A storage bench, like the Stickley Storage Settle sold at Gorman's, can serve many functions throughout the house. (Gorman's)
Itís easy to get stuck in a decorating rut, but that isnít the only design dilemma. When we donít pay attention to our daily routines, storage pieces can become stagnant, too.
This happened at our house, where Iíve finally decided to make some changes because I believe our homes should be fluid, not static, to follow the path of our lives.
For example, just because an old trunk stores blankets in a bedroom doesnít mean it has to stay there forever. It could fill in as a coffee table in the living room where it might hold pillows and throws.
Itís amazing what a difference this simple strategy can make with very little effort.
We began with a display piece that held my daughterís picture books. When she graduated to chapter books, the item was removed from our entryway.
That left a rarity in our highly adorned home: a sliver of empty space.
So, we quickly filled it with a storage bench that once held my daughterís play clothes downstairs.
Now she has the perfect place to sit and put on her shoes.
She came up with the idea to store her shoes inside the bench, which in turn frees up space in our rather narrow laundry room.
The display piece went back to my bedroom where it holds a few of my favorite decorating books that have been tucked away for too long.
The only way that was doable was because the tea cart in my bedroom now sits in the living room.
Itís a domino effect and a win-win situation all around.
The wall space left by the bench on our lower level was filled with a shelving unit that wasnít working so well in the kitchen. And the play clothes found a new home in a plastic tote that was vacant as a result of a recent sorting project.
Thatís the beauty of re-evaluating your surroundings every now and then. One modification leads to another.
It may take months to work my way around the house in order to make it more efficient, but Iím already enjoying the benefits of what Iíve accomplished so far.
Decorating my daughterís room has us rethinking her storage situation. When an old dresser was removed from her closet, it left space for a laundry basket and a desk chair that is slightly too big for her.
This time, she participated in my game of musical chairs by suggesting we try the upholstered storage bench that typically sits by her bed as a seat for her desk instead.
We plan to replace the toys inside with school supplies.
The dresser from her closet made its way downstairs. It still holds seasonal clothing, but itís easier to access because itís not behind closed doors.
If anything doesnít work out, we can always try again. Thatís one advantage of adapting your furniture and accent pieces to fit your current lifestyle: You can easily adjust them over time to suit your changing needs.
Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at email@example.com.