Disguising the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Really living in your space means that you have stuff.

And by “stuff” I don’t mean all the pretty pieces. I’m talking about doggie beds that always look dirty, kids toys, notepads/pens that need to be able to accessible at all times and kleenex boxes.

It might be hard to imagine, but I want to look at 3 different rooms and point out places that they could be storing these “real life” items (I’m not saying they actually ARE, I’m just saying that it’s where I would put them if I designed the space :).

A good design is able to work with the “real life” items and still make the room look good. 

(I've marked the areas where I think you could put stuff with an asterisk*)

This room is clean and bright and has a simple layout. What I love about it is that it uses two places that can store the "ugly" but practical stuff:

1. Built-ins: These wall to wall built-ins have plenty of room for storage. Behind closed doors (so you really can hide anything!) I also like that they are white- which makes you think of clean and bright...even if it's not!

2. Coffee Tables: This particular table doesn't show anything, but I'd like to pretend that in real life this room has baskets of toys on that shelf. That way they can be packed up and unseen if mom is having friends over and she wants a break from seeing primary colored plastic.

3. Window Seats: What I wouldn't give to have window seats in every room! But they can really hold a lot too. If you have the opportunity to build them (or you have them already) they are great to organize and hold anything- including easy to reach cleaning supplies!

4. Out of your line of sight: There are pockets in most rooms that are tucked away and no one really sees (like behind the sofa in this room). It could be a great place to put a trunk that holds toys or a doggie bed.

5. Make it blend in: You don't really notice the dog bed because it's a fun pattern and looks great with the rest of the design. If you are able to add these practical items in a fun print that goes with the rest of the room, you may not even know it's real purpose!

6. Bookcases: It might seem a little obvious, but bookcases are meant to store all your junk. The trick is to put the stuff that seems normal (like the kleenex box) with pretty things like a vase & some books. You can also store things in baskets so you can't see them (like your collection of DVDs). 

Disguising the parts of your home that are normal shouldn’t be the thing that dictates your design. It’s completely okay to have your kids toys in view or to have a generic pet bed because your dog already chewed up the last 3.

There is beauty in the “real life” stuff.

That being said, we all like seeing a clean space without any of that in sight. And there are even pieces (like this console in the photo above) that are great places to store and hide things in your common areas if you can't build a built-in or have room for a large coffee table.

My goal is to show you how in even the most “beautiful” designs, real life can still happen. And real life (pet hair and all) is what makes life so rich.

What do you like to store and put away? What do you have to keep out?