Beautiful Utility: A Motto to Live By (Sponsored)
Refreshing useful spaces makes you feel more welcome when you are at home. Utility doesn't have to lack beauty.

Beautiful Utility: A Motto to Live By (Sponsored)


We all love beautiful things and there are those who keep them tucked away and safe and others who want to enjoy them every day.  I am an enjoy them every day kind of person.  I love finding vintage or artisan items that speak to me and instead of keeping them in a display case I use them every day.  Then again there are places in the home that get a lot of wear and tear and keeping those spaces beautiful is a bit of a challenge. In our house, the foyer is such a space.  It is a tight spot at the bottom of our stairs and is more of a stairwell than a foyer, but that’s what city living is all about right?!  Making small spaces work because we love the city life.

So here goes.  The photos you are about to witness are very graphic and stinky. Just be grateful that the age of “smell-able” screens has not yet come.  This is a picture of our mini foyer before it gets the magic Elle Decor touch.  With my rug ordered and en route from Wayfair, I was ready to remove my mom blinders and make some changes to this space.

So here it is.  The first thing you stumble into when you get home.  There is also usually a pile of mail on the floor and a stack of boat-sized shoes on top of this blue cabinet.

When you come home, you want to feel welcome. A big pile of shoes that either block the door from opening or that trip you as you step over the threshold is not the most welcoming experience.  So my first task was to sort the shoes.  We are between seasons in New England despite the fact that it is almost November. Only days ago we were wearing flip flops and the only boots ready to début this seasonso far have been the rain boots.  If you have kids then you know that at least 1/2 the shoes in the shoe shelf have already been outgrown anyway so culling through them is actually not too difficult.  You just need to make three piles:

  1. Shoes to keep.
  2. Shoes to donate.
  3. Shoes to toss.

Then, the shoes to keep pile gets sorted once more.  The shoes that are too summery can be stored as well as those you don’t wear every week. I like to keep my dress shoes in the closet in my room.  That leaves more room for every day shoes downstairs.

My next task was to address the elephant in the room which is this huge grate that is rusty and just plain gross.  I decided I would buy some spray paint (which you can get at a local hardward store or you can order it when you order your Elle Decor Wayfair rug).

I took my can of spray paint and grabbed a large cardboard box from the recycling stack and headed outside.  The spray paint only needed 5 minutes to dry between coats and an hour to dry to the touch so it was quick and easy.  The cardboard box was to shield my clothes, face and everything around me from the spray.

Much better with a fresh coat of paint on the vent grate.

In addition to painting the vent, I found two tall rectangular baskets for shoes.  The one on the left is for my husband’s shoes because they are too long to fit into the shoe cabinet.  The other is for the rest of us.  Ideally it is for the shoes we aren’t wearing that day but wear often.  Everyone gets one pair of shoes out if they can leave them out neatly.  That’s the rule. The new Elle Decor rug helps set the tone for the space. It encourages everyone to keep the space neat and it helps define an area that should be shoe-free. My husband’s first comment was concern that it would get dirty, but these rugs are like Teflon! Nothing sticks. The Elle Decor rugs are actually made with a soft and durable polypropylene that is naturally resistant to stains and fading. If you still are not convinced then take comfort in the fact that the rugs are also machine washable.

Having a rug at the foot of the stairs helps define the space. This time of year it also collects any stray fall leaves that can be easily shaken off at the end of the week. 

In addition to the floor space, I wanted to create a little uniformity for storage of odds and ends.  We tend to take off our coats at the top of the stairs so these hooks were the perfect place for catchalls.  These are the four most important categories we have:

  1. Mail- our mail ends up on the floor so when we come in we usually throw it on a pile on the stairs which is not much better.  The bag is great because I can then bring it up once a week to sort through all the wonderful handwritten letters you all send me bills and catalogs.
  2. Sports– shin guards, extra pins and hairnets, spare water bottles, and various other sports gear. This bag is there to be a landing pad for all the stuff that comes and goes every week and never ends up where it should be.
  3. Weather- hats, scarves, sunscreen, umbrellas and such. It is nice to have whatever you need to face the weather outside waiting for you by the door.
  4. Klein Bag – a little bag for little errands.  Ein kleine Tasche für kleine Besorgungen. Whether we have a stray book to bring back to the library or we are just running to the store, in Cambridge you bring your own bag.  This one is here for those days when you forget to grab one on your way out.
This was the mess before. No rhyme or reason here. These bags just hung here for weeks on end until someone moved them. Yes, that someone is me.

Now there is a purpose and uniformity to the space which makes everyone happy.  Especially she who moves all the things to their proper place- aka me.

That umbrella isn’t really supposed to go there, but it has been so grey and rainy that I kind of liked the rainbow so I left it there for now.

All in all this only took a little over an hour to pull together.  It was one small inexpensive project that offers us all big rewards. Coming home is so much nicer when you come into a space that looks like this and we can just forget about what it used to be like.

1 Comment

  1. Crystal K. Bria

    Great project! Love the “Eat Locals” sign!

Leave a Reply