Monday, July 20, 2009

The Alternative Home Decor Database

Years ago, I started collecting alternative home decor ideas. What qualifies as "alternative home decor"? I define it as anything unexpected that you can hang on your wall or prop on a shelf for decorative purposes. The roulette wheel in the photo above (from the most recent Pottery Barn catalog) is a great example. How many people think to themselves, "Let's see, now what should I hang over my mantle? I'm thinking either a mirror, a family photo, or a roulette wheel." I love design surprises like this. Leave it to Pottery Barn to have the chutzpah to pull this off.

Because I like to organize things-- and because I'm just the tiniest little bit compulsive--I saved all of these alternative decor ideas in the form of an alphabetized list. I published the list a few years ago in article form, but quickly discovered that without images, the list wasn't very useful to the average home decorator. Turns out, most people don't just intuitively know how to decorate a wall with napkins, driftwood, or...zithers.

Now that I have joined the blogging world, it occurred to me to again share my list...but with a twist. I invite you to contribute links to photos (your original photos, or photos that you have found on the web). My vision for this post is that it can become an Alternative Home Decor Database (doesn't that sound delightfully nerdy!) in which every item on the list is linked to an internet image of that alternative item in a room setting. So for example, if the item on the list is an apron, and you have a framed apron above the stove in your kitchen, you can contribute a link to your photo.

If you would like to contribute, please leave a comment with your link and the name of the decor item and I will add the link to the list. If you have used an alternative decor item that is not on my list (or you have an item that is already linked on the list), please send it to me anyway! If I have linked to a photo of yours and you would prefer not to be linked, please let me know and I will remove the link. And now, with no further ado, I give you The List.

Decorative Items from A to Z

A-Advertisements, Aprons (vintage)

B-Blueprints, Board games, Baby clothes, Bandanas, Batik fabrics, Ballet slippers, Beach bags, Buttons (mounted in rows), Buckets, Baskets, Branches, Birdhouses, Birdcages, Birdbaths, Bottles, Banners, Books (stacked up or propped open to a favorite page), Bowling pins, Bells

C-Chalkboards, Canvases (painted a single color), Calendar images, Collages, CD Covers, Ceramic tiles, Curtains (not just for windows!), Candles, Coins, Clocks, Children's blocks, Charts, Comic books, Chopsticks (gathered in a vase), Calligraphy pieces

D-Driftwood pieces, Doilies, Dishes, Dish towels, Diplomas, Dictionary Definitions (enlarged), Doorknobs (displayed in a row as coat hooks or towel hooks), Dolls

E-Empty frames, Evening bags, Embroidered fabrics

F-Fans (wooden, paper, or silk), Flowers (fresh, dried, pressed, or silk), Fabrics (framed or stretched over store bought canvases), Footprints (in a baby's room), French memo boards, Flags, Finger paintings, Fruits (whole fresh or dried), Fiddles, Fossils, Folding screens, Flowerpots, Finials

G-Garden tools, Gold leaf papers, Greeting cards, Garden gates & statues, Garlands of Garlic or chili peppers, Guitars, Geodes, Gloves, Globes, Glass blocks

H-Hats, Handkerchiefs, Handprints, Horticultural charts

I-Ice skates, Illustrations cut from books (A favorite picture book can provide enough pictures to decorate a child's room-be sure to buy a second copy!)


K-Kites, Keys, Kids' artwork, Kimonos

L-Leaves (fresh, pressed, or photocopied), Lyrics, Ladders, Lanterns, Lavender bundles, License plates, Love Letters, Looms

M-Mirrors, Marionettes, Magazine covers, Mantels, Maps, Masks, Mason jars, Menus, Mobiles, Musical instruments, Model airplanes, Marbled papers, Mr. Potato Head

N-News articles, Nests, Numbers (salvaged wood or metal), Napkins, Names (spelled out with individual letters or children's blocks), Negatives, Neckties, Needlepoint pieces

O-Oars 1, Oars 2, Origami papers,
P-Pie Plates, Plates, Player piano music rolls, Purses, Photographs, Poems, Postcards, Posters, Postage stamps, Paper dolls, Programs, Passports, Picket fences, Placemats, Pinecones, Pinwheels, Pennants, Pins, Puppets

Q-Quilts, Quilt squares

R-Rugs, Record album covers, Roller skates, Recipes, Religious symbols, Roulette wheels

S-Scarves (framed individually or displayed on hooks in a row), Seed packets, Sewing patterns, Saris, Sheet music, Scrolls, Shutters, Stained glass, Shoes, Sconces, Silhouettes, Shells, Sports equipment, Street Signs, Spectacles, Stones, Suitcases, Surfboards, Scrapbook papers (framed individual sheets), Spoons, Swimsuits

T-Teacups & saucers, Tablecloths, Tin lids, Trays (metal trays can be used as magnetic message boards), Ticket stubs, Toys, Twigs, Tin ceiling tiles, Typewriters, Telephones, Tricycles


V-Vases, Valentines, Vintage fabric scraps & dish towels, Veils, Violins, Vests

W-Wallpaper, Windows, Wreaths, Weathervanes, Wrapping papers (framed individual sheets), Words (spelled out with individual letters or children's blocks), Windchimes, Wine labels

X-X-rays (hung in a window or pieced into a mobile in front of a light source)

Y-Yardsticks, Yarn Skeins (displayed in a basket or a wooden bowl)


I'll keep adding links as I find images and as you send them my way!

Photo credits: Roulette Photo: Pottery Barn, Purse Photo: Red Chair Home Interiors, Photo Border: Stock Xchng.