Displaying Items in Unconventional Ways

Displaying dinnerware in bookcases

We have a lot of decorating mantras here at How to Decorate, but one of them has to be that if you’re going to invest in a quality furniture piece, it needs to be able to serve multiple uses in your home. The way you live in your home is bound to evolve. What may have been a spare office could turn into a child’s bedroom, or perhaps a sunroom off the kitchen turns into your dining space. No matter how situations may change in your life, it’s important to have furniture pieces that can evolve with you, moving from room to room and still being functional and beautiful. Because of this, we love showing unconventional ways to use our pieces in the pages of our catalog, like in this dining room where we used our Toulouse Bookcase to display dinnerware!

Displaying dinnerware in bookcases

Bookcases are super versatile for several reasons. First, their shallow depth makes it easy to use them in all sorts of spaces, like narrow hallways, a tight niche, or an empty stretch of wall in the kitchen. Second, we love the way they give height, and therefore storage!, to even the smallest nooks and crannies. If you’ve ever lived in a small space, you know how important it is to take advantage of vertical height!

Displaying dinnerware in bookcases

Stacking gorgeous plates on a bookcase is a simple way to turn everyday items into a gorgeous focal point in a formal dining room or breakfast space. We also can’t help but love the way our Toulouse Bookcases packed with pretty dishes gives this chic dining room a more laid-back, inviting vibe. Plus, it sure makes it easy for you to find that serving bowl you’ll need, much easier than digging around in the bowels of some cabinet!

Using a hutch for book storage

In the same way that the dining room above uses a bookcase in unconventional ways, our Paulette Server is deliciously versatile too! While it’s normally packed with stacks of plates, serving pieces, and glassware in our catalog, this time, we decided to show it in a different room — the office! With half closed and half open storage, our Paulette Server is a great solution for storing unsightly necessities in a hardworking home office. Organize the narrow, divided drawers we normally use for silverware with pens or small office supplies like tape, scissors, or paper clips.

Using a hutch for book storage

Perhaps you originally used the Paulette in a dining room but find yourself entertaining less and less, there’s no reason you can’t use your imagination to rethink furniture pieces for your changing needs. With books, baskets, and some bulletin boards, the Paulette is a natural in this space.

Using a hutch for book storage

We’re challenging you to think outside the box. You should be telling your furniture what role to play in your home, not the other way around. And this applies to every room in the house, not just storage pieces like book shelves or hutches!

Find more storage and organization inspiration on How to Decorate, or browse our Organizing Pinterest Board for inspiration!


About the Author:

How to Decorate Team
We enjoy spending days interacting with How to Decorate readers. From answering Design Dilemmas to writing How To articles and working with guest designers, our passion is to provide informative and accurate resources to help people solve their design problems.


  1. Anne Thomas August 31, 2014 at 9:47 pm - Reply

    Hello, Can you tell me the paint color on the door in the dining room in the first and second picture? Thanks!

    • Caroline @ How to Decorate September 8, 2014 at 5:53 pm - Reply

      Hi Anne,

      For the entry door in the dining room, the wall color is Downing Stone (SW 2821) cut 50% with Pure White (SW7005), both Sherwin Williams.

      Hope that helps!
      The How to Decorate Team

  2. Evelyn Barri August 2, 2014 at 12:32 pm - Reply

    I love what you did with the server. What a great idea. I, personally, love to see items used for other than what they were designed for. Great!

    • Caroline @ How to Decorate August 4, 2014 at 9:33 am - Reply

      Thanks for your comment, Evelyn. So happy to hear that you like the way we used our Paulette Server.

      The How to Decorate Team

  3. Rochelle Staffieri July 31, 2014 at 1:46 am - Reply

    I really love the chandelier in the first picture but where is it in the catalog? Did you add additional crystals? I am hoping to buy this for my dining room.

    Many Thanks,

Leave A Comment