You have grand ideas about changing up how your home looks. You go to your local do-it-yourself store and price materials. After you pick your jaw up off the floor, you shelve the project, pardon the pun, and go back to drabness. Fear not! There are many small, creative ways to make your home look great and not put yourself in the poor house at the same time.
Let There Be Light…
Everyone wants more light in the kitchen, but who has multiple grand kicking around for a giant, plate-glass window? There is an answer. All you have to do is decide how big a window you want, have a customized piece of double-pane glass cut to fit that space, and either install it yourself, if you’re handy, or have a contractor install it for you.
To make it look like a “real” window, base it with a measured two-by-four and surround the edges with some appropriately stylish baseboard. The whole thing can be done for far less than $1,000 especially if you do the work yourself. Of course, this won’t be an actual window that you can open, but for one-sixth of the cost, that’s a heck of a trade-off.
Resuscitate Your Window Treatments
There are ways to spruce up both your new window and the old windows in your home. Drop cloths are fairly inexpensive. Go to the fabric store and get some fabric remnants that match your existing decor. Sew them to one end of the drop cloths and hang them at the edges of your window. Good drop cloths are also opaque, so they’ll do for blackout curtains too if you use a collection of clip-on curtain “hooks.”
If you want to get “extra-fancy,” you can create your own expensive looking cornices. cut the corners off the bottom of a refrigerator box, measure the pieces, and cut part of an old dust ruffle or thrift-store purchase to match. Using a staple gun, drape the dust ruffle parts over the cutouts, staple the ruffles to the cutouts, and then fasten to the wall for a nifty, expensive-looking cornice for mere pennies! If you’d rather not use staples on your wall, get some lengths of Velcro for about $10 and use that to attach the cornice to the wall.
DIY Wall Art
Aside from the relatively major hack of creating a “discount window,” you can start with the rest of the walls. If you love art but don’t have the extra cash to get some, frame it, and display it with the proper lighting, then you can just get a few boxes of multicolored pushpins or thumbtacks, and make your own wall art. You can get some bulk canvas and build a couple of sturdy frames very cheaply. Then, create patterns using the tacks and pins. If you want to get extra creative, get some multicolored string and turn your newest creation into a veritable “tacky Etch-a-Sketch.”
If you have kids who have an artistic bent, get a few rolls of different-colored neon masking tape. Have them to town putting it up in any design they want. Color-code the tape to match the newly painted walls in the room. It won’t hurt the paint, so when you get tired of one design, you can rip it off and have a “ready-to-order” new design in an hour or two. While you’re at it, get some plastic, fence-shaped boards and hide all of your wires behind them. This works well if your tape designs wind up having a farm or suburban theme.
Refurb Your Furniture
When it comes to dining room furniture, you want it to match what’s around it. Unfortunately, dining room sets, particularly those of hardwood, are not cheap. And, if you go to the local thrift store, nothing they have like that is going to match. Paint to the rescue! Paint them different colors that match your overall theme and enliven your breakfast nook or dining room. Everyone loves the color.
Who doesn’t love Tiffany lamps? The number is probably equal to the number of people who can’t afford Tiffany lamps. You can fake one easily and cutely, however. Go to the fabric store and buy a boatload of buttons of different colors. Use a lamp with a fabric shade. Using a hot glue gun, attach a few dozen buttons to the shade in a haphazard pattern. The buttons will fairly glow when the lamp is on. Sure it’s not stained glass, but it’s colorful, whimsical, and fun. It can also be done for about $15.
These are but a few of the inexpensive, fun ways with which you can beautify your house, inject a little of your personality into your space, and wow your guests. Once you get started, you are bound to find other things kicking around your basement or attic that you can use in your next home decor hack. Go for it!