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Have you ever wondered who created the very first sofa? Or what Victorians brought home from vacations as souvenirs?  Design*Sponge managing editor and self-described bibliophile Amy Azzarito tackles the history behind household objects (everything from curtains to chandeliers to cast iron) and how those stories intersect with modern life in her Past and Present column.

Amy’s new book by the same name is full of dinner party-worthy facts — things you might not know now, but will be glad you learned. For example, sofas and armchairs just didn’t exist until the early 18th century,  when Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour began to popularize private spaces made for comfort, not just display. Watching a movie just wouldn’t be the same curled up on a straight-backed wooden chair, right?

Past and Present Book Review on HGTV's Design Happens

Part history lesson and part DIY manual, she pairs 24 essays about interesting moments in decorative arts history with thoroughly modern projects developed alongside design trendsetters like Todd Oldham, David Stark and ConfettiSystem.

I especially love this black-and-white headboard project designed by Eddie Ross: It’s inspired by the iconic jasperware pottery created by Josiah Wedgwood, which features white relief designs on a matte black surface. This modern version is made from a hollow-core door, white PVC trim and decorative moldings.

Black and White DIY Headboard - HGTV's Design Happens

I chatted with Amy about the collaborations and her personal style. Plus, try one of the book’s DIY projects!


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Despite my black thumb, I think having a garden would be fun purely for all the bird watching potential. My grandmother’s bird bath must have been a hip destination for local birds, because there always seemed to be a “pool party” going on in there. If you’re the industrious sort, we have a fab DIY bird bath tutorial on our site (made from a salvaged sink!), but the only problem for me is that it requires a tree. Not so with these cute teacup bird feeders/bird baths I found on Something Wonderful.

diy bird bath

They’re dainty and a perfect reuse of chipped or mismatched tea sets. Plus, you can stake them right into the ground, no trees necessary! (A boon for us city or small-space dwellers — even with a “backyard,” trees can be hard to come by.)

[Via: Pinterest]

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Christmas decorating is in full swing here, and we can’t stop hanging garland in every corner of our home. Perhaps it’s because we love this season so much, but I think it also has to do with the fact that last year? Last year we only had a ladder to decorate, as our renovation home was hardly liveable.

Needless to say, our first Christmas in our newly renovated home will be a memorable one indeed. And just to kick the season off right, we’re popping in to share a super holiday DIY (holi-DIY?) we just finished moments ago!

Christmas DIY- Erin Loechner

Our plywood stockings!

After searching high and low for our dream stockings, we couldn’t find anything that quite reflected the Scandinavian aesthetic we love so much. So, of course, we put on our designer hats and created something ourselves. Introducing: our plywood stockings!

Christmas DIY- Erin Loechner

So festive, yes?

The project was super fun to create and we’re thrilled with how the plywood warms up our white mantle. Even better? The boxes on each stocking are magnetic, so you can easily remove them to stuff goodies inside, or this could be an excellent advent calendar for a daily treat! Want to give it a go in your own home? Instructions below:

Christmas DIY- Erin Loechner

Complete with removable boxes for Christmas surprises!

1. Create a template for your stocking out of cardboard. I like long, skinny stockings, but get creative here! Next, trace the cardboard template onto plywood and cut each stocking with a jig saw.

Christmas DIY- Erin Loechner

Our cardboard template

2. To create the removable magnetic box, use a rotary tool to cut out a space for a super-strength rare earth magnet (this is key, as the magnet will need to be very, very durable) on both the stocking and box.

Christmas DIY- Erin Loechner

Time to hide those magnets!

3. Use a super-strength glue (I love Gorilla Glue) to adhere the magnet into the space you’ve carved out of the stocking and box. Use sparingly, as this glue expands. Let dry overnight.

Christmas DIY- Erin Loechner

Super magnet action over here!

4. Finally, center and secure the L bracket to your plywood stocking for hanging. We pilot drilled with just one screw so the stocking can hang at a natural angle.

Christmas DIY- Erin Loechner

One screw does the trick.

