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Styling with everyday objects: Cake Stand

I learned years ago, early on in my decorating career, that one of the most predictable complaints I would hear from women wanting my help in their homes is lack of storage space. If you’re sitting back and saying, ‘Amen to that sister,’ then you’re going to want to take some notes. Now, before you get all ‘Dani’s going to make space where there isn’t any space’ kind of excited, you need to know this – sometimes the truth is that we have TOO MUCH STUFF. Yep. I said it. I ripped off that dirty old band-aid and laid it on you. Now…hold your horses for just a minute and keep reading. It’s an epidemic and one that we, if we’re being really honest, all struggle with. Listen Linda, I’m raising my hand with you. I, too, have too much stuff. So, if you tell me that you lack storage space, maybe instead of getting more space to fit more of your things, you should think about having the amount of stuff that will fit in your limited space. Maybe?

Take this for example:

Years ago when we lived in our first home, my husband and I shared a 1950s double sliding door closet. Are you picturing that? If you need help imagining the amount of space in that one closet, picture your childhood closet. Probably pretty small, right? Right. That was ours…TO SHARE! When we were sharing our tiny home closet we were both full-time working professionals, we liked to work out regularly, we lived in an area where there were definitively four seasons and we also enjoyed going out (or staying in) with friends. Why is this important? Because if you’re doing the math, you’re likely formulating this equation:

4 mini-wardrobes x 2 adults x 1 closet = CRAP! WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH SPACE! But, the truth is - we did. We just got rid of some things until everything fit just so. It was while we lived at this house that I made my own rule – every time I buy a shirt, I get rid of a shirt. If I buy two pairs of pants, I get rid of two pairs of pants. You get the idea. I don’t go out and buy more hangars. Instead, I get rid of something equivalent. What I learned while living in that small space was that things were more likely to be found because I wasn't cramming them into nooks and crannies in order to make them all fit.

Hot tip: If you have to jam your rear end on the closet door just to shut it, you may have a problem.

How does this help you with styling everyday objects? So glad you asked. Every once in a while, our stuff doesn’t fit into the space assigned to it, even though we’ve done all the hard work of pairing down and thinning out, even if we’ve adopted Dani’s Buy Something-Dump Something (donate, really) Rule. Other times, and dare I say the more likely scenario is that it does fit into the space designated for it, but we forget that it's there because it's hidden in cupboards or behind pantry doors. What if we can imagine some of these items in such a way that they become decoration? Useful even? What if? Combining form and function is one of my favorite decorating tricks. So, in this mini series, we’re going to take everyday objects and style them so you can see the hidden potential in items you may already own.

First up, the cake stand.

These have been around for years, but have been made more popular in the recent decade by our beloved Farmhouse Guru, Joanna Gaines. Cake stands started showing up all over the place, and if you were like me…you just HAD to have one, even if you didn't make cakes. Only, hopefully like me, you purchased yours second hand when the first wave of cake stand buyers realized they would never use it and gave it away to be found by people like me. Hopefully. So, get out your cake stand, dust it off and let’s get styling!

Four Ways to Style a Cake Stand:

(to get it out of the cupboard and serve as something pretty to look at while also being functional)

1. Kitchen Caddy

Keeping your supplies tidy, adorable and readily available is the essence of this kitchen caddy. We all need soap, a scrubbie and some dish soap. Add a plant and vary the heights of all the different elements sitting atop the cake stand and you’ve got yourself a very snazzy, yet functional work station. And the best part is…it is so cute that it’s tempting you to get in there and do the dang dishes. Not a bad thing.

2. Mini-Bar (or drink station)

During the summer when sipping Moscow Mules on the back porch is a regular occurrence, creating a station that helps speed up this process is a must. Not into drinky-drinks? Not a biggie. I do the same thing around Christmas time with packets of cocoa, Christmas mugs and a container of marshmallows or cocoa stir sticks. Don’t like chocolate drinks? How about tea? No? How about an Italian Soda station equipped with sparkling water, flavored syrups, cute cups…you get the idea. Be creative. Just remember, styling in a way that looks like you didn't just dump stuff onto a stand requires intention and these four things: height, layers, texture, repetition. Have all of those elements and you’re golden!

3. Coffee Caddy

Similar to the cocoa station, but ready to work hard for guests at a party. When you’re setting a party table scape, be sure to add height to your table. These bits of height (a pedestal bowl, a tray on a wood round, a cake stand or even a covered box) elevate the food and drink options you place on the table. Imagine how much more interesting your table will look with items at varying heights (don’t go crazy now) instead of all on a flat surface. Not sure? Let me tell you. MUCH more interesting!

4. Diffuser Station

What a lovely way to display your room diffuser. Beautiful, functional AND it smells good. A trifecta if I’ve ever seen one. Clears space on your kitchen or bathroom counter, maybe even the sideboard in your dining room or entryway. Cake stands, though originally a kitchen item, don't have to stay in the kitchen.

In all of these examples, your cake stand has been pulled out of detention and put to work. When you see it day-to-day it becomes a lot easier to use it for the reasons you bought it for in the first place. Can you think of all the missed opportunities over the years for using your beloved 'I had to have it because Joanna Gaines makes it look so cute' cake stand? It probably looked something like this: you got a great idea, spent hours on Pinterest getting inspired, made the menu, did the shopping, set the party table, played the games, ate the cake and shut the door on the last guest leaving the party when you thought 'shoot...I should have used my cake stand instead of the janky box that I covered in tinfoil. Oh well, next time.' Having your cake stand out and working hard for you on a daily basis IS your next time. It's also a very handy daily reminder that you have your beloved JG inspired cake stand so you will remember to use it the next time you throw your epic party.

How do you plan on using your adorable 'I just had to have it' cake stand? Can't wait to see!


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