A refreshing wall hue (like a blue or green) can make your home feel brand new, but it doesn’t take gallons of paint to spruce up the place. If you have a half-empty can or paint samples, you can still make colorful crafts designed to elevate the mood in just about every room. Check out these clever ways to make the most of your last painting project’s leftovers.
Photo: Alison Gootee
If you have paint samples or pints: Dress up a dresser
If you only have a small stash of paint, this idea from HGTV Magazine is for you. Just take the color you have (like this cool blue) and mix it with a bit of white paint for an eye-catching ombre effect on an old dresser.
MORE CRAFTY WAYS TO REFRESH WITH PAINT
You might not have giant wooden spools hanging around the house, but I found so many ingenious ways to upcycle them into furniture that I had to share. If you’re inspired by these projects, ask your local home improvement store if they’d be willing to give you a used spool for free. Still coming up empty-handed? Big spools are often used to hold heavy-duty wiring, so check out your local electric and cable companies. (I think nearly-free furniture is worth a little legwork, don’t you?)
Design: Randy Weinstein
Believe it or not, this wooden spool was salvaged from a junkyard. If you’re going for an industrial modern vibe, copy designer Randy Weinstein and top a spool with stainless steel for a DIY table. Eames chairs complete the look.
MORE SPOOL FURNITURE IDEAS
Antler decor makes any place feel a little more like home to me. (What can I say? I’m originally from Pennsylvania and my dad’s side of the family counts a long line of hunters and outdoorsmen.) If you live near a wooded area where deer, moose or elk roam, you can find shed antlers in the winter through the early spring. Urban dwellers, you may be able to pick them up at flea markets or online. But whether you spot a single “shed” or a few matched pairs, there are so many interesting ways to accent your home with antlers, as you can see below. (Not feeling real antlers? Go faux, like Erin Loechner did in her laundry room.)
We’ve basically exhausted the crafting possibilities around wine (see: corks, bottles, glasses, crates AND barrels), but this ingenious antler wine rack from Meg Caswell is a cool way to store and display your wine before you’re ready to sip it/craft with it.
UNUSUAL BUT ATTRACTIVE IDEAS FOR ANTLERS
Previously on Designer MacGyver…we’ve covered wrapping paper and newspaper, but surprisingly, wallpaper hasn’t made the list. I say “surprisingly” because I am a wallpaper fanatic and my bio won’t let you forget it. I don’t actually own the apartment I live in now, so I’ve had to resort to more temporary solutions there. Rest assured that once I own, I’ll be armed (with as many rolls as I can afford) and dangerous (with these genius uses for wallpaper other than on walls, obvs).
Sherry and John Petersik, excerpted from Young House Love (Artisan Books), copyright 2012
This idea from Sherry and John Petersik of Young House Love is perfect for putting wallpaper samples to work. A thrift-store dresser makes a statement when it’s covered in a big, bold pattern. Get the DIY details here.
MORE WAYS TO DRESS UP YOUR HOME WITH WALLPAPER
I don’t know about you, but the first thing I tackle when I start spring cleaning is my closet. There’s something so satisfying about pulling my lightweight dresses out of storage (yay!) and clearing away pieces I just don’t find myself wearing anymore. I have a bag of old garments to donate, but this time around there were also a few neglected hats and hat boxes in the mix. If you’re in the same boat, check out these chic ideas for reviving old chapeaus and their containers.
Hats off to Nancy Ondra for this genius container garden idea. Old hats feel fresh when you upcycle them into hanging pot covers. Let leaves poke out of a baseball cap’s sizing tab or cut the top of a hat and feed stems through the hole.
MORE FASHIONABLE IDEAS FOR OLD HATS
I think the old saying that “when one door closes, another opens” is absolutely true. For example, when you’ve finished using a door as an entry or exit, a whole new world of decorating possibilities opens up before you! Check out our fave upcycled furniture ideas for old doors and get ready to fancy up your home with these former barriers.
If you liked the rustic appeal of the shutter headboards I featured last week, I’m thinking you’ll love this old door headboard from Dreamy Whites. Weathered wood + a chandelier = a bedroom combo with great high/low contrast.
MORE DECORATING WITH OLD DOORS
Shutters keep prying eyes out of your home, but if you want all eyes on your decor, shutters can come in handy there, too. Old shutters are a surprisingly versatile craft material and you can repurpose them without much effort. These crafts are just a few ways you can turn old shutters into something unexpected and chic.
If you like a headboard with height, Layla Palmer’s clever use of old shutter doors here should appeal to you. The coastal cottage vibe is perfect for quaint country havens and sunny beach houses alike. Find all the DIY instructions here.
MORE CHIC OLD SHUTTER CRAFTS
When I say in my blog bio that I’m a “mid-century modern magpie,” it’s not just an excuse to get alliterative. Like the bird of the same name, I too hoard small shiny objects. Jewelry is a particular problem for me, and no matter how many boxes or trinket dishes I fill, I’m compelled to collect more baubles. Now that I’m in spring cleaning mode, I’m trying to get organized and part with the pieces I rarely wear, but what can I say? I’m sentimental. This Pinterest pin inspired me to start thinking of old jewelry in a new light and I found even more amazing craft ideas to turn my paste into priceless decor. Now I can keep it all! [insert evil supervillain laugh here]
Old jewelry is a perfect way to get creative with curtains. Use a beaded necklace as an eye-catching tieback that won’t break the bank, like designer Brian Patrick Flynn did here. (Bonus: It picks up the colors in the wallpaper, too.)
Don’t have a beaded necklace you can spare? Thick bracelets or men’s cuffs also work well in this context. Cinching your curtains is a cinch with old jewelry!
MORE BRILLIANT OLD JEWELRY CRAFTS
We’ve covered crafts you can make with wine corks, bottles, glasses and crates…what could possibly be left? This great post on Made + Remade reminded me: Wine barrels! Small scotch barrels make for attractive shelving and storage, but you’ve gotta think bigger for wine barrels. Take a look at some of our best ideas and if you’re inspired, hit up your local winery or hardware store’s garden center to claim your vessel.
This wine barrel fountain‘s got a clever twist: the water flows out of the wine bottle on top! This would make a charming water feature for any oenophile’s garden. Get all the how-to details here.
MORE IDEAS FOR WINE BARRELS
Although you can never go wrong with a delicious home-cooked spread, trays are for more than just breakfast in bed. If you’ve got some wooden or metal trays taking up space in your cabinets, bust them out and give them new life with these pretty craft ideas.
A tray can add a little glitz to your vanity…and keep your cosmetics, candles and jewelry elegantly organized. Try this tutorial from Maureen Stevens for an Art Deco tray upgrade that has loads of Gatsby glamor.
MORE TERRIFIC IDEAS FOR TRAYS