4 Functional Decorations for Your Home that Do More than Look Pretty

Choosing decor for your home can be a balancing act. After all the furniture finds its place and the rugs are laid out on the floor, you probably feel that your room could use a little added decor — paintings, wall clocks, decorative accessories — to bring the look together.

But as they say, too much of a good thing isn’t the way to go. When you overload your space with decor, it can make everything feel cluttered and oppressive. Too many photo frames on your shelves get in the way when you want to grab a book, and too many vases and chockies on the coffee table make it difficult when you want to set a cup of coffee down. When it comes time to clean the room, you’ll spend more time removing your decor from your surfaces than anything.

And in the end, will all of those decorative accessories or wall prints bring you joy? Are you being mindful of what you’re buying or just trying to fill up space? 

When it comes to choosing the right decor for your room — whatever room that may be — function should be a primary concern. While design and style can be important as well, your decor should do more for you than just make a room look nice. Decor can provide additional storage or even help you with your green pest control.

Ready to make your decor more functional? Here are your top picks for functional home decor and a few tips for choosing the right decor for your home.

Decorative baskets and bins

All homeowners have those two or three places that no matter what, clutter always seems to build up over time. It could be a section of your kitchen counter or an end table in your living room that is never cleared. Maybe it’s a corner in your bedroom or your kids’ bedrooms where all the clothes from the weekend up in a pile or sheets and blankets end up at the end of the night.

Clutter takes away from the style of the room, and it makes the room look cramped. When you’re busy all week though, it can be difficult to find a place for everything, and really, that’s how clutter builds up overtime. All of those odds and ends, blankets and sheets are just looking for a home.

Head to your favorite home goods store and pick up a few decorative baskets and bins to give all of that clutter a home. You can find large, woven baskets that hold a lot of those odds and ends and look great tucked into a corner or right next to your sofa. If you find clutter piles up on your coffee table, invest in a few small baskets and place them underneath your coffee table if you have a shelf there or on another nearby shelf. Some baskets even come with matching lids, so if you don’t want to display everything to your guests, a lid can provide private storage in plain sight.

If your linen closet is full, baskets are a great alternative to storing blankets. If you leave blankets, sheets and other clothing items in a pile on the ground somewhere in your home, then you’re basically creating the perfect home for rats and mice. Both rodents love to make nests in piles of cloth, especially when it’s left unattended in a basement or attic. Baskets with lids pack these blankets and sheets away without taking up valuable closet space.

Mirrors and wall clocks

It goes without saying that both of these wall decor options deliver on both style and function. Mirrors can bright spaces because they reflect the light from the windows and fixtures, and they can make spaces appear bigger than they are. It also never hurts to have one more place to check your hair and makeup as you’re about to walk out the door.

Even in our digital age where every device has a clock, having a wall clock in a room serves both function and style. When you don’t have your phone or laptop within reach, it’s always great to have the time readily available and hanging on the wall.

When choosing the right mirror or wall clock, keep these tips in mind:

  • Choose a mirror or wall clock that is proportional to the rest of the room. You don’t want to cram a massive mirror on a wall that’s just too small for it, and you don’t want a small wall clock that looks out of place on a large wall. 
  • Take cues from the rest of your design when it comes to colors and textures. If your space has plenty of color already, go for a frameless mirror or one with the least used color to help pull it out. You can also use your mirror or clock to add texture to your room. 
  • Wait for the right piece. Make sure you absolutely love it before you buy it. If you’re unsure, let it go and wait until you find the right piece that fits all aspects of your decor.

Mirrors and clocks provide great function and use of wall space. If you’re not sure what kind of paintings or artwork you’d like on your wall just yet, a mirror is a great place holder. When you do decide to change your artwork, you can almost certainly find a space in your home for a mirror.

Indoor plants

At Natran Green Pest Control, we believe in integrated pest management. This method of pest control management combines a scientific and common-sense approach to pest control management and advocates for using fewer harmful chemicals in your home. As Houston’s experts in green pest control, this is something we feel strongly about, and once you learn more about integrated pest management, we think you’ll find it’s easy to practice at home.

One aspect of integrated pest management combines functional decor with green pest control: indoor plants. Indoor plants serve a variety of purposes. In your rooms, they provide a pop of green to brighten the space, and they help purify the air you breathe. Some plants can also keep insects at bay and ward off any others that might try to come into your home. And of course, some indoor plants provide spices, herbs and other health benefits. Out of all the functional decor, indoor plants perhaps provide more function than any other type of decor mentioned on this list.

