I received an e-mail from a frustrated mother who was wrestling with the challenge of what was worthy of displaying in her home and which items she should store or abandon altogether.
Bookshelves were overflowing, the family-room storage units were in chaos, and nothing fit properly into kitchen drawers or cabinets anymore. Certainly, it’s time for a clean-out, but it did draw my attention to the pitfalls of turning display areas into catchalls for other stuff that belongs behind a closed door.
We all have our own ideas of what items are “keepers” and what we enjoy looking at on a daily basis. This is where you make the choice. There is an art to display. Keep it simple and in good order, and it will enhance the atmosphere in your rooms. But no matter whether it’s a simple set of bookshelves, open cabinets or a series of free-form modular structures, when a display unit becomes overcrowded and dusty, it’s an eyesore.
Once you have edited out your collections and carted away the stuff you no longer use to a recycling shop, it’s time to look at a fresh approach to displaying what is near and dear. Look for a stylish display unit that will do more than just hold your items. This will boost the appearance of the entire room.
The sitting area in a new home I designed is a marvelous mix of traditional elements and modern furnishings. High ceilings and handsome moldings give the room a solid presence. I wanted to be able to show off the homeowner’s stunning collection of large vases, and needed a display unit that had the height and weight to complement the space. This modular unit has oversized spaces and an intriguing jigsaw design. There’s lots of space around the vases to allow the large items to breathe. It balances the collection and the small sitting-room space by lifting some of the weight off the floor. The glass coffee table and white Soho chairs create an irresistible contemporary edge.
The typical bathroom is composed of hard, cool materials that are beautiful and durable, but can be a bit sterile. A warm wall color will alleviate this appearance. And I found that introducing the warm essence of natural wood tones is a perfect antidote. Wooden ladder shelves allow for lots of display and storage space for those items you like to have close at hand. This display unit shows off a mix of textures and colors that liven up the space. A few green plants, wicker boxes and towel rolls are inviting to look at and to touch.
Storage falls into a different category. There are plenty of options, from baskets and bins to floating shelves. If you collect books, I recommend choosing one room to store the bulk of your collection and building a library wall or walls. It will be easier to keep control of your inventory. Enlist the aid of your kids and husband for the family room – recycle last year’s toys and divvy up your available storage on a need-to-use basis.
Debbie Travis’ House to Home column is produced by Debbie Travis and Barbara Dingle. You can follow Debbie on Twitter at www.twitter.com/debbie_travis. Please e-mail your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.