5. Admire, and fill that box with something special for your loved ones!

Christmas DIY- Erin Loechner

The big reveal, waiting for their boxes until Christmas Eve!

What do you think, friends? Are you up for giving it a go? And how sweet would it be to wood-burn your family’s initials on each stocking box? Go forth and craft away!

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Last week, we headed to the hardware store to pick up some supplies for our massive sunroom makeover and found ourselves in the plumbing aisle, inspired by this recent DIY we spotted right here on We’ve been spending so much time working on huge projects with even huger deadlines, crafting something small and fun seemed like a perfect evening activity to take our minds off the gigantic sunroom renovation.

Industrial Pipe Candelabra DIY- Erin Loechner

Our latest DIY project.

Bonus? Halloween was right around the corner and we’re always up for a bit of creepy chic in our home.

I don’t have a DIY to share because the process is completely self explanatory: choose your favorite pipes and build away! Yes, just like Lego’s. Who says kids get to have all the fun?

Industrial Pipe Candelabra DIY- Erin Loechner

Creepy chic indeed!

If you’re DIY shy and need some templates to work from, here are a few fantastic options from around the web!:
1. Nick Fraser’s pipework series is by far my favorite, but requires a powder coating process. Perhaps spray paint would do the trick?
2. This plumbing pipe candelabra makes for a unique holiday decoration, yes? I love the look!
3. And finally, a DIY candelabra video for those of you who really play by the rules.

Happy crafting, friends! I’ll be checking in next Wednesday to share another chic lighting surprise – this time in our master bedroom! See you then!

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My favorite fall clothing accessories are scarves in every pattern and color. So, instead of breaking the bank on another scarf that will inevitably get snagged by my rings, cats, purse zipper (the list goes on), I’ve decided this knit-less scarf project is the perfect autumn craft for me. And guess what? It’s insanely simple and requires zero knitting knowledge. The only tools you’ll need to whip up this scarf are scissors, a cutting blade, a needle and thread. Talk about easy as pumpkin pie.

hgtv project of the week how to handmade scarf knit crochet design blog

When you pull out your cold-weather clothes from last year, remember that this scarf project is perfect for turning outdated, torn, stained, stretched and despised sweaters into something fabulous. That sweater that hit the 12-year mark two years ago, you know, the one your significant other teases you for holding on to…it may be the perfect accent hue in your “brand new” recycled scarf. If you plan on scouring thrift stores for the perfect color combinations, then look for sweaters that are 100% acrylic or acrylic blend instead of cotton. Cotton is more likely to unravel.

So, how much do you love this project already? Go to to see a full list of materials and detailed step-by-step instructions to create your own knit-less scarf. (If you prefer to knit, check out this free knitting pattern from the blog Ewe Ewe Yarns.)

With the feel of fall in the air, have you already started knitting, crocheting or upcycling sweater scarves?

Tell us in the comments below.

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It’s back to school time, and HGTV is here to help you create that “big kid” desk just in time for the new school year. This custom, kid-sized desk, created by feature blogger/designer Brian Patrick Flynn, is easy to put together by using plywood and stair posts to create the frame. We’re thinking the more vibrant and colorful you paint it, the less they’ll complain about homework time (maybe). Plus, to keep the kiddos (and you) even more organized when schedules, report cards and forms start flying in the door, create this simple, playful clip-art rail.


Head over to for a complete materials list and detailed step-by-step instructions to create both the stair post kids’ desk and clip-art rails. Then, come back and share your completed (or in-process) projects with us in the comments below.

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So, today is moving day for me! Well, lease-signing day. And that means I have brand new bare windows and walls…a blank slate to go design crazy. No matter what design I choose for my new abode, draperies/shades are something I absolutely cannot live without and must go up — fast. (There’s nothing worse than waking up to a blinding ray of sunlight in your face or introducing yourself to neighbors in a way you never intended.) What I love about roller shades is that you can pair them with floor-to-ceiling draperies for a dramatic and sophisticated look or let them shine on their own. So if you’re looking for some budget-friendly, easy-to-make window treatments, check out this roller shade embellishment project. (You won’t believe how easy it is! No sewing involved.)


