Decorating With Everyday Objects

I thought we could chat a little today about decorating with ordinary objects, and I don’t mean time consuming DIYs that may very well fail like this or this or buying “everyday objects” like so that will cost you oodles. (Because if there is one thing I don’t want to do, it’s cost you oodles.)

Fresh flowers, yes. A lot of doodads, no.

Now one thing that struck me during my recent trip to Europe was how few little tchotchkes people there seem to have compared to people in the U.S. Their surfaces are positively nude when viewed through an American eyeball! And a lot of the ‘decorative’ items that were hanging about were also useful objects or photographs or small pieces of art that didn’t really get in the way. Which is really what I have in mind when I ask someone a question like: Have you ever found yourself with a table that was absolutely useless because it was covered with *stuff*?

I have. And at first I’m kind of proud, like look at all my stuff, but then I get kind of sick of not being able to put even a coffee cup down without upsetting a Costa Rican ceramic flute or some other thing that’s nice to own but doesn’t do anyone much good.

What I really like, therefore, is being able to combine my decorative with my practical and semi-practical. Decorating with everyday objects can take many forms. What comes to mind are the cast iron pan and vintage colander hanging on the kitchen wall, the retro globe lamp and faux Eames rocker in the living room, the Russian samovar filled with lilies, the pictures on the walls (which aren’t practical but don’t take up space, either), the vintage mushroom mixing bowl on my nightstand, and a bunch of other pretty things with purpose. Because really, who says that decorating has to require purely decorative objects like a kinetic sculpture that takes up a full quarter of the living room or some other large and impractical thing?

It can, of course, if that’s your bag or you have the space or you don’t have children or animals hell bent on destroying everything you own. But it doesn’t HAVE to be. And it kind of goes back to not costing you oodles of money, since if you’re dedicated to decorating with everyday objects, you’ll likely find that you already have plenty of everyday objects ready to go: cute kitchen stuff that can be hung up, vases for fresh flowers, lamps that can be upcycled, and so on.

How do YOU decorate with everyday objects?

P.S. – You may notice that I’m not around as much in the coming days. Well, lovelies, it’s summertime! Time to play! Yours truly hasn’t had a proper holiday in ages. BUT I’ll still be around on our Facebook page, so head over, ‘like’ us, and enjoy all the fun extras!

5 Responses to “Decorating With Everyday Objects”

  1. Jill July 29, 2011 at 10:10 pm #

    Here’s a few things…

    I hang my wrought-iron trivets on the wall – they’re securely out of the way, quick to hand when needed, and add a neat pattern. Just tap one of those brass picture hangers into the wall – easy!

    I have a stack of pretty colored tiles that I use for coasters – that’s the only decoration my coffee table needs.

    Pretty baskets collect and store stuff around the house, keeping the junk out of sight and making the rooms feel homey. Along the same lines, I’ve got a couple of cool wooden boxes that hold things like dog brushes and power adapters.

    Pretty dishes that I’ve picked up as souvenirs end up – depending on their shape/size/material – as everything from soap dishes to pencil holders.

    I love the look of old mason jars, so they are my go-to for odd jobs around the house. They’re used for everything from craft supplies to pocket change to root beer floats to flowers.

  2. Dolores August 4, 2011 at 7:13 am #

    So stylish room.It is decorated simply perfect and the colours are so beautiful.

  3. Ellen W. August 4, 2011 at 2:06 pm #

    On the other hand- there’s an English decorating style* which is extremely cluttered. It’s sort of the opposite response to less space than we have in the US. The European response is very like the Japanese response of wanting as many unbroken lines in a space as possible, whereas some of the English/Scottish/Irish response is to have a lot so it looks cozy.

    *It might not actually be a decorating style so much as “how things look when your family has lived in the same place for seven generations”.

  4. Christa Terry August 4, 2011 at 6:36 pm #

    Interesting, Ellen W.! I think when the accumulation of stuff happens in a very natural way like that over generations, there can be a specialness to it that you don’t necessarily get by just buying a whole lot of stuff. Cozy is definitely the right word.

  5. Janine London August 5, 2011 at 1:52 am #

    Oh I love the colours , green is so fresh and relaxing for the tired eyes!