Pretty Functional: Out of the Ordinary Storage Solutions

Have a design question? KariAnne has the answer! Get advice for incorporating attractive storage into your kitchen.

KariAnne's kitchen at Thistlewood Farms is tidy and pretty.
To integrate storage into your decor, find options that are both attractive and functional.

Q: I want to be more organized this year, but all the storage bins I find look ordinary. Can you suggest some creative ideas for containers?

You want to be organized, but you need a little inspiration to stick with it. Here are some clever ideas for stylish storage to keep everything in its place:

  1. Customize baskets spotted at yard sales, thrift stores, flea markets and dollar stores. Spray paint a number on the front, tie on a dish towel for a liner and sew a ribbon with buttons around the edge to make it your own.
  2. Add vertical storage with a peg board. Paint it to match your décor. Then, add hooks to organize your accessories. This also works for ribbon and wrapping supplies in a giftwrapping station.
  3. Maximize every inch of space with rolling drawers. Repurpose dresser or desk drawers, add casters and a handle, fill with extra linens and roll it away under the bed.


Q: My kitchen is always so messy. What are some easy tips to keep it organized?

The kitchen is where all the spoons and forks gather and show up with friends. A silverware convention can get overwhelming, especially if the drawers and cabinets are overflowing with odds and ends. Try these tips:

  1. Use your kitchenalia as decor. Display everyday dishes in a hutch or on open shelves. Stack dish towels in baskets. Group wooden spoons in an urn on the counter. Organize silverware in mason jars with chalkboard tags.
  2. Double your cabinet storage by inserting inexpensive stackable shelving.
  3. A jumbled utensil drawer solution, use adhesive to adhere a piece of cork to the inside of a cabinet door and add hooks for hanging measuring cups and spoons on the inside.
  4. Display linens in style and keep kitchen towels within easy reach by installing a towel bar to the side of a lower cabinet or kitchen island.KariAnne Wood is a home decor blogger and author of two books, So Close To Amazing and The DIY Home Planner. For more on KariAnne, visit

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Christmas Q & A with KariAnne Wood

KariAnne Wood has the answers to your holiday decor questions!

A bottle drying rack displays several tiny wreaths. Underneath, a collection of unfinished wooden trees adds warmth to the neutral space.

Our resident design maven, KariAnne Wood or Thistlewood Farm, answers your holiday decor questions!

Q:  I love decorating for the holidays, but I want to add a few handmade projects into my décor this year.  Do you have any suggestions?

Let’s start with the best part about handmaking your holiday décor: It’s unique, inexpensive and a great way to simplify your holiday decorating. The key to handmade is sticking with projects that aren’t overwhelming or overcomplicated and don’t require a Ph.D. in directions. Here are a few of my favorites:

  • Make a book-page garland with leaves cut out from old book pages.
  • Create a Christmas tree from scrabble letters that spell out the words to a carol.
  • Glue tiny pinecones onto an old wooden board in the shape of a snowflake.
  • Sew pom-poms onto dollar-store stockings.
  • Cut out triangles from old holiday cards, punch holes in the corner and tie them onto jute twine to create a banner.

Let this be the year—start a new tradition with a handmade holiday.

Q:  Typically I decorate my home for the holidays with traditional red and green, but this year I want to change it up a little and add some new colors to the mix. Do you have any suggestions?

KariAnne’s neutral theme includes both rustic textures and shimmering surfaces.

I do, but can we just start with a shout-out for red and green? (Those colors have showed up for some amazing holiday parties at my house.) That being said, I love the idea of adding a few neutrals into your décor this fall and winter. Here are some easy suggestions to change the holiday décor conversation.

Shop your yard. Bring in the colors and textures of the outdoors. Layer pinecones in a bowl, make a twig garland for your bookcase or fill a vase with stones from the walk and add in greenery and twigs.

Select natural fibers. Use burlap sacks for a Christmas tree skirt. Fill galvanized metal buckets with evergreens.  Sew stockings from flour sacks. Paint letters on reclaimed wood to spell out a holiday message.


Repurpose what you have. Sometimes all that décor that’s lost its luster needs is a coat of paint. Take a look at the basic lines of some of your traditional holiday décor, and give it a new look with a coat of gray or white paint.

KariAnne Wood blogs at Thistlewood Farm, is the author of So Close to Amazing and the DIY Home Planner.

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