Good baskets can work wonders for a messy room.

As versatile containers for things that otherwise wouldn’t have a home, they can control clutter in a hurry and help maintain a sense of order.

“We use them all over,” said Lauren Buxbaum Gordon, who became Nate Berkus’s partner at Nate Berkus Associates, in Chicago, this summer. “People mainly associate baskets with storage for toys, but we use them for towels, accessories, logs for fireplaces, umbrellas.”

Sometimes, she said, the designers at Nate Berkus even use small baskets to elevate the appearance of simple paper towels in a powder room: “Anything to disguise what’s really going on.”

The best baskets are attractive, but don’t call too much attention to themselves.

“We look for something that’s sturdy, the right price and that blends into the interior,” Ms. Buxbaum Gordon said, unless the basket is for a child’s room, where they might choose something more playful. “We usually just like them to be quiet.”

  • Which materials look — and work — the best? “Anything woven out of a natural fiber,” Ms. Buxbaum Gordon said. “We’ve done lots of sea-grass baskets.”

  • How do you arrange baskets in multiples? “I always like an odd number,” she said. “Or to stagger them by using a large one with a small one.”

  • What’s the optimal shape? “Occasionally a rectangular basket will fit better in a space, like under a console,” Ms. Buxbaum Gordon said. “But for the most part, I go for round ones.”

Handwoven grass basket with black stripes from Tanzania

From $68 at Swahili Modern: 541-684-0688 or

Polyester felt basket with brass studs

About $9 at Ikea: 888-888-4532 or

Soft-structure fabric baskets with leather-wrapped handles

From $105 at Thayer Design Studio: (617) 347-7160 or

Galvanized-wire basket with cotton liner

$129 for the basket and $39 for the liner at Rejuvenation: 888-401-1900 or

Rattan baskets handmade in Indonesia

From $175 at the Citizenry: 866-356-4284 or

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