Put Decorative Items to Use for Attractive-Utility Homemaking

It’s easy to wish over the picture-perfect, charming living spaces featured in homemaking magazines and on Pinterest. But I’ve become more certain (ever since starting my family) that no mother’s home actually looks like that. I mean, how can we compete with muddy boots, breakfast crumbs, scattered toys, curious minds, and racetrack roads that must be built over all the furniture?

We can’t. That doesn’t mean, however, that our homes cannot be cozy, charming, tidy, creative, and inviting. It may be difficult to imitate the “perfect” images we eyeball on the pages of a fresh magazine issue, but it’s easy to make our houses feel like home. Everyone’s homemaking style is unique, yet all homes can be places where families feel content, comfortable, and safe.

Katie Shaw from Heart’s Content writes about making the home with attractive utility instead of decorating with vignettes. (You can read her great blog post here). Her main point is that, instead of incorporating a variety of artistically placed decorative items all over the home, let the beauty of practical items shine. For example, she talks about letting the wooden cutting boards stay out on the kitchen counter instead of hiding the plastic ones in the cupboard, or supplying yourself with cute dish towels that you’ll have no problem hanging out on the oven-door handle. Practical items are not only useful but decorative.

After reading her post, I thought about ways that I incorporate attractive utility into my own home or how I could work toward that idea in the future. Here are three ways to create a cozy home without intentionally decorating it.

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1. Give vintage or antique items a practical use. You’ll get to enjoy looking at your cherished item while applying it in a useful way. For example, I have an old chest of drawers (it’s small and was built before the 1900s, I believe) that sits in our living room. It’s such a charming piece, and each of the three drawers house extremely practical items: diapers, wipes, baby lotion, my Bible, and some magazines. Those drawers get opened countless times a day. I also acquired an old school desk a few years ago. I almost gave it up, thinking “what’s the point of having this?” But, lo and behold, it has become the perfect space to store some of the kids’ toys in the living room. Bam, useful and cute.


2. Use that China. Or, don’t be afraid to go get some. Our daily dish plates were purchased for 60 cents a plate at a local thrift store. That’s cheap! Not only is it affordable, but it’s cute. If a plate breaks, it’s no big deal! I won’t lose sleep over 60 cents. (And this was totally my husband’s idea. I have to give credit where credit is due). Also pictured here are other attractive utility items: our salt dish, napkin holder, and my favorite cutting board.



3. Utilize the empty space above the kitchen cabinets.

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This is the perfect place to house something that does get used once in a while, but mostly just looks cool. Ok, the items above my kitchen cabinets really don’t have much use except that I enjoy looking at them. But, that space would just be empty otherwise, so it may as well showcase something. I really enjoy decorating this space because it adds a little character to the kitchen, and it keeps vintage items WAY out of reach from curious minds.

Those are just a few ways that I have incorporated attractive utility into my home. My style is likely different from yours, but the ideas (and opportunities) for this homemaking idea are endless. How do you incorporate practical items into your home decor?

5 thoughts on “Put Decorative Items to Use for Attractive-Utility Homemaking

  1. Love all the tips. I love vintage and old that’s my style! I have an older sewing machine at makes a beautiful piece of furniture. One day maybe I’ll put it to use! Great blog! I agree with all you said my cutting board hangs at the end of my counter and gets plenty of use!

    Liked by 1 person

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