8 Game-Changing Uses for Baskets

Baskets are beloved for good reason. They come in tons of fun materials, like jute, wicker, wire and more. Since most basket materials are easy to dye, you can find them in colors ranging from muted neutrals for your subtly sophisticated bedroom to exciting neons that add whimsy to a bathroom or living area. Baskets carry a lot of cultural significance for different people around the world, too. If you're a traveler, you know this is a go-to souvenir for your collection. Plus, they're just plain functional. Let us at west elm share our ultimate list of game-changing ways to use baskets with you, so you can keep collecting, decorating and enhancing your home.

1. Pillows and Blankets

You already know that baskets make great storage for extra bedding, but try a big, new look in your bedroom or guest room. Instead of using your baskets to create a tidy appearance - the way you might normally use your basket as a replacement for a shelf or a drawer - embrace the coziness of bedding and let the blankets overflow. The top edge of the basket is not the limit here. Make sure bedding is clean and fluffy so it doesn't look like a hamper gone awry. Then, let knife-edge pillows poke out from atop a cloud of comforters. Let tassel-edge blankets hang over the sides. It's a little messy and a lot more fun.

2. Plant Holders

Plants are wonderful for air quality in your home, but planters full of soil aren't always the prettiest. Although ceramic pots are beautiful, they can be heavy and are easy to chip or crack, depending on your floor and how active everyone is in your household. Your design rescue in these situations is a big, wide basket. Go for a floppy style to mirror the organic shape of your houseplants or try something more structured for a sophisticated foil.

3. Tables

Have an old wire basket you love? Flip it upside down and add a beautiful piece of wood to the top - which was formerly the bottom. This is a creative use for baskets when you're out of ways to use baskets for their original purpose. That being said, you can create a unique look by using the wire basket the same way top designers use birdcages or wire globes. Place statues, plants, displays of books, a large crystal or other meaningful trinkets on the floor inside the basket-turned-table-base.

4. Firewood Storage

Baskets make excellent firewood storage. In fact, gathering and carrying wood was one of the original uses of baskets, so you're staying true to your basket's roots. You're changing the game in a modern context, though, because now almost everyone uses wide, curved metal trays with handles. If you prefer a sisal or jute basket, just use it for decorative storage and carry the wood inside in its net bag or another container. The final look is natural, organic and interesting.

5. Junk Drawers

It can be so hard to figure out if that junk drawer needs to stay or go. Solve the conundrum with a cute set of baskets. Look for ones that have lids, so that you're still hiding clutter. Clear out space in areas where storage has premium value, like your kitchen or office desk drawers. You can assign a basket to each member of your family, too, so that everyone knows their stuff matters and everyone can find those little accessories or household items they need when they need them.

6. Guest Room

When friends or family stay at your place, you want them to feel comfortable and at home. They might not be sure if they can unpack all of their things into your drawers or closets, even if you tell them to go for it. Place a few baskets at the end of the bed instead of the traditional chest. They won't have to think "should I" or "shouldn't I" about opening drawers or lids. Their stuff is still easy for them to find - and you can keep the dressers for storage without cleaning them out every time you have a visitor.

7. Backpacks or Bags

How many families have that one corner? The one where bags and coats sort of . . . end up? Embrace the fact that everyone is happy to be home and use your baskets to stop sweating the small stuff. A tall, wide one is a fun spot to sling backpacks after school. If coats end up on top of it, it's no big deal. Your home's entrance should be a cozy, welcoming place and now it can be without worrying about a mess.

8. Wall-Mounted

Baskets can be purely decorative, too. The styles that look like big discs make an amazing, custom collage on your walls when you hang them in a cluster like you would with picture frames. This is a creative way to display a gorgeous collection. Your friends are probably used to seeing art on walls, but now everyone who enters your home knows baskets can be art, too. If you insist on all your baskets being functional, you can still hang them high. Try using a set of wire baskets mounted on the wall for magazines or mail.

Make the most of your admiration for baskets. You have endless possibilities for storage and decorating when you think outside the box - or, in this case - basket. What's not to love?