Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Creative DIY Home Accessories

For those of you who think that decorating your home means driving to an expensive gallery to purchase items while running up your credit card bill, I have a bit of good news: it is possible to give your home a fresh look by making home decor accessories yourself. You don't even have to buy materials, as there is always a DIY project that can be made from the items that already in the house. Each one can be used in a variety of ways. Knick-knacks and even old clothing can be re-purposed into exciting new decor items, in some cases with very little effort. What follows is a few unique ways to add a new piece to your home with existing materials, time, and a little elbow grease. You can even get your kids involved if they're at the right age!

The first project involves transferring photos onto pieces of wood as if it was a frame. This will look great in any room in the home, but can be especially showy in the living or family rooms where everyone can see your creativity on full display. The best part is that with a little paint or wood polish, these pieces can complement any existing furniture like this Homelegance cocktail table. Once you've selected a photo, use a photo editing program to reverse the image so that it comes out the right way on the wood and scale it to fit the dimensions of the wood.  This is much easier than cutting the wood down to the size of the picture! Print it out at 300 DPI. After printing, use a brush to spread a thin layer of gel medium on the image and lay the image down flat with the picture-side down. Smooth out any bubbles, and let dry for at least 8 hours. Set a wet cloth on top of the wood and photo, and press down for a few minutes. When the paper is thoroughly soaked, use either fingers or the wet towel to carefully rub off the paper fibers to expose the photo. Let the piece dry overnight, and then cover in mod podge to preserve the image before hanging the image.  If you're more of a visual learner like me, you may find this video very helpful.

For the next idea, we focus on old board games. Many people have them in their homes, and they are perfect for crafts. One interesting idea for a rec room or a child's room is to take board games and frame them.  They certainly make a very unique statement in any room.  Another idea is to take old game pieces and build something with them.  Off the top of my head, how about coasters made of Scrabble tiles? Each game comes with 100 tiles, and since only 20 are needed per 4x4 coaster, an old set with missing pieces can make 4!  You can even make the coasters spell some fun words that capture some aspect of the room, your home, or your personality. With some glue and a felt or corkboard backing, these coasters will be a conversation piece in any room of the home. Plus, if you own a black and white table like this
 Modloft side table, they will make an awesome contrast! 

Finally, for the kitchen, how about using some spare change to personalize chairs for each member of the family with their initial or just for fun words on the walls? Obviously, for newer chairs, you're probably best waiting until their freshness fades before taking such action, but it can make older furniture really pop.  Simply get the desired letters, a bunch of shiny spare change, (pennies work best and cheapest :-D) and start gluing. The shine of the metal will give the letters a unique look.  Just be very careful with how you stick them on.  You don't want a misshapen letter giving your house a black eye for the foreseeable future!

I hope you liked these ideas.  If you have others, I'd love to hear them.  Let me know in the comments of any that you've seen or tried so we can all benefit from your experience.

Allison Cooper works for www.beyondstores.com, a leading online retailer of brand name furniture at discount prices.  When not at work, Allison takes care of her family of 4, and enjoys watching Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.


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