‘Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.’
I have long treasured this quote by William Morris, the brilliant 19th century textile designer and artist. It has served as a guidepost when deciding what to keep and what to toss; what to acquire and what to pass on. And yet the either-or juxtaposition, the “this OR that” option doesn’t sit well with me. I seek to create a home where useful objects are beautiful and where beautiful objects are useful. Okay, not all of the time, and not everything. But oh so many things can serve that dual purpose. Case in point: this gorgeous mirror, an estate find of some two decades ago, I will never part with it as my soul resonates with its subtlety.
Clearly “beautiful.” And now, also useful as it serves to accommodate several of my long necklaces, keeping them in plain sight.
Or take this cool booties-box from French designer Sonia Rykiel:
Beautiful…and useful. But since said booties reside on a rack in my closet, I’ve decided to store several of my favorite scarves under the red lid:
If you’d rather store your scarves as a decorative element, you might go with this option instead:
I admit, I had fun laying them out and then wrapping them in a makeshift bow. Too fussy for your taste? Okay, then why not use this decorative vintage stool as a landing space for your jeans collection, as in:
Now for a big reveal…consider this also vintage- piece:
My guess is that it is a circa 1930 – 1940 reproduction. At some point, someone retrofitted the back so that it could house a small TV. Now, that would have met the blended criteria of “useful and beautiful” but I had another idea in mind to meet that mark:
If this looks a lot like a display you might find at Victoria’s Secret, or Soma, you have clearly identified my inspiration.
There isn’t much in my way of thinking or being in the world that is black or white, either- or. And when it comes to the useful and the beautiful, the same holds true.
Where can you combine the useful and the beautiful in your world?