Double Use Decorations

So, you’ve finally done it, you’ve bought your dream home -- complete with all the trappings and features that you’ve ever dreamed of. You’ve gone through the rigmarole to buy or build the home and now, with it finally full of your boxes and luggage, you start to unpack though soon that is over and everything has its place. This then brings you to the next challenge of coming into your dream home, decorating. Decorating can be quite a chore. Pictures, figurines, paintings, and other such decorations can be expensive, especially if you are buying them all in one fell swoop. Not to mention it can be a bit nerve-wracking to bring things home over and over again to see how they fit overall. But eventually, you will have it complete and it will be rewarding. However, the question is now, what purpose do these objects serve? Are they just for decoration? Are they just there to look pretty? Or can they be of use to you in some other way?

Let’s take a moment to explore a part of decorating that isn’t discussed too often, double use decorations, or functional decorations. Functional and double use decorations are essentially decorations that not only look pretty though can be used for another purpose as well. The following are several of the decorations that we found to be both beautiful and useful.

1. Sconces

A sconce? What is a sconce? Well, we’re glad you asked. A sconce is a wall hanging artifact that holds a candle. They were used in place of mountain torches to the wall in the years before electricity. They are commonly seen today for displaying decorative candles as artwork almost. However, as you may have already guessed, they can also be used to light your home.

Now, let’s run a scenario by you. Let’s say the power goes out on a dark night and you find yourself fumbling around the house with a weak flashlight. Instead of resigning to the darkness, why not load up the sconces you put around the house with normal candles and light them up? This will allow your home to become brighter in a matter of minutes and will also warm your home in the case that your heating system is out of order as well.

This same useful quality can also be said about the standard candlestick. If you prefer candle sticks to sconces (or even in addition to them) then you can light your home that way as well. There is an inherent fire danger when it comes to candles, as you can imagine, so it is important to use the utmost care when using them. The most important thing you can do to prevent a fire while using candles is to always buy sconces with a metal plate that separates the wall from the flame. This will make your home much less likely to catch on fire. If you can’t find ones with metal plates, or you want that same protection with your candle sticks, have a small piece of sheet metal or a ceramic plate on hand that you can easily fit between the flame and the wall when it is lit.

2. Decorative Calendars

There is any number of ways to make decorative calendars. There are wood block calendars, shabby chic close line calendars, and simply calendars with desirable pictures on them. But these are also very useful to you as the homeowner for obvious reasons. Instead of taking the space on your wall for a painting or a picture, you can always put up a decorative calendar so that not only have a good appearance it will also help you keep track of your schedule.

Another benefit to using a calendar for your decoration is that they are fairly inexpensive -- especially if you make them yourself. Calendars can be bought at just about any store in town, and they can even be printed for free online.

3. Plants

Plants have often been used as interior décor for a long time. From the standard house plant to fruit bearing plants and everything in between plants have been as common in human dwellings as humans themselves. This can be for their looks but there are also some inherent uses behind them that may have been what prompted our ancestors to bring them inside in the first place. There are three reasons that we can figure that may be what they found so useful about them: smell, air filtration, and food.

Let’s first talk about smell. We try so hard as humans to make our homes smell good. We spray chemicals, bake things, and so much more. However, what if the solution was as easy as bringing in some flowers? A ring of roses or a sample of snapdragons can do a lot for a room and will, assuming that no one who enters is allergic to the flower, be a lot healthier for everyone in the first place.

Now, what about air filtration? It is no secret that our rooms can get musty and stale, especially during the winter. Well, a plant, since they feed on carbon dioxide, will take the old air and freshen it up for you. You won’t need to worry about your air being stale, you can just breathe in the fresh-ish air.

Then there is food. Food is naturally the purpose of some foods, so it seems natural that if you bring it into your home and nourish it, it will do the same for you, and look great in the process. You can choose from many different plants when it comes to growing food. The best option, if you are low on space, is the herb garden. There are many herbs, spices, and other such seasonings that you can grow in your own kitchen. There are several ways to do it too, you just need to be creative.

4. Mirrors

Mirrors are another great dual purpose decoration. There are many people that use mirrors when they decorate, but not all of them know the true scope of their usefulness. The two biggest uses of having mirrors for decoration are personal grooming and expanding the perception of a room.

