Display big, beautiful blossoms. Large flowers, such as hydrangea, roses, and peonies, are less likely to flop around than smaller ones, says Annie Williamson, a showroom designer at Replacements, Ltd., located in Greensboro, North Carolina.
Chill bubbly. “I put a tureen in the center of the table and throw in ice cubes and a bottle,” says Kein Cross, a designer in New York City.
Make a dramatic entrance. Fill the tureen with potpourri and station it near the front door for a pretty, fragrant welcome.
Create a planter. Place small flowering potted plants, like African violets, on a layer of pebbles or a plastic lid (for drainage). Cover the pots and soil with a blanket of moss (available at florists).
Stash the cookie cutters―plus the sprinkles and the food coloring.
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Set a mood. Use cake stands as platforms for votive and pillar candles in assorted sizes. Susanna Linse, a spokesperson for Sur La Table, suggests placing candles on a doily to protect the plate from wax.
Exhibit your treasures. “I collect tin toys and keep them on cake stands,” says Linse.
Remind yourself to do what you have to do. Place a cake stand (or two) on a table near the front door to hold letters to be mailed, bills to be paid, and your shopping list.
Show off. Display small photos and mementos, which look more important on a platform.
Raise the bar. Heighten the appeal of guest soaps and washcloths.
Feel pretty. Organize your perfume bottles or jewelry on an elevated tray on your vanity table or bedroom dresser.
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Sugar-and-Creamer Set as Candy Bowl
Keep candy handy.
Separate your cotton balls from your elastic bands. Think of your sugar bowl and creamer as decorative containers. “You don’t always have to arrange things in those perfect little plastic cubes,” says Susanna Linse, a spokesperson for Sur La Table.
Avoid a mad search when you’re late for an appointment. Place keys and small change near the front door.
Dress a desk for success. Use a creamer for pens and pencils, and a sugar bowl for a stack of business cards.
Hold earrings and rings. Small pieces of jewelry add dazzle to a dresser top when stashed inside a sugar bowl.
Go nuts. During cocktail hour, put pistachios in the sugar bowl and drop the shells in the creamer. Do the same for olives and their pits.
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Green your mantel. Display branches of seasonal flowering shrubs, tall grasses, and even cattails.
Be a sous-chef. Assist the cook by keeping kitchen implements, like wooden spoons, spatulas, and whisks, at the ready.
Gather strength in numbers. A single pitcher looks lonely. “Amass them and they become a collection,” says Angèle Parlange, a design consultant in New Orleans and the author of Creole Thrift: Premium Southern Living Without Spending a Mint (Regan, $30, amazon.com).
Dispense tall foods, like skinny baguettes and breadsticks.
Corral office tools, such as scissors, letter openers, and rulers.
Set the table. Keep silverware or chopsticks in order and within easy reach.