Can a Fashion Piece Become a Decorating Accessory?

If you love handbags, chances are you’ve collected a few over the years. I don’t have a big collection, but the bags I do have I really love and try to care for them as best I can so they’ll last and look nice for a long time.

Lately I’ve been doing a little reading about the best way to store a handbag when you’re not carrying it. Normally the recommendation is to keep handbags inside a closet away from sunlight and the elements, preferably with something stuffed inside to help the bag maintain its shape. Some folks say to keep them inside their dust bags when they aren’t being used, but others say they need to be out of the dust bag some of the time so they can breathe.

I guess I do a little of both. Usually the bags I’m carrying for the season, I keep inside my closet out of their dust bags so I can readily access them. The ones that aren’t being used for that time of year are tucked away inside their dust bag, stuffed with air paper or a small pillow to help them maintain their shape. Do you have a favorite way to store your handbags when they are not in use?

Recently, I donated a bunch of clothes I no longer needed and moved some things around in my closet. While doing that I came across a favorite tote that I love to use whenever I travel via car to see friends or family.

As I was eyeing the tote, two thoughts crossed my mind: 1. How sad it was to keep it tucked away because I love it and enjoy seeing it and 2. Wow! It sort of matches my bedding in my guest room. That made me laugh a little, the thought that it actually coordinated with the decor in my guest room. I guess we tend to gravitate to what we love, no matter if it’s fashion or decor.

I took the tote to my guest room and placed it on the ottoman in that room. Yup, it really did look like the Ralph Lauren “Porcelain” bedding I had bought for this room so many years ago. (Pssst: This bedding appears to be available here: Ralph Lauren Bedding and Ralph Lauren is making a similar bedding now here: Ralph Lauren Blue & White Bedding.



I found myself wanting to leave the tote right where it was. It looked so cute sitting on the ottoman, as if a guest had just arrived and dropped off her tote right there. It added so much to the room, really made it feel cozy, a place to relax and enjoy.



Then it hit me, why tuck this bag back away in a closet when it makes me happy seeing it here. The door to the guest room is almost always open, so I see this room often as I pass by on the way in and out of my office during the day. The tote isn’t in direct sunlight and it’s made out of a sturdy, coated-type material, so why not enjoy this bag every day, even if I’m not using it at that very moment. If anything, having  it out where I’ll see it more often, may encourage me to use it more.



This may be the oddest decorating tip I’ve ever suggested, but if you have a beautiful bag or tote that you keep tucked away in a closet, unless it’s a very expensive bag or made from a delicate fabric or material, you may want to pull it out and place it where you can see and enjoy it every day. Of course, you wouldn’t want to place it where the sun would fade it or a mischievous pet could damage it. But some bags are almost like little works of art, so why hide them away.



Do you have a pretty bag or tote that you keep out to enjoy even when you’re not actively using it at the moment?



Update: Just noticed that though this tote has been discontinued, there’s one still available here: Blue Delft Bag. I love this one, too: Blue Delft Satchel.

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  1. Beautiful bag! I love the blue and white colour combination! My emerald green bag has a permanent resting spot on a chair in our foyer! I love the colour so much it inspired the window treatment colour choice in the space. I believe fashion can inspire home decor and we should look to our closets to find inspiration when decorating! πŸ˜‰

  2. Patti Hepburn says

    Hi, my name is Patti Hepburn and I am interested in finding out a bit more about the tour company Back-Roads Touring you mentioned the other day in your blog.

    Have contacted them for further info, but curious how you may have happened to find them.

    Considering the tour for June 7th (Corners of Cornwall) as an extension of a Princess cruise
    that will have me in London June 7th. Any information you care to share would be wonderful.

    The small tours sound delightful. Actually would love to put a group together to do some antiquing. Have attended the Newark
    International Antique and Collectors Fair twice and it is really a must see. A true treasure trove. You would certainly find many treasures to highlight on your blog. Probably too many Have a lovely weekend.

    • No, I’ve found it difficult to talk with them since our time zones are so different. So far, I’ve only talked with them once. They referred me to Liberty Travel for help in booking a trip. I think they are out of Boston. I haven’t looked much further into it yet since it would probably be next June before I could go. I would love to see Corners of Cornwall, though!

  3. Here WE go again…honestly…I do that!! I have this “really cute” cap and I place it next to the BOSE…it even matches…and…I LIKE IT!! My “cute” purse hangs from a chair and coordinates with the chair cushion…it’s a sickness… πŸ™‚ franki

  4. eowana jordan says

    yes yes yes.. handbags should be out and shown.. they are works of art!