Personal grooming and health are some of the most known uses of mirrors. Mirrors have long been used for this purpose, so putting a few extra ones around your home will not seem a hindrance at all.

Expanding a room’s perceived size is on small task, but it can be done with ease with the help of some mirrors. A mirror acts as a portal to a perceived universe which can fool us into thinking the room is twice as large as we think it is. This also makes rooms seem brighter since they bounce the light around the room.

5. Classic Maps and Globes

You may have had this happen to you, you are sitting there listening to, reading, or watching the news when, all of a sudden, a country or region you have never heard of is mentioned. You spend the next several minutes racking your brain, trying to break loose the shards of memory that are still left from the last time you studied geography, but to no avail. This happens to a lot of us, but if we use classic maps or globes in our homes as decoration, you won’t have to torture yourself for too long.

Now, when we say classic maps, we don’t mean antique maps, even though those are pretty cool looking also, but rather maps that look antique but still have current political boundaries on them. This will allow you to look for any random country that may have been mentioned on the news in a matter of seconds and see where it is in relation to you and the rest of the world.

This can be even more fun when it comes to globes as their features are more to scale than that of a map. They are also very beautiful decorations that are perfect for in home offices or main rooms. There are plenty of styles to choose from as well when it comes to picking a globe, there are the standard ones that you would find in a school, as well as unique ones made of stone or metal that you may see in a museum or a private collection.

6. Compasses

This situation may not be as common to everyone else as the map one, but it could happen. Let’s say you are sitting at home, minding your own business, when all of a sudden the power goes out. It is the middle of the night, and you need to make it to town. You know that where you need to go is to the north, but which way is that? There is no sun? Well, if you happen to use compasses (both antique and not) as decoration, then you can easy just grab one off the shelf and started heading to town. If it happens to be a good quality compass, and not necessarily antique in nature, you can easily take it on any camping trips or other outdoor excursions to make sure that you have a way to get back to camp or civilization.

7. Shoji Screens or Privacy Screen

This awesome piece of furniture has been used in homes for many many years. They are usually Asian in design as they originated in Japan and China so they are perfect for any sort of oriental theme you may have in your home. However, there are plenty of different styles that can be utilized. Now, you may be asking yourself, “how are these double use?” Well, for starters, they are beautiful and act as a great standing center piece in a room. They can also be used as they were originally intended as well: as a privacy screen. They allow you to have privacy when changing, or when doing anything else for that matter. They can be found on line for fairly inexpensive prices; just search for either a shoji screen or a privacy screen and they should both show up.

Usually, these are placed in the corner or the side of the room, but they can easily be used in other capacities as well. It all depends on your needs. If you really want to they can be used as a way to separate rooms. This obviously is not a perfect separation and will not do for an official separation or anything, but it is a good psychological barrier.

8. Coffee table desk

The coffee table desk is a veritable stroke of genius. It is both a coffee table and a desk depending on your needs. Let’s break it down. First off, it starts looking like an ordinary coffee table where you would put your books, beverages, and so forth, but, depending on the model, either half or all of the top of the coffee table can lift up and move to one direction or another. This allows for someone sitting on a sofa near the coffee table to bring the surface to them in order to use it as a desk.

This is a fun way to spruce up your living space and keep it functional. You can go from lounging to working with a simple lift of the coffee table top. Sometimes these coffee tables will offer more storage space underneath the initial top so that you can store things you might need with your desk, or any other sort of storage you might need when it is open.

9. The Japanese Kotasu

While we are on the subject of coffee tables, it is vital that we mention one of the single most ingenious things to ever happen to one; it is called, the kotatsu. The kotatsu is a Japanese invention that combines the usability of a standard coffee table with the comfort of a heated blanket. . . . Some of you may be scratching your heads right now, but don’t worry, it will make more sense in a minute. Essentially, a kotatsu is a coffee table with a small electric heater attached to the bottom of it. They will usually have a square blanket that comes with them as well that allows you to trap the heat in. (A nice removable top is then placed on top of the blanket so that the coffee table can still be used).

