Pieces with a Purpose

Make your cottage more memorable with functional wall art.
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Photography courtesy of Pier 1 Imports

Posters and paintings aren’t the only game in town when embellishing your walls. Because many second homes tend to be smaller, functional wall décor offers a creative solution. Whether you decorate a private hideaway or your primary residence, you’ll save surface and floor space by hanging practical pieces that are easy on the eyes.

For starters, consider wall clocks, which have gone from standard to stylish with distinct designs to suit every taste and budget. Their sizes also have grown to include timekeepers with dramatic faces and features that take on an artistic tone in the home.

There’s no need to stop with one wall clock. You can display multiples that show different time zones or create an arresting array of smaller varieties hung together as a whole like an art installation.

Photography courtesy of The Container Store

Decorative mirrors are another functional find with flair. Like clocks, they make an impact when placed in unison along a wall. Install one or more in the entry for that last-minute check before you dash out the door, or position one above a desk that doubles as a vanity. This can maximize space in a modest cottage, especially in a guest room.

Mirrors also can reflect key pieces like a chandelier and brighten an interior by reflecting natural light. Those made from unique materials, such as seashells or rope along with distinct shapes like sunbursts, further enhance the interior space by adding texture and dimension to the walls.

Other practical pieces can help you stay organized, such as chalkboards and corkboards that highlight everything from dinner menus and grocery lists to family photos and time-sensitive reminders. Wall organizers and magazine racks keep paperwork and reading materials in an easy-to-find place.

Wall shelves can work wonders just about anywhere in the home, whether you choose wood with metal brackets to replace upper cabinets in a kitchen or a simple ledge that saves space in a kid’s room filled with bunk beds in a quintessential cottage.

Photography courtesy of Bed Bath & Beyond

Sconces are another space saver that can flank a bed or light up a reading corner or a library. Classic styles in brass and other timeless materials act as three-dimensional art that is as useful as it is beautiful.

Plate racks and wine racks that are meant to be installed on a wall can have a sculptural effect when filled with your favorite picks that become a focal point when entertaining, which is part of the charm of cottage living.

Some wall art offers multiple features, like a mail sorter that holds keys or a chalkboard with hooks to hang lightweight items like jackets, hats, umbrellas and tote bags. While some tend to be straightforward in appearance, others are more playful, like a moose head with antlers that can hold jewelry and scarves.

That’s the beauty of choosing wall décor that does so much more. The items are bound to become conversation pieces when they’re less predictable and more practical than your average piece of art.

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