This teenage girls’ bedroom gets an instant boost of color and detail with the addition of green rick-rack to the bottom of crisp, white roller shades. If rick-rack isn’t your style, you can use any kind of upholstery trim: grosgrain ribbon, bullion fringe, gimp and jute burlap trim, to name a few. Various trim styles allow you to be as elegant or playful as you like. So grab some plain roller shades in your ideal hue, find a gorgeous trim and get crafty! has a detailed materials list and step-by-step instructions (with pictures!) to help you out along the way.

Come back after you’ve finished the project, and let us know how your shades turned out! If you’ve already embarked on a shade embellishment project, share your tips and suggestions with everyone in the comments below.

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Have you ever fallen in love with a chair at the flea market or at a thrift store only to realize it’s an orphan? What can you do with one chair? Turns out this design dilemma has a happy ending. Give that lonely chair a home, and pick up a few others in different shapes, sizes and styles. Paint them all the same color, give them matching upholstery and they’ll immediately look like they belong together.


HGTV Design Happens featured author Brian Patrick Flynn turned this eclectic bunch… into these chic, cohesive beauties. Plus, the various chair designs add visual interest to the space in a simple way. Want to recreate the look in your home? Head over to for the full list of materials and step-by-step instructions for this DIY repurposing project. For even more guidance, watch the how-to video with Brian Patrick Flynn. Knock it out in a weekend or over the course of a few rainy days.

And be sure to let us know how your handiwork turned out. Maybe you decided to paint eclectic furniture finds into a matching bedroom set or gave two different side tables a matching coat of paint for the living room. We want to hear all about it!

Tell us in the comments below.

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Our master bedroom is lovely, yes, but it’s been feeling decidedly bare due to a missing statement piece: the headboard. Watch Ken and I build a DIY rustic headboard with a few tools, two vintage lights and a free afternoon. Seriously. Easiest project ever. Enjoy!:

p.s. Love the rustic look? DanMade has some awesome tutorials on how to get the rough-and-tumble aesthetic we love to love.

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Fourth of July weekend is just around the corner, which means it’s time to get your outdoor room party-ready … and quick! Last week we spruced up the deck and turned it into a stylish, weather-resistant painted area “rug.” This week, we’re making entertaining even easier by turning an old dresser into an indoor/outdoor serving buffet. Nothing can ruin the mood like having to run inside every five minutes to grab napkins … then plates … then cups … forks. (Not to mention the air conditioning bill.) So, keep your outdoor entertaining essentials easily accessible and stylishly concealed by storing them in a repurposed dresser on your deck or patio.


And yes, this project gets even more awesome with the addition of casters on the bottom for mobility. So grab that old dresser that’s been collecting dust in your attic or garage, sand it down, give it a few coats of spray paint, attach casters and you’re officially ready for your holiday hosting gig. Check out the detailed shopping list and step-by-step instructions at for this easy-to-create outdoor serving buffet by designer/feature blogger Brian Patrick Flynn. And of course, we want to see and hear about your finished project, too!

Tell us all about it in the comments below.

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This week at HGTV Design Happens, we’re gettin’ out the paintbrushes.

I don’t know about you, but I usually spend every moment of my weekends enjoying time outside. I want to take in all the sunshine and Vitamin D I possibly can in those two precious days. Plus, cool summer evenings are the perfect time for grilling and entertaining outdoors. So, why not reflect the energy and vibrancy of the season by updating your outdoor space with a chic painted area rug. This cool projects is from designer/feature blogger Brian Patrick Flynn.


This low-maintenance DIY decorating idea is perfect for homes with messy little ones or for those who like to host frequent get-togethers. Clean up can be done in a snap; grab the broom, sweep off the crumbs and you’re done. And what makes this project even better is that it’s ideal for those of us who absolutely cannot paint or draw a straight line. Let the edges of the deck planks be your guide.