  5. It goes nicely with your room. Why not use it to hold items useful for your guests? You could put in favorite books, travel guides, snacks or pretty tin canisters to hold homemade treats when guests actually arrive, anything non- perishable that guests would enjoy. Then it would look like it also served a purpose, not just placed there.

  6. I am with you Susan; if there is something you enjoy seeing and having nearby then go for it. I have an old brass coat rack in my dressing room on which I have hung my handbags and hats and really think it is classy as well as practical. Also I can just at a glance choose my accessories quickly and easily. It is pleasing to the eye as well as a reminder that I do NOT need anymore hats or handbags. I have only one head and one hand/shoulder to tote/wear either one at a time.
    As for a favorite tote, I keep a really pretty floral cloth ( it would remind you
    of Laura Ashley prints) with leather handles I keep knitting materials in on
    an ottoman in my Great Room. I can easily pick up my knitting when in the
    mood besides impressing all visitors with the false idea that I am so good with the needles. I also keep a hand-knitted throw in a nearby chair that
    gives off the same vibes albeit also false impression of my craftiness. Aren’t we the clever ones!

    • That’s sounds so pretty, Alyce! I know, these days if I buy a new handbag, I donate or give away one.
      lol I bet you are a great crafter/knitter!

  7. That purse looks gorgeous in that room! You could roll up some pretty towels and put some lotions or what have you. It’s an idea…it looks great just as it is too!

  8. If something makes you smile just by looking at it definitely keep it out in plain view. I love it when I have wrapped a gift and it is sitting waiting for the day I take it to the person to receive it. Makes me smile.

  9. Creative, classy, even potentially useful–best storage tip ever!

  10. Cynthia Lambert says

    Love the room, and the bag. But every time I see that room I want to straighten out that bed πŸ™‚ Putting beds catty-cornered doesn’t really work most of the time. Why not place it the normal way?

    • Well, two reasons: the furniture wouldn’t fit in there as well and leave as much room to walk around and I really like it on an angle. To me, it looks much better on an angle, I’ve never liked staring at the side of a bed when entering into a bedroom. I just find this much more pleasing to the eye.

  11. Nancy Elizabeth says

    Susan, I have never seen an iron bed that is as pretty and detailed as yours. I love all of the patterns and textures going on in your room. The bag is a perfect accessory to your room sitting on its own little seat! Your bedroom is Bella. I have a bare wall at the bottom of my bed and also noticed the detailed shelf in your bedroom. I would like to try this on my wall and add more pretty things to my bedroom. Where could I search for a source?

    • Thanks so much, Nancy! I found that bed in a local antique shop after my son made off with my guest bed, taking it off to college with him. πŸ™‚

      Ummm, it’s been so long since I purchased that shelf, I’m having trouble remembering now where I purchased it. I bought it and the wall shelf in the upstairs family room at the same time and that was about 15 years ago. I do remember feeling like I paid too much, wall shelves were sort of the “new” thing back then. I really wanted them, though so I bit the bullet and bought them. Can’t remember now where I purchased them, but if I had to guess, it was probably Ballard Designs or Tuesday Morning.

      I just noticed that Target has some that are similar here:\
      And here’s one on Amazon:

  12. Nancy Elizabeth says

    I love the bed on an angle, it not only adds interest but you have a better view of your pretty bed linens. Your ideas are inspiring.

  13. Susan, I usually have a handbag on display in a guest bedroom because they are works of art and why not enjoy them! Your tote looks great in your guest bedroom…just perfect! Pam @ Everyday Living

  14. I think every time I visited my aunt she had her bed in a different location. My favorite was when it was on an angle . It makes the room more interesting.

  15. I use fashion pieces to accessorize, all the time. I visit Good Will, weekly, and always look through their scarves. I’ve found many that work as runners, or to drape over a chair for color. I love your tip about using nice totes. I have some that I really like, that I’ll be bringing out, now. Yours is lovely, and I’ve always loved your guest room bedding, and that desk….so pretty!

  16. Sorry … but my first glance at your email was that I thought you wrote “Fashion Police” … and here goes my 79th year!

  17. Beautiful handbag!

    I don’t know if I could let this bag sit in the guest room. I would want to carry it all the time! The pattern is really pretty. It’s great you have several handbags from which to choose.

    Thank you for the links to the bedding and handbags. They’re always fun to check.

  18. I love that idea and have always had a tote in each of the guest rooms that coordinate with that particular decor. In the “ocean” room, I placed a beautiful seaworthy tote printed with shells, seahorses and coral. The “safari” room has a gorgeous giraffe tote and in the “bird” room an adorable tote covered with birds. I absolutely love your guest room and have always loved that Ralph Lauren Porcelain Pattern. Perhaps the master bedroom is due for an update πŸ™‚
    Thanks for all your great tips and inspiration!

