32 Home Projects Under $20 | Midwest Living
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32 Home Projects Under $20

Ingenuity and imagination is all it takes to repurpose household items into attractive home decor.
  • Creative bulletin board

    Make a bulletin board from the drawer of an old dresser. Paint the drawer, then cut corkboard to fit the inside and glue in place. Cover with pretty paper. You'll have a place to pin favorite items as well as a new display shelf! 

  • Botanical prints

    Make your own botanical prints by scanning leaves, printing, and placing in inexpensive frames. Ferns make lovely wall art—and autumn leaves are a great accent in the fall!

  • Sitting pretty

    Doll up your desk with these fun jars. Use scallop-edge scissors to cut scrapbooking paper into strips. Tape the ends to form a cylinder that fits snugly inside the jar.

  • Clip-on pattern

     A pair of $4 cloth napkins gains new purpose as cafe curtains when hung from a tension rod. Switch them out throughout the year for a quick refresh.

  • Magnetic appeal

    A simple tray becomes a pretty magnetic board when lined with contact paper. You could glue on wallpaper or scrapbooking paper, too. 

  • Cork board

    Put old wine corks to use in a clever message board. Choose a frame deep enough to house whole corks, or cut the corks lengthwise using an extra-fine razor saw (available at hobby stores). Attach the corks to the frame backing with wood glue.

  • Rock bottom

    Keep wet boots off hardwood floors with a shoe tray. Make your own with an inexpensive plastic serving tray lined with colorful glass beads or polished rocks.

  • Canned goods

    Cans and paint add clever storage. Clean and spray-paint cans in coordinating colors. Arrange them geometrically or whimsically, attaching each to the wall with a single screw through the bottom or with heavy-duty wall-mounting tape.

  • Pot pizzazz

    Revitalize terra-cotta flowerpots with a coat of bright paint and some rub-on accents. We used scrapbooking stickers to add playful patterns to our containers.

  • Keys to success

    Repurpose an old drawer for storage that's not out of sight. Screw cup hooks into the bottom of the drawer, then hang on the wall on a large sawtooth picture hanger.

  • Sweet switcheroo

    It's simple to change out art when it's held in a clipboard. Amp up the impact by hot-gluing on rhinestones, fake pearls, buttons—any tiny objects that match your style.

  • Book shelf

    Mount two brackets to the wall and perch a favorite read on top to make a "book" shelf! Change out the book with your mood or the season, or secure it with strong glue as a permanent shelf.

  • Potting time

    Insert an air plant in an old creamer (and toy milk pail!) for teatime decor. Chipped or cracked teacups  and pots work as planters, too. 

  • Multishade photo display

    Give photo mats a little flair with paint strips; they offer graduated shades of one color for a pretty
    ombre effect. Muted purples, for example, blend well with black-and-white scenes. Using double-sided tape, attach strips to mats. Trim to fit. For the narrow top and bottom borders, we cut out individual
    paint chips.

    Frames Ikea (888) 888-4532; ikea.com Paint chips Assorted Valspar paint strips. Lowe’s (800) 445-6937; lowes.com

  • Charging station

    Drill a hole into the back of an antique box or chest. Insert a power strip then cover it with a wood shelf with holes for charging cords. Shut the lid when you want to conceal the functional aspect.

  • The art of organizing

    A series of old frames—paint them all one color to unify the look—becomes the basis for an organizing system. Insert pegboard, painted cork, or wood wearing a coat of chalkboard or magnetic paint.

  • Tower of treats

    Two old wine glasses and three pretty plates make for a display stand for sweets. Use Poster Putty to secure the glasses if you don't want this to be permanent.  

  • Under wraps

    Break out decorative scarves for a quick and easy spruce-up. We tied scarves into a simple knot around vases and added coordinating flowers for an inexpensive centerpiece.

  • Worldly pieces

    Reimagine an old globe as a new centerpiece. Split a globe in half and fill it with flowers or other collections—we used pinecones, acorns, seedpods, small pumpkins and bittersweet. Elevate on a short candlestick or small serving dish as a centerpiece.

  • Framed souvenirs with chalkboard paint

    For art that acts as a memory keeper, remove the glass of readymade frames and paint the backboard with blue chalkboard paint (this color is Benjamin Moore 2057-40 Ash Blue). Hot-glue on found vacation treasures. Label them with state names or personal notes written in chalk to identify where or how you found each item.

  • Draped headboard

    Bring new life to an old or plain headboard with a pop of color and texture from a piece of fabric or area rug. The fabric brings together a room's color scheme or adds a pop of color.

  • Tray chic

    Personalize a party tray with decorative paper. Use scrapbooking scissors to cut a circle of gift wrap slightly smaller than the tray's bottom. Laminate the circle (or ask a copy shop to do it for you).

  • Mossy finish

    Highlight a favorite dish by adding some greenery for a fresh centerpiece. Cut green florist's foam to fit inside a wooden trough (or any dish). Cover foam with moss that's been soaked for about 15 minutes and then squeezed to remove excess water. To help the moss last longer, spray it with water every other day.

  • DIY Frames

    Create cute circular frames using old place mats. Choose a collection of photos to complement the mats. Glue or tape a photo to the center of each mat, and use removable adhesive squares to hang the finished pieces.

  • Crafty cuff

    Create a curtain tieback with pretty gift-wrap paper. Cut paper to size, and then embellish the edges using scallop-edge scissors. Laminate the strip (or ask copy shop to do it for you), and scallop the edges wider than the paper. Punch holes at each end and, if desired, ad grommets. Use ribbon to hold the tieback in place.

  • Faux-texture tabletop

    A side table gets artistic with a mix of large paint chips on top. For a sophisticated neutral scheme, choose shades of beige, brown and sand. Mix in samples of techniques (like Venetian plaster) for one-dimensional texture. Attach with double-sided tape, leaving space (ours is 12 inch) between chips. Cover with glass to protect.

    Paint (On table) EB24-1 Chestnut. Valspar Eddie Bauer Home collection. Lowe’s (800) 445-6937; lowes.com Paint chips Assorted neutrals from Valspar Waverly Home Classics; assorted Valspar Venetian Plaster chips. Lowe’s (800) 445-6937; lowes.com Table Ikea (888) 888-4532; ikea.com

  • Place mat parade

    For fun (and inexpensive) wall art, pick up some stylish place mats. Drill or punch two holes at the top of each place mat. Connect them with a ball-link chain or string for lighter mats. Two nails at the top offer almost invisible hanging.

  • Desktop organizer

    This flea-market find—a sugar mold—makes a perfect workspace organizer. It's deep enough to store scissors, a hole punch and other office necessities.

  • Accessory art

    Jewelry becomes a fun and colorful accessory for the dressing table. Display your bangles on covered glass pedestals, transforming things you wear into high art.

  • Out of the box

    Pair old jewelry and photo frames for a creative display. Gather several small coordinating frames, and cover the frames' cardboard inserts with decorative paper. Center necklaces in frame.

  • Nostalgic drapery

    Floral napkins create an inexpensive window treatment in this kitchen. Drape a series of colorful napkins, antique hankies or fabric pieces over rustic twine. Prop dishes or glassware along a window ledge for an extra punch of color.

  • Button up

    Add whimsy to a plain piece of furniture with a simple button design. We used mother-of-pearl buttons to complement this nightstand's color. Use strong adhesive such as Liquid Nails to attach buttons in free form pattern or graphic shape.

  • Doorknob decor

    Glass, marble or metal doorknobs make fun clothes or curtain hooks.

    Another idea for doorknobs: Turn them into a picture holder. Attach two or three to a wall and prop a picture frame between the knobs and the wall.

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