Green Rookie: Funky and Functional Decorating Tips

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When you live in a small space and on a limited budget, finding treasures that look good and serve a specific function (or two) is key. Take cues from the multipurpose décor I use around my house, most of which I’ve had on hand for years or purchased for cheap at thrift stores: 

• With the trays flipped up, two brown storage cubes sitting side-by-side in my living room serve as a coffee table. When the trays are down, they cushioned lids are perfect footrests or movable seating for the living area. Plus, they provide a space to stash blankets too. 

• Who doesn’t struggle with clutter? I have baskets in different sizes and colors stationed all around my house—in the kitchen, in my office, in the bathroom—for corralling random papers, mail, and other items that pile up. An old, wooden grocery store box serves a similar function atop one of my bookshelves too. 

• Colorful canvas bins are pretty enough to store on a shelf out in the open, but I tuck them in my closet to keep scarves, sashes, and purses tidy. 

vingtage Pyrex bowls
Inexpensive thrift store finds, vintage Pyrex bowls make for a colorful kitchen display when they’re not being used. Photo By Julie Collins.

• Bowls and other kitchen items are so much better when they’re on display rather than stashed in the cupboard. I’m addicted to collecting colorful Pyrex bowls and cookware and put a few pieces out for a dose of personality in my kitchen. (Plus, then they’re easy to grab when it’s time to start cooking.) One of my big, sustainably harvested wood salad bowls gets pressed into service as a fruit holder on the countertop. In the bathroom, I keep jewelry tidy by tossing earrings and rings into colorful little glass bowls I’ve collected over the years. 

wooden bowl of peaches
A bowl made from sustainably harvested wood filled with fresh, local peaches looks striking on a countertop or in the middle of a kitchen table. Photo By Julie Collins.

• Why hide your favorite tomes away when they can become part of a display? A carefully positioned stack of books serves as a decorative element and a conversation starter. Scatter framed photographs and collectibles among books on your shelves and the display takes center stage. You can even position a couple your favorite cookbooks on a shelf in the kitchen (hold them up with vases or a couple of those bowls I mentioned above) so they’re easy to grab.

jewelry stored in pretty bowls
Use pretty bowls you have on hand as attractive jewelry storage—these bowls are tucked into a drawer, but they can also serve as decoration on top of a dresser. Photo By Julie Collins.

How do you decorate your space? Leave me a comment and share your funky decorating tips!