I love those magazine articles and TV shows that show several different configurations of the same room with the same furniture! I like to redefine spaces! I like to see how the addition of a few simple and inexpensive accent pieces can revitalize a room.
White elephant treasures can freshen up any decor and still cost very little. Some of my favorite white elephant treasures are shelving units and storage containers. I like to seek out useful, decorative and creative ways to store items.
The ancients believed that simple storage units, like vases, pots and racks should be functional as well as beautiful. They gave us Ming vases, Egyptian ebony racks, Greek pottery and Benares brass tables from India. Most of these items were common household items.
Now although we probably won’t find an Etruscan pot at a secondhand store, there are certainly plenty of lovely and unique white elephants available! If you keep two basic principles in mind, you can find lovely accent pieces for very reasonable prices!
Principle 1: Pardon the pun, but ‘think outside the box’! Consider using unusual items for storage or shelving. I have used a baker’s rack, a wooden baby changing table, a wine rack, an upended wooden crate, garden furniture and a tiered plant stand for shelving. For containing items, consider baskets, hat boxes, dishware, pottery and boxes, especially those with attractive designs.
Principle 2: Try to minimize your cost by finding the most functional, well-made pieces. Consider pieces with several uses, such as footstools with covers which gives you comfort as well as storage. Look for attractive magazine racks and baskets to put near family room chairs for books, pens, paper, newspaper ads, knitting, crossword puzzle books and even little toiletries. I found a cute lidded picnic basket white elephant for just this purpose!
Let’s think about our shelving white elephants. I like baker’s racks for shelves as they have different sized shelves as well as drawers. They work well in the bedroom as well as kitchen. I found a nice wrought iron and wicker white elephant for $20 secondhand. I use two shelves for books and two for clothing.
I found a secondhand wooden changing table that I use for a vanity. I use various cloth placemats for runners. I have my jewelry and cosmetics and hair care items arranged on the top shelf. The other two shelves contain my lingerie, hosiery and knit garments.
In the bathroom, there is ample room for all bath linens, hair and bath products, soaps, extra toilet paper and paper products, and even your cleaning products!
In the kitchen, a baker’s rack provides shelves for pots and pans, drawers for utensils and sometimes room for some potted herbs and cookbooks, as well as a work surface and racks to hang towels. A baker’s rack is the most versatile shelf you could ever need!
Wine racks make excellent bookshelves also. We keep our family games in the cupboard part, our books on the shelves and even have room for a few bottles of wine in the round slots. I use a small bookshelf for a bedside stand. I have room for a lamp, some books, clock and my nightitme remedies!
For storage, I am very fond of lined baskets and round hat boxes. I keep them on my shelves open with a scented sachet for my lingerie, hosiery, sleepwear, and knit garments. My clothing stays fresher and wrinkle free! I keep cosmetic bottles in baskets to keep them upright and tidy. I have wire baskets for cotton balls and swabs.
In the kitchen, I like miscellaneous ‘white elephant’ baskets, bowls and dishes to hold fruit, napkins, and bottles (again to keep them organized and upright). And for stationary and art supplies glasses and baskets make ideal storage and are great for easy access!
So hit those flea markets and hunt up some decorative, new ways to organize and store your stuff!