8 Brilliant Accessories That Make Life Better

Looking for a quick decor pick-me-up to start 2017 off right? These eight accessories may not change the world, but they can make your life and your home just a little bit better.

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Terrarium planter

Victorian Home

Can’t keep a plant alive to save your life? A terrarium planter, with a hardy cactus or even hardier air plant (which survives literally on air and mist), will make you feel as though you have a green thumb. It will make your home feel a little livelier as well.

Place one on a desk, in the kitchen or anywhere else you’d like to see a happy splash of stress-free greenery. With proper minimal maintenance, it’s virtually guaranteed to last all year and possibly for many more years to come.

Picture rails

Condo Project

A picture rail lets you change your art display whenever the mood strikes, with no need to hammer a new nail every time you want to move a photo a little to the left or make room for new pieces. Installing picture rails is relatively easy. All you need is a screwdriver and a level.

In a tight foyer or hall, these ledges also can act as a place to set down keys, mail and other small items instead of having to squeeze in a full-depth shelf or console.

Tech-storage boxes

Yorkville Condo

This photo shows some stylish accessories, but perhaps most important is what you don’t see: namely, the remote control. (It’s hidden in the small box on the lower left corner of the table.)

Grab a decorative hinged storage box to keep on your coffee or side table and you’ll have a perfect place to keep your remotes and other technological baubles. You won’t have to go looking for them every time you want to use them, and you won’t have to look at them the rest of the time.

Charging station

Decorá Cabinetry: Prescott Beaded Inset Maple White

Speaking of technology, charging cables are another modern necessity that seem impossible to escape. Outfit your closet, desk or kitchen with a charging station, and you’ll be able to keep your cables out of sight but at hand when you need them. Consider getting a custom drawer unit like this one from a closet company. Or drill a small hole in the back of a cabinet and thread the cables through the opening yourself.

Alternately, you can use butterfly clips from an office supply store to gather a few cables together and clip them to the back of a floating shelf or desk.

Chopping station

Lakewood Traditional Kitchen Remodel

Modern technology isn’t the only thing that can make a mess of your counters. Sometimes it feels as though no matter how much counter space you have, a task like chopping fruit or vegetables can take over the area.

That’s why I love this cutting board idea: Replace a drawer with a rollout chopping board designed with a hole like this one. Position a garbage bin underneath the hole so you can easily slide the mess through the board and into the bin below. The setup creates a chopping and cleanup station that will save you some stress and mess.

Sink grate

Kitchen Remodel

I have one of these in my own kitchen, and I use it so much that I can’t imagine not having one anymore. A fitted grate that fills the bottom of the sink puts a separation between your dishes and the bottom surface, which helps avoid drainage issues and keeps the whole sink a little cleaner.

I also use mine as an out-of-sight drying rack, leaving my coffee cup or bowl to dry when I head to the studio in the morning. I arrive back home to a little less visible clutter on the counter, and that makes me love my kitchen even more.

Leaning mirror

Ravenwoods Drive

Leaning a mirror against a wall (either sitting on the floor or on a table or shelf) avoids hanging a large amount of weight on one point of the wall, which can be much more structurally sound for a heavier piece.

It also makes anything reflected in it look a bit taller and thinner, which can be a flattering way to see yourself—especially after a big meal.

Swing-arm plug-in sconce

Contemporary Condo Kitchen, Two12 North 9th, Brooklyn

Need to add a reading lamp, give some ambience to a dining table or shed a little light on a dark corner? How about all three? A plug-in sconce can do any of these things plus more and all without expensive electrical work.

Many units stay flat against the wall, perfect for adding light in tight spaces. However, an extended swing-arm sconce like this one is a popular option for those who want a light overhead—where you might otherwise see a hanging pendant—but don’t have the needed electrical wiring in the ceiling. They add a splash of architectural flair, and give you a bright outlook—or at least a brighter nook.