10. Storage Furniture

Now, you have probably seen these types of furniture and décor— ones that double as storage space. They are everywhere now days. However, they should never be overlooked because they are one of the most useful kinds of décor you could possibly buy for your home. There are dozens of possibilities, so here we will only list a few.


Ottomans are a classic piece of storage décor. Whether it is a large ottoman that works to cater to a sofa or a small ottoman that services only a chair, they can be utilized for their storage capacity. Many ottomans will open from the top. The cushion will either lift up, or come completely off, to reveal an open space for storage. There are even some that the top cushion is thin and can be taken off, flipped upside down, and placed back on the rest of the ottoman so it can serve as a side table (as well as not compromise the internal storage space.

Coffee tables

Ah, back to the coffee table. Another common double use piece of décor, the coffee table, even when it is being used in a coffee table /desk capacity, will have some sort of storage. This can be open space below it, or as drawers that come out of its underside. That way you have a place to store your remote controls, blankets, coasters, and more.

Hidden Storage

If you are one to like to have a hidden stash or two around your home, then these are good ideas for you. There are pieces of furniture and décor that are perfect for hiding all sorts of possessions. Many of these are built to hide firearms, but they can also be used to hide just about anything else. One in particular that fits with our topic today is the clock safe. These beautiful time pieces look and work just like an ordinary clock. However, when the face of the clock is pressed on in a certain way, the face lifts off and reveals a small storage area where you can hide just about anything you want.

11. Measuring sticks

Especially if you are going for a shabby chic look when it comes to your interior decorating, wall mounted measuring sticks can be a beautiful addition to your double use décor arsenal. These puppies look beautiful and are also useful for measuring a person’s height, the length of something, and so on. Not a super glamorous addition to the list, but it is still very useful.

12. Pin boards

These ones are pretty self-explanatory. The pin board has been used in people’s homes for decades and they have helped with a number of scheduling and organizational situations. Whether you want to post up pictures to see, remind yourself to do something, or just want to be able to find something easily in the future, then you might want to consider using a pin board. They are pretty inexpensive, useful, and can be bought in many beautiful designs and shapes to match your current décor.

13. Books/ bookshelves

Books and bookshelves may seem lit a strange thing to add to this list, but believe us when we say, they are great ways to utilize your space in your home for beauty and functionality. For many people, books are beautiful. Whether it is for their content, or just for the way they look (especially antiques). So, putting a nice bookshelf up in your home and filling it with your favorite books will allow you to not only store all the books (and possibly nick-knacks) that are scattered about the house, but also have a chance to make a handsome looking collection of books.

14. Lights

To be specific, lamps. Lamps are overlooked many times when it comes to double-use décor. They are very beautiful, and can come in all shapes, sizes, and brightness (many with hundreds of different features as well). They are so versatile that you can work them into any theme and they provide light to your home— something that is both beautiful and useful as well.

15. Salt and Pepper Shakers

Now, this entry on the list will only appeal to a certain few. Salt and pepper shakers come in all shapes and sizes. They can be themed, unconventional, and just plain strange, but this wide variety of shakers makes it easy to collect and display them. Then, when you need salt or pepper, you can grab your favorite shaker down to use it!

16. Bioluminescent Lights

Bioluminescence is an amazing thing that happens in nature. It is when light is produced by an organism. The most common form of bioluminescence would have to be from the firefly. Fireflies have certain chemicals inside their bodies that allow them to glow. There are some other animals that have this ability, as well as some bacteria. Lately, there have been inventors and scientists that have been trying to find a way to use bioluminescence in our homes as an alternative form of lighting.

Let’s shed some light on the subject, shall we? Instead of using a traditional lightbulb which requires electricity that is usually generated by burning coal, one could use a bioluminescent light that lights itself thanks to the chemicals of the bacteria inside it. This would definitely be a more green way to light out homes. (Well, probably more blue since most bioluminescent creatures, other than fireflies, glow a pale blue color).

These can be double use because they are some bioluminescent objects that just look like intricate glass blown figurines, only they can light up when you want them too.

So there you have it, functional and double use decorations for you to use in your new dream home. Your custom Boise home will be both beautiful and functional. Keep on the lookout for more ideas as you continue to decorate, you might find a new Idea worth using!

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