Big wood cabinets make a statement in every room of the home. (Bob Greenspan / Nell Hill's)
Every room needs some drama, donít you think? Something powerful that escalates the space above the ordinary. My pick? A big, beautiful, wooden cabinet.
Here are the top places I like to place huge cabinets, followed by why I include them in every interior design plan:
■Kitchens. Built-in cabinets are wonderful, but sometimes itís fun to mix up the storage in a kitchen by adding a large, free-standing hutch in a contrasting style or color. Itís unexpected and provocative.
■Bathrooms. Is it possible to have too much storage space in a bathroom, seriously? Of course, I have a historic home with tiny baths, so I am always hungry for a place to put towels, toiletries ó everything. Big cabinets do the trick. Fill them with fluffy white towels rolled up in beautiful swirls. Grab a silver tray and a variety of glass jars and decorate them with tableaus of toiletries. Heaven!
■Laundry Rooms. I have the worldís scariest laundry room down in my creepy, dungeon-like basement. But in my dreams, I have a laundry room big enough for a fabulous cabinet that would make this workroom every bit as beautiful as any other room in the house. Filling the chest with decorative accents adds an unexpected spark for a laundry room. But it could just as easily hold laundry essentials, like soaps in pretty jars or baskets hiding soiled stuff ready to dump in the machine.
■Play Room. Have little kids or grandkids that have a gazillion toys? Place a big cabinet in their play room and fill it up with books, toys, games and music. When playtime is over and the toys are stored away, the room will look polished and stylish. (For safety, be sure to secure the cabinet to the wall.)
■Library or Study. There is nothing more lovely than a huge bookcase stuffed full of books. When youíre married to an avid reader, like I am, itís a necessity.
■Dining Room. We dish addicts always need extra spots to store dishes. How about filling a wall in your dining room with a large cabinet to hold your serving pieces and extra sets?
■Living Room. There is no better spot for an artful bookcase display than in your living room or family room. Flank your fireplace with a matched set of cabinets, or put a really large cabinet on the opposite wall for visual balance.
You can fill them with goodies. What can you put in a large chest? The short answer: Anything, everything. Use your cabinet to hold spare dishes and serving pieces that are too beautiful to hide away. Show off small pieces of artwork. Showcase a collection that looks more powerful when itís presented en masse. Fill it with linens, like pretty quilts. Books, books and more books. Or, do a combination of all of the above.
They come in a million different styles. No matter what style of home you have, or what size rooms you want to fill, there are lots and lots of lovely large cabinets for you to choose from. To help you narrow down your search, consider:
What size works for your wall? The biggest mistake people make when they purchase bookcases is to go too small, putting a smaller scale piece on a large wall, so it looks dwarfed, like a little postage stamp. Go as large as your wall can handle.
How do you want to use the cabinet? Do you want doors to cover the displays inside or do you want the shelves exposed? If you want doors, would you prefer they be made of solid wood or glass? Do you want drawers to hold things like silverware or DVDs? Are kids going to be using the cabinet? If so, be careful that you donít pick a piece with doors they can swing on. Instead, opt for an open chest or sliding doors.
This column was adapted from Mary Carol Garrityís blog at nellhills.com. She can be reached at email@example.com .