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Artsy knickknacks from the attic?

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Pick up any home decorating magazine and its pages are filled with beautiful photographs of artfully decorated rooms complete with close-ups of tantalizing vignettes and tableaux made up of unusual and interesting objects.

Yet when you start shopping your favorite haunts and mail-order catalogs, many of these types of accessories are not exactly what you are looking for. So before you purchase anything, scour your home from attic to basement (and don't forget the garage) to look for exciting and wonderful accessories. The only requirements are to have an open mind and a sense of adventure. Let the hunt begin.In the attic:

- Old suitcases, hat boxes, traveling cases, tin boxes and small trunks look great stacked on a tabletop, under a console table or piled next to a sofa or chair.

-Well-loved linens, gloves, articles of clothing, hats, shawls and even a pair of old shoes create instant character when draped over a chair arm, hung on a peg or stacked on an open shelf or in an armoire.

- Old appliances such as mixers, blenders, toasters and other kitchen gadgets add nostalgic appeal when clustered on a kitchen shelf or massed on a countertop.

- An old manual typewriter, a pair of your grandmother's reading glasses, a rusted cracker tin or a well-used tennis racket becomes an instant "objet d'art" when it takes center stage on a desk top, dresser or mantel.

- Old croquet balls placed in a large bowl or basket make a wonderful centerpiece when used on your dining or kitchen table.

In the basement:

- A stack of old books adds instant charm to your desk or coffee table. Try opening one to an interesting illustration or photograph and place a magnifying glass on top.

- Galvanized buckets, your children's tin beach pails, canning jars, empty milk bottles and enameled pitchers and bowls make wonderful vases for your garden's bounty.

- Wooden crates (hopefully with their labels intact) are a perfect catchall for your magazines and books in the den, or as an ingenuous planter for your potted plants.

- Sporting equipment (your dad's golf clubs, your grandfather's favorite fishing pole, your college football, a battered set of croquet equipment or your son's high school lacrosse stick) looks great leaning in a corner of a den or study, or hung on a wall in your guest room.

In the garage:

- Old tools make a graphic statement when hung on a wall in your family room, play room or work room.

- Unused license plates are a whimsical focal point in your child's room.

- Garden utensils and decorations (such as a wheelbarrow, garden urn, a pair of gardening gloves, a battered straw hat, a set of hand garden tools, a watering can, a great figural lawn sprinkler and any number of other garden implements) add personality to a home and can become instant decorative accessories.