Creating a Home with Useful and Beautiful Things

Refurbished cabinet and accessories
Photograph provided by Pieces Unimagined

It can be intimidating to fill your home without recreating what someone else has already done or ending up with a mess. I did the copycat way of decorating, and it left me feeling like…a copycat! Then I encountered a quote by poet and designer William Morris: “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.”

It revolutionized my life. Willy, as I call him now, helped me overcome my fears of bad decorating by simply including things that are an extension of my needs and wants. I started jettisoning things that were not useful or beautiful to me, and not only did my home become simplified, my life did as well.

Furnishing my home from then on was guided by William Morris’ approach, and the result was a place to recharge and recreate my way. It’s intriguing to guests because each room isn’t big-box furnished, but instead thoughtfully curated one piece at a time.

Further confidence was found when I read what geographer Yi-Fu Tuan observed as an important fact about things and us: “Our fragile sense of self needs support, and this we get by having and possessing things because, to a large degree, we are what we have and possess.” I trimmed back what I owned until all I had left were things that I love.

Go into your living room. What do you sit on? Do you use the easy chair or sofa, or do you have them because everyone else does? How often are you in the room and what do you and your guests do in it? Do you eat, drink, read, or do computer work there? These questions will help determine what stays and what goes. Be brave! Be you!

Make sure you love and use the pieces because many times they become the anchor for future furnishing picks. For example, you can have an easy chair you use, but if it’s ugly, find one you love.

Choose things you find to be useful and beautiful and that will complement what you already have. You can stay within a style or genre, or not. It’s okay to mix. Remember, things are an extension of you and your family’s soul.

If your home can be the safe haven where you refresh, recreate, and recharge, it will be a place guests can see more of who you really are. They will be intrigued because they most likely haven’t seen your idea before, and it will invite conversation.

Kyle Stolldorf is the owner, creator, and curator at Pieces Unimagined.

Photographs provided by Pieces Unimagined.

View additional photographs at .

Pieces Unimagined
1228 Williamson Street
Madison, WI 53703