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!
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!
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.
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.
A simple tray becomes a pretty magnetic board when lined with contact paper. You could glue on wallpaper or scrapbooking paper, too.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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 1⁄2 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.