There are hundreds of great indoor plants, but here are our favorites for green pest control:

Basil

You probably know that basil makes a delicious garnish, especially for Italian recipes, but did you also know that it helps keep mosquitoes and flies away? The scent that basil gives off is too much for flies and mosquitoes, so they’re more likely to stay away when you’ve got basil growing in your kitchen.

You can grow basil in your kitchen even if you have a limited amount of space. Many hardware and home-improvement stores sell small basil plants for indoor gardens, but you can also start from seeds and grow basil in a small pot that drains water well. Place your pot in a sunny space and you should see your basil start to grow.

Basil can also be a functional decor option for your patio. Since it keeps mosquitoes away, keep a few pots of basil around your patio. You won’t have trouble with mosquitoes, and you’ll definitely have some basil to share.

Lemon balm

You’ve probably purchased a citronellal candle for your porch once or twice, right? That ingredient, citronellal, comes from a plant called lemon balm, and in your home, it can help keep mosquitoes and other pests away. When placed in your kitchen or even near your front doors, it can stop mosquitoes who might want to sneak in when the door opens. Like basil, it can even act as a deterrent when sitting on a back porch or patio.

You can pick up small potted lemon balm plants from your favorite home-improvement store’s garden center, and you can also plant it in a small pot yourself. Lemon balm doesn’t sprout up underground and spread like mint typically does, but even in a pot, you will need to trim it back to keep it from overwhelming your space.

In addition to keeping pests at bay, lemon balm can also be a great cooking plant. Add a lemon balm leaf when you’re finishing up a fish or chicken dish to give it that zesty scent. You can also cut off a lemon balm stem and add them to a hot tea. 

Lavender

Lavender may not be a typical houseplant in Houston. It’s mainly grown in Europe and the Mediterranean region, but that doesn’t mean you can’t grow it in your home. Not only does it provide a beautiful pop of purple, but it also keeps away beetles and fleas in your home. If you have dogs or cats, lavender can work with your pet’s flea medication to keep them away.

In the home, lavender needs good sunlight — think south-facing windows — and well-draining soil. You can add limestone to the soil to help it drain. Alkaline sources, such as eggshells, can also help it grow, so mix in some crushed eggshells about once a month.

Though lavender can help your pets by keeping fleas away, the ASPCA counts lavender as toxic in large quantities to pets, so keep your lavender in a place where they can’t reach it. 

Table and floor lamps

An overlooked part of decor, table and floor lamps provide task lighting for your rooms. When you’re up late and working on your laptop in your living room, a table lamp can provide the extra light without making it too bright for you or bothering others in your home. Table and floor lamps can also provide extra lighting in spaces where the ceiling lighting just isn’t enough.

This can be instrumental for pest control. After all, if you can’t see the pests, how will you know that you need to get rid of them? Many pest infestations thrive in the darkness especially because pests like dark spaces to begin with. If you’re regularly illuminating these spots, not only will you be able to spot an infestation before it takes hold, but you will also be able to fortify that space with other integrated pest management options.

Quick tips for selecting decor

We’ve already discussed how decor should be more functional than just stylish, but there’s more to selecting the perfect decor than just function. When choosing decor for your home, keep these tips in mind:

  • Go for quality over quantity. You don’t have to choose the most expensive decor, but meaningless, mass-produced pieces shouldn’t be your go-to. Instead, look for decor that connects with you in some way/
  • Mix textures and colors: As discussed with mirrors and wall clocks, textures and colors should be layered throughout your design. If your furniture is mostly made of wood, use pillows and baskets to add texture and colors to your decor.
  • Keep size in mind with accessories: If you do add decorative accessories — vases, candle holders, small statues, etc. — mix your sizes. Use large accessories sparingly and mix in medium and small sizes as well. Do not overload by adding accessories to every available surface.
  • Combine new with vintage: Just because it’s vintage doesn’t mean it’s out of style completely. Some vintage pieces can look new again when combined with a modern aesthetic. Shopping for vintage pieces is better for the environment. You’re turning something old into something new again and cutting down on the demand for new products. A vintage piece can feel more personal because at this point, it’s a one-of-a-kind piece.

So tell us: Which of these functional decor options will you be using for your home? Will you be bringing any of these plants into your home? We want to know so share your thoughts with us in the comments!

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