There are many different ways that you can use a niche. You can use it to show off your artwork. You can use it to store items that you need to use frequently. Or you can use it as a combination of both decor and function.

When niches first became the hot new trend, everyone went “cool” until they found out a niche isn’t always the easiest thing to decorate. The niche we have found that is the most difficult to decorate is in the front entryway over a closet. This can often be seen from the entry, from the living area and coming down the stairs from a second story. It has to look good from every vantage point. The view that may have to be sacrificed a bit is coming down the stairs. The best items for this area are huge candlesticks, a small-ish cabinet with books and ornaments inside, a small stool draped in fabric with a large overturned vase, good quality silk plants, driftwood, large baskets, antique barrels or butter churns. It is important to get sufficient height in this area. Candlesticks can be made from wooden stair-posts cut in varying heights and painted a vibrant color to command attention.

Most wall niches are not very deep. A large decorative plate on a stand is a good choice, a piece of art will fill the wall space and put something that compliments the art on the flat surface. If you really want to make a niche stand out, choose an accent color from across the room and paint the back of the niche in a deep, rich shade. A floral arrangement or a single stem arrangement in a narrow glass vase is stunning in a niche with or without a light.

If there are sets of, say, three identical high wall niches, then put identical pieces in each one whether it is vases or statues. Don’t worry so much about whether these items match your decor or your colors exactly. These niches are a display all their own and command their own attention. Whatever suits the niche and looks best in the niche, is what you go for.

Does everything have to co-ordinate in a niche? Of course not! But it does have to look good together. Have a look in the basement, in the attic, antique shops, beaches…anywhere. If your dad was a barber back in the day, have scissors or an old razor professionally framed and set up a niche that way. The ideas are endless.

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HAPPY AUGUST 6 BIRTHDAY TO: George Stroumboulopoulos 41, Jon Benet Ramsey (1990-1996), Geri Ginger Spice Halliwell 41, Lucille Ball (1911-1989), Robert Mitchum (1917-1997), Andy Warhhol (1928-1987), Michelle Yeoh 50, Soleil Moon Frye 37, Jeremy Rachford 48, Catherine Hicks 62, Alexander Fleming (1881-1955), and Lord Tennyson (1809-1892).