March 07, 2013

Image: Saxon Hotel by designer Stephen Falcke. Image © Stephen Falcke Interior Design



You might use a miniature basket to strain your tea. You might throw your laundry into a basket big enough to hide your seven-year-old during a game of hide-and-seek. You might sit and swing in a hanging basket, especially if you have a fondness for retro-60s furniture. However baskets have appeared in your life, you have probably not paid too much attention to them.



The basket has been around for centuries. For each instance where we use cardboard, plastic or other containers, we once used a basket. British basket makers in the 1400s had their own guild. Early settlers in North America found a thriving existing culture of basket makers in the Native Peoples.



Baskets were made from hemp, rushes, maize, sweet grass, tree bark and other plants. They were dyed, painted and woven into abstract patterns. The artist interpreted his world through woven materials. 

A collection of brightly colored woven baskets in various sizes and shapesSouth Image: African coiled basket woven from multicolored telephone wires. ©


One of the joys of a modern basket is that not much has changed over the centuries.



Perhaps that helps to explain the resurgence of the basket in the world of interior design: the evidence of craft, of “the hand” is so clear in each one. They are handmade objects that have the capacity to transcend craft and become art.



Baskets add texture and color to your rooms and, of course, are eminently practical, being an excellent form of storage. That pile of magazines next to the sofa — suddenly a design statement when slid into a woven magazine holder. The toys littering your child’s room — how sophisticated, yet cheerful, when gathered into brightly colored baskets and stored on a bookshelf.



Of course, you could always wear your favorite basket. I love this elegant beach bag from, I am just not certain I would ever take it to the beach, it’s much too beautiful.

Bamboo handbag with black leather details.



Other ideas:


           Fold up bathroom towels and store them in a basket



           Organize your gardening tools into small baskets

           Keep firewood in a basket

            A basket of magazines next to a sofa makes a homey touch

              Drop paper trash into an elegant basket next to your desk

              Gather up the scattered shoes by the back door in a basket

              Stray gloves and hats will stay put in a basket

              Makeup, keys, pens, cutlery, cards—anything that has a tendency to scatter or migrate would benefit from a basket.

              A collection of low-profile baskets makes a beautiful wall decoration

      Store extra pillows and throws in your living room on the nights you need a little extra “cozy” as shown in this basket from

Throw pillows stored in a basket

Baskets work with every style of decorating. Sleek minimalist or bold graphic baskets work in a modern room. Rough-hewn and highly textured baskets work in a traditional room. Add texture, warmth and color to your rooms and, as I point out in a previous post, you might hit that sweet spot that I love so much where you add something fun, frivolous and yet surprisingly practical.



Photo ©



Written by Catherine Holliss



Interior Design Blog Writer,, LLC



Director of Interior Design,Sander Architects LLC.  






Photographs © Catherine Holliss unless otherwise noted. 




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