Sometimes, the best place for shopping for your home is your home. Treasures – large and small – can be rediscovered in closets, basements and attics. Artwork and lamps can be moved from room to room for a fresh new look.
And everyday items can take on new roles.
A soup tureen that is never used can become the base for a wonderful centerpiece.
A twin bed can be converted into a daybed by adding a quilt (or buying a daybed cover or set) and placing decorative pillows and/or backrest cushions against the wall.
And a barely used dresser can be moved to a hallway for storing winter accessories or linens – after, perhaps, a fresh coat of paint or stain.
Whether you are decorating, downsizing or simply looking for an uplifting change or two, fall is a good time to rethink the things in your home.
Children’s chairs, cake stands, trays and more are all game for a home refresh.
Furniture on the move
Local interior decorator Susan Cherry Redino, who runs a business called Cherry Tree Design – Lost & Found and specializes in secondhand and vintage decor, is a fan of moving around an existing piece of furniture and giving it a new purpose.
For instance? She turned a 50-by-30-by-18-inch, flat-top storage trunk she had been using as a coffee table into a place to sit.
“I took the trunk, moved it to a wall in the music area of our living room, and made a bench out of it. I sewed a big cushion for the top of it and took all these old pillows and threw them on the back. It’s not big enough for a daybed, but it’s a really nice settee. It’s very comfortable,” said Redino, whose home will be featured online at buffalonews.com on Oct. 15 as The News’ Home of the Week.
She also converted an old clothing armoire into a multipurpose piece for all of her scrapbooking materials.
She reconfigured the interior to accommodate scrapbooks, boxes of photos, etc., but also left space for the television. Then she installed a fold-down desk and bulletin board on the back of the armoire, which is accessible from where it is placed in the master bedroom.
A few hooks on the doors create some hanging space.
Years ago, she also transformed a vintage china cabinet into a storage spot for towels and other bathing products in a bathroom for a past Decorators’ Show House.
(The 20th Decorators’ Show House, the biennial fundraiser cosponsored by The Buffalo News and the Junior League of Buffalo, will take place April 27 through May 19.)
Michael and Sandy Starks also frequently move things around in their home.
“We do move stuff around but don’t even think about it. It just seems to happen by osmosis,” Michael Starks said.
Most recently, they switched around some artwork. “We do that a lot,” he said.
When you move around your artwork, you appreciate it more and look at it more often than you used to.
You take it down, clean it off and reminisce when and where you bought it, he said.
It’s the same with family photos. Sometimes people have so many on display they all blend into one, he said.
One tip: Don’t display all of your collections all of the time. Rather, rotate them.
You can change some of the photos with the season, for example. At Christmas, the Starkses bring out their photos of visits with Santa many years ago at the old Wm. Hengerer and AM&As department stores.
As owner of Star Senior Relocation Services and Star Estate Liquidators & Appraisers, Starks routinely talks to clients in the process of downsizing about using their existing furniture and accessories in new ways.
One client had a maple Colonial open hutch in her dining room she cherished. In her new place, he recommended placing the piece in the living room to hold her flat screen TV. She uses the exposed shelves to display some of her collectibles.
Another tip: “Your tastes change,” Sandy Starks said. If you no longer like something you bought years ago, sell it, donate it or give it away, she said.
Julie Dana, who runs the Home Stylist and offers home staging and interior decorating consultations, recommended some easy seasonal ideas for the home. Most make use of the versatile items already in many people’s home, such as trays and vases.
“Pumpkins and gourds are my go-to fall accessory. They are cheap and easy to find. A couple small pumpkins nestled among books in a bookcase is really cute. Three pumpkins – large, medium and small – clustered together on a tray as a centerpiece is effortless,” she said.
Her other ideas:
• Tall clear cylindrical vases, lanterns or even flower vases can be used to display smaller gourds and pine cones. If you currently have seashells or sea glass in those vases, it's time to pack those up and replace with fall items, she said.
• Your large wooden salad bowl can be put to good use by filling it with apples. Apples look good anytime of the year but the deep red apples make excellent fall accessories.
• A three-tiered cake stand can be used in multiple ways. You can accessorize each tier with something different such as gourds, pine cones, nuts, etc. Maybe even stick a few colorful leaves in the mix.
Finally, she said, think cozy this time of year: “A super-thick, knitted blanket laying casual over the sofa arm, large plaid pillows in rich colors like navy, or dark green. Fall accent pillows don’t have to have the words ‘Welcome Fall’ on them but rather have the deep rich colors tell you that,” she said.
Gathering together such things can easily refresh a room, especially when the season changes. It may just be a matter of digging through what you already own.
* Michael and Sandy Starks' garden was featured in the Home & Style section this summer. Re-purposed decorative accents include an antique tub and an antique glove form. Take a look: