Gone are the days of buying a matching suite of furniture at one time. “For a great expression of personal style,” advises Jessica, “explore creative alternatives to incorporate ordinary pieces in unexpected ways.” In the kitchen, for example, Jessica uses two bookcases as a freestanding pantry. “Just because it’s a bookcase doesn’t mean it has to be used in an office,” she says.
Other ideas: A dining table can make a great desk. Small dressers, which offer plenty of storage, can be end or bedside tables. Armoires are the most functional of all. Use one as a closet in the bedroom, an entertainment center in the family room, a bar or china cabinet in the dining room, and even a computer center in the office.
Don’t turn it down: You never know how you might be able to give new life to an old or passed-down piece. Jessica almost declined an unattractive, secondhand dining table. But after covering the structurally sound piece with a new, funky tablecloth, it pulls the whole dining room together.