    • What a great idea, Gina! Love that! I purchased a giraffe bag right before I went to Africa and it’s still one of my favorite bags! I think I’ll pull it out and use it some this fall. πŸ™‚

  19. Hi Susan

    My daughter has her late gramma’s tall curio cabinet which has glass shelves and lighting. She displays her favorite shoes and purses along with some crystal perfume bottles in it . It’s in a spare room she uses as her dressing room and when the lights are on in the cabinet her favorite items look gorgeous!

    • Jan, that sounds so pretty, such a great idea to display them where she can see her collection and enjoy it every day! You know, I was just thinking, IKEA has some inexpensive shelving that comes with glass doors. That would be a great way to display special shoes or a handbag collection and keep it dust free.

  20. In all honesty Susan, I am more a shoe-hound (blaming it on the four distinct seasons we have … ) than a hand bag one so am able to store them in closets however while just surfing the internet looking for ways to store footwear I came across a site that you or your readers may be interested in re storage of clutch bags or similar. Search: Polished Habitat DIY Purse Organizer (acrylic clutch holder tutorial). Love your tote and agree it goes beautifully with your guest bedroom. -Brenda-
    P.S.: I agree with ‘Theresa” that the bed on the angle adds more interest and will add; by doing so IMO gives it center stage … making it the star of the space!

    • Oh, will have to check that out…thanks for sharing that site, Brenda! Shoes are a bit of weakness for me, too–so I totally understand. πŸ™‚

  21. So true… sometimes we think outside our comfort zone, right? LoL*

    I love my bags both authentic and original signature bags.

    I use to use the authentic as our plaid baskets and hang on the back of the chairs or just in the floor beside our couch. The small ones are use as our plastic bags pouch or pantylines pouch.

    Funny thoughts.

    Thank you for the inspirations.

  22. bobbi duncan says

    I’m all about things in our home that make me smile–that’s what a home should do. I do a lot of stopping to peek in a room, just because elements make me feel good or evoke a wonderful memory. Find happiness where and when you can. Love the tote! Hugs!

  23. Hi…just thought I’d jump in on the bed discussion. My first thought when viewing the room from the camera angle you show is that it needs an anchor-like a small carpet rug laid half-way up under the bed and a couple feet showing out all around the bed…even enough to extend under the foot stool.
    Addressing the lovely bag…for what that bag cost, I would remove it for guests (they might think the bag AND the goodies were all theirs)! Set down a lovely tray from Pier I or Home Goods and add mags, drinks, water carafe, ice bucket, glasses, dish of nuts w/lid, candy for season…and so on. But if small children show up, then tray goes up on desk by windows and a wrapped present sits there with little ones name on it…something for the big and the little, ha,ha!

    • Hi Nonni, I used to have a rug in that room a long time ago. I just added hardwood flooring to that room a couple of months ago so right now I’m still wallowing in the joy of seeing the wood flooring in that room. So glad to be rid of the carpet! πŸ™‚

      Also, I had a rug “trauma” recently that I haven’t quite gotten over. Check out this post to see what I mean.

      So rugs make me a tad nervous these days. πŸ˜‰

      Yeah, I was thinking the same thing, a guest might just think that was a super nice welcoming gift. lol Love your idea about the tray! I have a friend who is coming to stay for a week at the end of this month and I know she would enjoy something like that! πŸ™‚

  24. this is actually the final test with http running on 80, not varnish

  25. Vicki Entze says

    Hi Susan, I love your blue and white guest room. My colors are blue and white but have gradually been adding red to my color scheme. My question is where you found the blue plaid chair and ottoman? I am looking for a comfortable chair to replace my blue recliner. While it isn’t pretty it is very comfortable, but is starting to fall apart. I enjoy your blog very much, just wish I had found you sooner.

    • Thanks so much, Vicki! I found that blue check chair about 15 years ago, in an antique shop in Hapeville, Georiga, which is just south of Atlanta. Unfortunately, the shop went out of business a long time ago. I can’t remember the name of the place now, it’s been too long. They only opened one weekend a month and people would line up outside to get in. They mostly carried antiques, but they had one large back room where they stocked some new furniture. That was where I found the chair and matching ottoman. It was a just lucky find and I took a chance that it would go with my bedroom. Since it was all sales final, I was really happy to see it worked. I hope you are able to find a good replacement. I know how hard that can be sometimes.

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