For home decor addicts, Pottery Barn is like the fields of Elysium. Anthropologie is like cloud nine. Even good-old-reliable Target offers some divine decorating delights. However, when your bank account is painfully empty, these heavenly locations transform into hellish temptresses trying to trick you out of your last remaining cash.
Home decoration gets expensive fast. Fortunately, it is possible to have a beautiful living space without blue blood and a trust fund. These upcycled projects cost just a handful of dollars and an afternoon of work, and your guests will never guess they didn’t come straight from an upscale store.
Mirrors are a home decorator’s best trick: They add light and depth to a room, and there is basically no way to hang them incorrectly. Unfortunately, many home decor stores will charge an arm and a leg for decorative mirrors, even though they are little more than glass in a frame.
Anthropologie sold mirrors identical to the following DIY project for about $100. Instead of sinking farther into credit debt, you should use a balance transfer card and spend just $20 and an hour or so of effort to have a gorgeous sailor’s mirror hanging in your home. You’ll need:
- 12-inch Round Cake Pan
- Spray Paint (in desired color)
- D-Ring Hangers
- 12-inch Round Mirror
- Leather Belt
- Leather Rivets
- Liquid Nails Adhesive
First, spray paint the cake pan in your chosen color. I was partial to metallic sprays in copper and bronze, but any hue will do. Once the pans are dry, glue the D-rings to opposite sides. Use the Liquid Nails to attach the mirror to the inside of the cake pan, and allow both D-rings and mirror to cure overnight. Meanwhile, cut the ends off the belt to form a leather strap of desired length. Then, fold over the ends about two to three inches to form a loop around the pan’s D-rings, and install a rivet to keep the ends secure. Once all of the glue is dry, hang your mirror from the leather strap using a strong nail.
Quaint Pots and Planters
Small plants are utterly adorable— but more importantly, research says having some living greenery around your home will actually improve your mood. Perhaps it is the Zen of keeping the plant alive, or perhaps it is the extra oxygen your green buddy adds to your air; whatever the cause, decorating with plants is obviously a good idea. Plus, you can make a stylish planter out of nearly anything, including light bulbs, old shoes, and Legos. Nearly anything you can stuff with soil is an ideal place for a plant.
Even if you don’t have much space in your home, you have enough room for this DIY planter project, which uses plastic Easter eggs to grow a mini herb garden. You’ll need:
- Large Plastic Easter Eggs
- Spray Paint
- Wooden Popsicle Sticks
- Hot Glue
- Metal Wire
First, disassemble your eggs and paint them in your desired color. It may take two or three coats to cover them completely. Then, cut the wooden sticks into appropriate lengths to make a small stand for the egg cup to rest on, using the hot glue to form strong bonds at the joints. Other Easter egg cups can have metal wire stands, made in the bullet style. Finally, fill the egg cup with soil and seedlings, and watch them grow.
Charming Wall Art
Bare walls are endlessly disappointing. Art adds individuality and color to a home, and collecting and displaying your own collection is important to making you feel comfortable where you live. However, it is preposterous to drop thousands of dollars for meaningless works that others create when you can make your own captivating decorations for dimes on the dollar. Here are a few ways to add personality to your room with a few upcycled scraps:
- False Window. By placing a photograph or painted landscape behind an old, discarded windowframe, you have an interesting new view.
- Reclaimed Wood. If you have some weathered scraps of wood, you can cut them into geometric shapes and arrange them inside a frame, forming mud cloth–inspired art.
- Painted Spoons. For a striking, minimalist look, you can dip a number of silver spoons in various colors of paint and hang them on your walls in interesting patterns.
- Pallet Art. By downsizing a wooden pallet and adhering a simple wooden cutout— perhaps an initial or a favored design— you have a tasteful, rustic wall piece.