Design Dilemma: Keepin' it Real

This one's a toughie to describe, but it's a DD I struggle with often: How to "Keep it Real?" Let me see if I can illustrate through images better than I can elucidate through words....

Take a look at this kitchen...undoubtedly from a model home or 'home tour.'
What strikes you about it? Nice, big kitchen...sweet range (pot-filler a plus!)...anything else? Does it strike you as too TOO?

OK...now, take a look at this bedside tableau...how does it "read" to you?
Well...OK, so maybe I'm not doing a good job of this....Here's my take-away....the kitchen above is perfectly "accessorized." More than likely, someone hired by the builder ran out and retrieved all those decorative items from Kirkland's* (or somewhere similar) so that the room could be shown and/or photographed - it had to appear lived in....

The bedside table, on the other hand, seems to belong to a real-life person (albeit, one who seriously straightened up for the photo shoot) - There's a cool piece of art, maybe picked up at some random artisan show, a live plant that actually requires watering, and a retro alarm clock, because most of us have to get up in the morning.

Keepin' it Real is about taking your time to build the design of your home - collecting interesting items over the course of travels, occasions, treasure hunts - and resisting the urge to have a perfectly "done" room. As much as I want to fill up barren walls, I'd much rather pick up unique pieces of art here and there than rely on IKEA* for instant gratification.

For me, "realness" also has to do with the choice between trendy items I'm currently craving versus more classic looks that are less likely to be on the "out" list six months from now... Case in point: my TV room redo coffee table decision....

I'm crazy about those lucite tables, and can even somewhat justify having one, as I'm already using a lot of pattern (lucite wouldn't add more bulk and color), and the "invisible line" would be pleasing in the rather small room BUT these things are everywhere - even mainstream catalogs like CB2 carry them! By the time something can be mass-produced for PB, Ballard, or Tar-jay - you know the "look" has peaked - and who wants to be on the back side of a trend? ;)
Then there's the choice of going with two croc-embossed storage cubes. Realizing I still run the risk of these being a bit out of vogue before too long, but their practicality (storage) makes me less concerned...
Everglades Storage Cube - Z Gallerie

Finally, there's the tufted, storage ottoman. Great in that I can select a fabric of my liking - not so great in that it'll take up the most amount of room...
Tufted Storage Ottoman - Ballard Designs
All those are the finalists...Because there's no way this charmer could end up at my APO box ! But it never hurts to wish loftfully, right? Chinese tole tray table - 1stdibs
Any of you have suggestions for MY DD??? Just remember: Keep it REAL!!
**Not in any way bashing Kirkland's or IKEA - great finds to be had at both - just don't go there to buy EVERYTHING!