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It isn’t always the investment pieces—the forever sofas and antique tables—that we end up loving the most in our homes. Instead, sometimes it truly is the little things that make day-to-day life just a bit easier or more special. Here, our friends at Houzz found 10 things you can do or add to your house to inspire a sigh of satisfaction.
Accessories 1: Buster + Punch, original photo on Houzz.
1. Put your feet up. The humble footstool can easily be overlooked in the living room as we hunt around for the ideal armchair. But it’s an amazingly versatile piece that also adds relaxed, vintage character to a space. Footstools, ottomans and poufs work as extra seats, a spare surface for books or tablets and, of course, somewhere to put your feet up. Go for classic buttoned detailing for period style, and if you’re a real fan, invest in more than one.
Related: Foolproof Living Room Furniture Layouts >>
Accessories 2: MATT architecture LLP, original photo on Houzz
2. Add some narrow shelves. Picture ledges are a great place to display a shifting gallery of art. Kids’ drawings, inspirational quotes or family portraits can sit next to more serious artworks. Relatively inexpensive, shelves also dodge the commitment of hanging a picture frame, and the pain when you realize you’ve drilled the hole 2 inches too low or high. Consider hanging three in a row, as seen here, to fill an entire wall.
3. Pin up your paraphernalia. Even in the age of the Internet (and the resurgence of pegboard), sometimes nothing beats an old-fashioned bulletin board. Whether you use it as a mood board, filled with paint cards and fabric swatches, an inspirational display, crammed with quotes and favorite artworks, or even just a place to pin the plumber’s phone number, bulletin boards add personality and, of course, are highly useful. Be sure to choose one big enough for your needs. Corkboard is super affordable, and you can easily paint it with acrylics for a shot of color or to match your decor.
Accessories 3: LOVE INTERIORS, original photo on Houzz.
4. Park your umbrella. If you have the space, an umbrella stand is one of those simple things that makes daily life more organized. If you need an umbrella in a hurry, you’ll know just where to find it—and where to stash it when the sun comes out again.
There’s also something rather quaint, old-fashioned and even a little grand about an umbrella stand. It’s the sort of thing you might expect to find in an upscale hotel or brasserie, especially if you choose a traditional copper or leather one.
5. Make teatime or your coffee break fun. So you like to drink tea and you want to display your collection of nice mugs. You also need to be able to access them fast, when you’re in urgent need of a hot beverage (which is basically all the time). A row of hooks is your answer. They cost next to nothing, look lovely and free up precious cupboard space to boot. Choose mugs that mix and match well for best effect.
Accessories 4: Rees+Lee Architects Limited, original photo on Houzz.
6. Celebrate a clock. Yes, we know you use your cellphone to check the time—everyone does. But if you don’t have a wall clock, you don’t know what you’re missing. A classic design adds a vintage vibe and helps ground a design. The bare bricks here would look empty without the bold black-and-white face of the clock providing contrast.
It also means you won’t have to fumble in your purse for your phone to check whether you’re late while you’re sipping your morning coffee. And that’s a win in itself.
7. Plug in a wall light. Wall lights can make a real difference to the ambience and functionality of a room. However, they require planning (not always easy), an electrician and, inevitably, a certain amount of upheaval.
But there is an easier option: a plug-in wall sconce, offering all the good looks of a wall light but using a regular electrical outlet. With the industrial look fashionable at the moment, the trailing wire only adds to the chic look.
If you want task lighting, seek out utilitarian-style metal lamps you can angle and swing.
8. Pull out a chopping board. No more scrambling around in cupboards for a suitable surface to dice a carrot on. A handy pullout chopping board takes up less space than a butcher’s block but means you’re always prepared, whether you’re slicing a lemon for your drink or rustling up something more complicated. It also frees up counter space, which is always a boon. If you’re planning your kitchen from scratch, you could even install a pullout board with a compost bin underneath it so you can simply sweep the peelings away.
Accessories 5: Studio Morton, original photo on Houzz.
9. Add some wheels. Do you spend half your life pulling your coffee table closer to your sofa so you can put down your mocha or magazine? Then a coffee table on casters could be the answer. This one was made from an old pallet—ask at local building supply centers or buy secondhand online—and adds an interesting industrial effect.
Accessories 6: Artichoke, original photo on Houzz.
10. Work in some wicker. Storage baskets are the easy option for most of us. They give the impression of order without requiring us to endlessly organize all our bits and pieces into carefully assigned homes. In the bathroom, use them for spare toilet paper or to sweep up half-finished toiletries. In the kitchen, use them as a home for paper towels or coffee supplies, and in the living room gather up unruly toys at the end of a long day. They also work in hallways for shoes and in bedrooms for magazines.
Photography courtesy Houzz