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Decorative Home Storage Solutions - Home storage reinvents itself as home decor

Today storage is becoming a central factor in home as consumers increasingly choose to hide their things in plain sight. Don't believe it? Well, ask IKEA.

Pernille Lopez, president of IKEA North America, told DSN Retailing Today recently that, even as IKEA developed a bedroom initiative in recent years, it wasn't the bed or the furniture that was the central consideration, but storage. "IKEA is about total solutions," Lopez said. "When we started with bedroom, the foundation was storage systems."

Storage--including a storage-under-the-mattress bed, in IKEA's case--has become a lifestyle issue. With rooms becoming more functional, and some floor plans eliminating living rooms to make way for home offices, media rooms and other specific-purpose spaces, storage has become important in that each space has its own requirements, identity and look.

"We definitely have been [designing] a lot more of our products to match home decor," said Audrey Robertson, a Container Store spokeswoman. Among the products the company has promoted lately are a plastic elephant hiding a paper shredder and pencil sharper, molded animal cable keepers for organizing all the electronic link-ups, and all-natural Makati wicker bath accessories.

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Retail examples abound. A recent promotion by Crate & Barrel, not principally known for storage despite its name, emphasized storage solutions consistent with the room decor the stores offer. The strength of storage as decor is perhaps best demonstrated by Target's Global Bazaar program, basically a storage/decor program run amok.

Whether the evidence is the Christopher Lowell furniture collection rolling out with matching storage components at OfficeMax or the Lang accessories group that recently debuted based on a Williamsburg collection design, many retailers and vendors recognize that today consumers are interested in storage items that keep things at hand but are pleasant to the eye.

With consumers making more out of space, storage and "storability" have become two sides of the same coin.

Joy Mangano, president of Ingenious Designs, which offers its products on the Home Shopping Network, points to Totally Tables as an example of the flip side of storage. Similar to better wood tray tables, Totally Tables can be linked and configured as card tables, buffet tables or work stations with the ability to break down for easy storage. A set of four is $129.99 on HSN.

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Back on the keeper side, Mangano is getting ready to roll out an accompanying ottoman to her first-ever bedding collection, which launched in September. But it's not just any old taking-up-space ottoman. This is specifically designed to store throw pillows, and solves the bedtime dilemma generated by dressy bedding: Where do you throw the throw pillows when it's actually time to sleep? After all, the lifestyle approach to product development and merchandising is about solution to life's little challenges

DSN Retailing Today, Feb 27, 2006 by Mike Duff


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