Don’t forget to share your finished project with us! Did you go with a lively orange? Or maybe something a little more neutral like chocolate brown? We’d love to see or hear about your creation.

Tell us all about it in the comments below.

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So, how did everyone fare with last week’s DIY Nautical Lamp project? (I have a cheap turquoise desk lamp left over from my college dorm room that’s begging for some natural hemp to cover up years of abuse/moves.) Well, this week we’re continuing to spread summer love with a project so easy, you’ll wonder why you didn’t try it sooner. Normally, me + a needle and thread don’t work well together, but I think this pillow project is definitely within my sewing skill set.


If you’re like me, between June and August every moment spent at the office or in bed asleep is precious, limited time NOT spent outside enjoying the sweet smell of summer. To make those moments even more comfortable and stylish, grab your favorite weather-resistant fabric and a needle and thread to sew your own outdoor pillows. Throw pillows are an excellent way to brighten up your porch, while making outdoor afternoon naps a even more relaxing.

We have step-by-step instructions and a detailed materials list at for this easy-sew outdoor pillow project. Don’t forget to share your finished work with us! We’d love to see pictures of your summer-inspired porch or hammock – pillows and all!

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I don’t know about you, but I get a rush and a huge sense of accomplishment when I put the finishing touches on a chic DIY project I’ve taken on. Whether it’s repurposing something old or creating something new from scratch, I’m all about utilizing my creativity…and my glue gun. If you crave that same sense of satisfaction from making something fabulous for your home, you’ll love our new series: Project of the Week. Every Wednesday, we’ll feature stylish, fun and easy how-tos, from furniture and decor projects to handmade crafts and gifts. The perfect way to spend a relaxing weekend or pass the time on a dreary rainy day. Our inaugural project – a nautical-themed lamp.


I love this easy-to-make and inexpensive homage to summer and all the sea-inspired associations that go with it. Simply update a bland and not-so-pretty lamp in your home with natural hemp to create this nautical, beach-cottage accessory. Coordinate with seashells and other treasures…and voila — you’ve got a chic vignette.’s got you covered with a materials list and step-by-step instructions for this nautical-themed lamp. And be sure to let us know about your finished project. I’d love to see how your lamp turns out and how you make it your own!

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Plain white roller shades can be so dull, but this DIY project can really add personality and pop to your window treatments. I love that you can customize stencils to create a unique design.

roller shade stencils

All you need is some paint and a stencil design to spice up your existing vinyl roller shade. This project is definitely an inexpensive way to change up your window treatments. You could pair it with some curtains or a valance or you could totally leave the shade hanging alone.

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When Ken and I first decided to embark on a renovation, we drafted this thing called a renovation budget. And although we were careful to remember hidden costs, do our research and enlist (free!) help when needed, we still managed to come out of this renovation wayyyyy over budget.

Luckily, we had built in a pocket of money dedicated to decorating the space, so we simply borrowed a bit of cash from our decorating funds. Until our decorating funds ran out and it was time to decorate.
So Friends, It’s Time to Get Crafty

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With a little under a week to go before Valentine’s Day, I thought you might like to see something a bit less red roses and a little more home design for the big day of love.

love bed headboard

This yellow, gray and white bed achieves sweetness without being saccharine. The headboard is made of reclaimed wood and painted with the word, “love.” Dana at House*Tweaking shows you how to make this bed topper for yourself.

If you’re looking for more ideas to rejuvenate your bedroom, check out these headboard looks and DIY projects on

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Meg Spaeth, author of the blog elsie marley, introduced me to himmeli on her site and I want to make one to hang in my home immediately.

himmeli elsie marley

Photos clockwise from top right: i love sasek; flickr users sjwhiddenk; Christina @ PMVk; ast2009k

To save you a little Googling, himmeli are traditional Finnish ornaments made out of lengths of straw threaded together and hung as a mobile at Christmas. This is one decoration, however, that I’d gladly leave up all year long for its graceful, organic quality. Meg links off to a quick how-to on her blog. Stop by and check it out along with loads of ideas for handmade toys and other crafts.

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