H:W

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Basket case

Basket weaving is a craft of old. For thousands of years, people have been weaving grasses, rushes, vines and branches from their natural habitat into baskets, using them for everything from transporting goods to storing food. And as useful as they ever are, baskets are an effective way to add texture and colour to any room.

“Have nothing in your house which you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful,” William Morris famously said. A lover of nature and of craft, Morris would surely have approved of having baskets around the home. They come in endless shapes and sizes: every basket, from the smallest to the biggest, has a function. And once you start to use them, it’s easy to see how they can slot into your life in so many ways.

Very soon you’ll start to find roles for baskets that you’d never considered. Using them to hold logs by the fireplace is just the beginning; let’s step back from the hearth to the hallway. If you do as the Scandinavians do, and take off your shoes as soon as you come indoors, why not keep a basket in your entryway for storing them? We think it’s a good habit to have, especially in wet weather (of course, we’re not talking about your most treasured shoes here, but rather trainers and boots for walking, and flip-flops and plimsolls for the garden). Our large Somerton console basket in sturdy rattan has been designed to fit under a bench, so you can sit down to change your shoes. Smaller baskets are also useful in hallways for holding things you need to remember on your way out, such as keys and loose change. And a mixture of differently sized baskets can come together to play host to clusters of plants. Line them, fill them, and arrange them in an empty corner for an instant indoor garden.

Medium-sized baskets make stylish alternatives to wastepaper baskets in every room. Spare loo rolls can almost become an attractive feature too when they live inside a tactile wicker basket. If cupboard storage is in short supply, try storing towels in the bathroom in a basket, perhaps rolled up tightly and sat side by side. This tip also works for bedlinen – a hamper-style basket at the bottom of the bed keeps it within easy reach and provides a place to keep throws and extra layers for chillier nights. Or if you have a timber bed frame, use shallow baskets underneath instead, such as our large square Somerton design.

Then there’s the kitchen. In a room where it’s important to stay organised, use rectangular baskets on shelves or dressers to keep cutlery, utensils and crockery separate. You can also use them as storage for inside cabinets to keep like-things together. For tools that you use every day (think potato peelers, fruit knives and kitchen scissors), you might like to keep them next to the cooker in our round Ashcroft pot.

Baskets can be used to hide things, to show them off, or to act as decorative pieces in their own right. Weave as many different ideas into your home as you please: there’s a basket for every one.


Something from stories
This is an article from our latest volume of Stories: Stories for summer.
Order your free copy here.