of so-stylish-it-hurts figurines. Sleek lines, subtle nuances. In this Minimalist age, these understated pieces are perfectly modern mantelpiece jewellery.
Piglets. Yes, those pink little darlings. I’ve an unhealthy obsession with piglets. Not the living ones; those nascent wild beasts freak me out. But stuffed piglets, and, more importantly, piglet figurines hold the same fascination for me that dolls do for little children. Here’s a photo of one to permanently tattoo a goofy grin on your face.
When it comes to knickknacks, it’s useful to remember that they’re to be enjoyed. This is why it’s important to collect what interests you- oriental pieces, action figures, machinery, race cars, music boxes.
Below are some suggestions on how to style your space with your acquired knickknacks. And, there are no hard and fast rules; they can go anywhere- on a table, on the floor, on a windowsill, on your dresser… For someone like me who lives in a shoe-box, you can still enjoy knickknacks without any clutter, by keeping it simple and being creative.
It’s just one of life’s bonus pleasures, these random bursts of personality here and there in your space. Do whatever makes you smile.
P.S. Don’t fret, guys! Whatnots will be selling quirky and gorgeous knickknacks on the Nik-Nak Store too! Counting down now..