Country Storage and Decoration Ideas
Storage that doubles as decoration
Not having much of a budget for decorating turned out to be a good thing for me. It forced me to learn how to make the most of my money, even when it came to basic storage around the home. My parents were always conventional when it came to decorating and storage. Plenty of gorgeous cherry cabinets, curio cabinets, nice linen cabinet, and a 1960s style home with plenty of closet space.
My husband and I have lived in countless cheap apartments. Some with barely any storage at all. We bought our first home after 6 years of marriage. A tiny ranch with some storage, but definitely not enough. So rather than purchasing expensive cabinets and storage units, I started to watch HGTV for some ideas on how to solve my storage problem and discovered that storage can not only be practical, but can double as decoration. Quite the money saver! I quickly became addicted to the concept and spent my weekends dragging my kids from yard sale to yard sale, turning trash into treasure.
This old bureau is great for counter space and for storing pans and lidsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Lack of storage in our new kitchen
Please excuse the mess in our kitchen...we're in the middle of remodeling it. These storage solutions that I came up with will be staying in our 'new' kitchen.
We sold our first home back in 2001 and purchased a big old Victorian house located in an old New England town. The kitchen was cramped so we eventually tore down an old, unused chimney and the wall that led to the pantry. Having no pantry meant having no storage, so again, I had to come up with some storage solutions. Although we still have not finished remodeling our kitchen, the storage solutions that I came up with will stay in the 'new' kitchen.
First is the old bureau. Yes, a bureau in the kitchen. It has a nice marble top which serves nicely as counter space. The drawers are used to store my pans, lids, rolling pin, trash bags and whatever else happens to find it's way in there.
Because we have little cabinet space, I decided to go with the old cracker jars for storing oatmeal, sugar, flour, pasta, coffee, crackers, cookies, and so on. I love the look of the old jars out on the bureau. And it turns out that keeping these items in sealed containers like this is actually a very good idea. It keeps out ants, meal moths, mice and so on.
I use the top of the refrigerator for keeping many of the cracker jars. And I lined the top of the cabinets with old enamel bowls and pans for keeping things that are rarely used.
The cracker jars come in a variety of sizes and are really inexpensive, ranging from about $3 - $7 each.
Sellers CabinetClick thumbnail to view full-size
My favorite kitchen storage piece - the old Sellers Cabinet
My mother in law should have been an interior decorator. Her house could be photographed for a home magazine any day of the week and look absolutely amazing. It was at her house that I was first introduced to Hoosier cabinets. She has a reproduction Hoosier cabinet for storage in her kitchen. I immediately fell in love with it and when it came time for me to find some storage for my own kitchen, the Hoosier was first and foremost on my mind.
I found this old Sellers cabinet on Ebay, which is the same concept as the Hoosier, just made by a different company. They were extremely popular years ago back when wives spent hours upon hours cooking in the kitchen. The smaller size is typically 40 inches wide and have enamel counter tops that pull out, going from 16 inches to 23 inches for even more area for working on kneading and rolling out dough. Some of the Sellers and Hoosier cabinets have wooden or tin counter tops (not my favorite). They also came with built in flour sifters. The Sellers cabinet that I bought did not have the flour sifter - it was most likely removed to use that space as storage.
You can see my Sellers cabinet in the photo below. I store my dishes, cups, glasses, mixing bowls and plastic storage bowls in the top section. The bottom section has drawers that I use for my silverware. The bottom drawer of many Hoosier and Sellers cabinets often are tin lined with a sliding door on the top for storing bread. I use mine for cookbooks. Behind the door on the bottom half you'll find two shelves, the top even slides in and out and I use it for storing the pans that I use in the oven (casserole, cookie, etc..).
I only paid $300 for our Sellers cabinet. Ours is the cheap variety and when I bought it, it needed to be repainted. You can also find really nice hardwood Sellers and Hoosier cabinets - typically oak. They also come in wider widths.
Storage for kitchen utensil and spices
I also had to come up with some kind of storage for all those kitchen utensils and spices, and I only have about 16 inches of space next to my stove. My solution? I used an old enamel pot that I found at a flea market for the utensils. Because I didn't have enough utensils to fill it completely, I also put a glass jar in the center of it to help keep the utensils upright.
For my spices, I found an old painted pie cabinet. Inside there are two shelves, giving me plenty of storage for all my spices.
Storage in the bathroom
We don't have a linen cabinet, and there's very little space for storing things under the bathroom sink. We had 3 piece TV storage unit that we no longer used after we bought the big screen TV. The two side pieces were cabinets, one with a glass door, the other has open shelves. I tool the piece with open shelves and placed it next to the bathroom sink. On the shelves I put a basket organizer that I found at Walmart. I'm not sure if it was for silverware or if I found it in the craft department.
I painted a cheap, $1 silver pain bucket and put it in there to fill with bathroom necessities. I used cracker jars for cotton balls and q-tips. Another shelf has an old enamel something or other, I think it's a pan. I use that for wash cloths and hand towels. And on the bottom shelf I put a large basket that I filled with band-aids, medicine, vitamins and things like that.
Picnic Baskets for Storage
I love using these old picnic baskets for storage. You can find them at flea markets, yard sales and antique stores. I have a couple of them. One I use for PC type stuff - blank discs, cables, memory cards...you know. All that ugly stuff that winds up in a box somewhere.
I use the other other picnic basket my junk drawer. It sits nicely at the bottom of a narrow closet that we have in our living room.
Other storage ideas
There are plenty of other items that can serve as storage and double as decorations. Some old, some new.
- Trunks - use as toy boxes, newspaper and kindling for the wood stove, coffee tables
- Enamel pots and bowls - wash cloths, dish towels, dish cloths, spices, medicine and vitamins, fruit, veggies, bars of soap, put on top of cabinets and refrigerator for storing seldom used items.
- Silverware baskets can be used in the bathroom, on desks for checkbook, pencils, pens and notepads.
- Hoosier kitchen table with a drawer makes a great desk! I use one for my laptop and printer.
- Decorative stacking boxes
- Stacking baskets with lids can store just about anything
- Spray paint a filing cabinet and change out the handles so it doesn't look so industrial. Maybe even add some stenciling.
- TV cabinet with doors can be changed into a kitchen pantry.
Check out these other Hubs for more ideas.
- Kitchenware - Vintage Enamelware
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