This Overlooked Spot in Your Home Is Great for Books and Plants

published May 23, 2023
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Round mirror mounted on brick fireplace in open living room with cognac colored leather sofa, wooden dining table with orange aluminum chairs surrounding and media storage with lots of albums.

One of the best parts of having your own place is getting to decorate with your favorite things and displaying all of your beloved books. If you’ve already filled up most of your home with furniture, then you may be feeling like you’re out of space for these kinds of pieces. One New York City-based family came up with a smart way to use their staircase for extra decorative touches like this, though, and spoiler alert: This solution is hidden in plain sight. You might be able to leverage it in your home, too.

Mark and Chelsea Goldwell live in a colorfully decorated three-story brownstone with their baby, Goodwyn, in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. The couple have been renting this apartment for a year and designed every room to be packed with personality and full of artful touches. Because both of the Goldwells are professional creative directors and designers, their home has become a test lab for their ideas. “The spaces we stay and the clothes we wear are things we love using as vehicles of self-expression,” the couple says. 

Mark considers his family’s design style to be bright, bold, tongue-in-cheek, and eclectic. “It’s the harmony of critical thinking and punk attitude with an open-minded, humble, and empathetic counterpoint,” he says in the couple’s house tour. “It’s typical for New Yorkers to have to hack their spaces and use what we have. It’s really dimensional and allows us to do what we need it to.” 

As resourceful New Yorkers then, part of the Goldwells’ creativity lies in their intentional use for every space in their home, especially the ones many others would overlook. To that end, one really smart decision that the Goldwells made is placing a shelving unit with some favorite items on their staircase landing. 

While some people with larger staircases in their homes might hang art or mirrors on the wall there and call it a day, the Goldwells took their stair decor a step further. They placed a wooden, multi-level plant stand on their landing and filled it with books, knickknacks, and potted plants that make them happy. 

“Every object in our home has a memory from when it was discovered along our travels,” Chelsea says. “So I love thinking of our home as an ever-evolving art piece that we’re always tending to and shaping.” This is a great way to add another layer of personalization to your home in an unexpected spot. If this particular type of stand is too big for your landing, you can invest in a different size or style while still executing the same idea. Or just hang a small wall-mounted shelf, if that’s all you have clearance for — the point is just to fill every inch of your home with things you love.