Easy DIY Upcycled Décor Ideas
Spring Into a New DIY Look for Your Home
Want to breathe freshness into your home's décor this spring? You will find lots of easy, upcycled DIY décor ideas in this article, including tips for creating original window boxes, planters and pots, lighting and lamp shades, no-sew or simple-sew window treatments, and dimensional tablescapes enhanced with a variety of lifts and levels for almost every room in your home!
Even if you are on a budget, you are sure to be inspired! You will discover how to use common, inexpensive, everyday items and reuse, repurpose, recycle them in ways you never dreamed of! Your imagination will be sparked and your creative juices will begin to flow! Put these ideas into practice yourself or invite your children to join in the fun. There are enough ideas for everyone!
There is no time like the present to put a new spin on your home's appearance. Start thinking about which room you want to work on first, then do it! Life is too short to be stuck in a rut - jump right in and learn how to incorporate one or more of these amazingly simple ideas to take your home to the next level!
Ready to start? After you!
Where Do You Want To Start First? - Nobody can do everything at once, not even Superman, so you must put first things first.
What is tops on your to-do list? Check marks the spot!
Which project gets first dibs?
Add Height, Interest and Variety to Liven Up Garden-Variety Window Boxes Using Orbs, Branches and Twigs. Image:KateHon
Give Your Planters Some Punch by Adding Texture, Color and Visual Interest - The orbs have it!
Let's look more closely at the contents of the window box and planter:
Cool-weather pansies in monochromatic colors are used mainly as accents in both the window box and planter. Select your blooms according to the demands of your climate and light availability. Opt for vivid, low-light foliage if your location is heavily treed. Use multiple, drought-tolerant succulents if your climate and location have more sun and heat.
Height, texture, color and visual interest have been added by means of birch branches, pussy willow, curly willow, ornamental seed pods and an amazing assortment of orbs! Scavenge in your own yard for interesting moss, leaves, foliage, branches and found objects, such as vacated birds' nests and anything else that catches your eye and captures your fancy.
Orbs have gone well beyond the trend classification to become a classic decorative element in the home. In sizes ranging from eensy-weensy to elephantine and in finishes running the gamut from A to Z, orbs can be used year round, indoors and out.
Both the window box and the planter feature orbs, though of vastly different scale and composition. The planter has an oversized grapevine orb and several smaller orbs in various sizes, including a moss-covered orb lying in a bed of reindeer moss, ensconced in a wire-framed planter.
Repeat Your Design Theme (Orbs, Pansies, Moss and Twigs are Featured Today) For Maximum Design Impact. Image:KateHon
Optional Orb Opportunities - They're a ball!
These green spheres add brightness and life wherever they are used
These orbs are each covered with a different product, giving them added dimension and texture
Toss in a dark-toned sphere for visual interest and depth
Add shell-covered orbs for even more texture
Front-Door Fashions Feature More Ferns and Foliage Than Flowers - I'll take my foliage with just a splash of color, please!
It seems this season is looking to greenery to make a fashionable statement on the area's front door wreaths and baskets. Use either fresh or faux botanicals, depending on your preferences, climate, budget and time.
This is a perfect opportunity to turn again to your yard for elements to add to your front door adornment. Play with leaf sizes, shapes and colors, include feathery ferns, dangling fronds, visually-bulky succulents or oversized oak leaves, tucking in a couple pops of your favorite vibrant-colored blooms as an accent.
The basket used in this example is almost completely obscured by the design it contains, but take care to ensure the basket's back side is appealing, if you hang it on a glass door.
If One is Good...
...Two are Better! - Double your pleasure, double your fun!
If you have a glass feature on your front door, make the most of it by doing a two-sided floral display.
Once again, elements found on earlier arrangements are repeated here: foliage, orbs, moss and a touch of floral color. Each floral design is contained inside a twig-and-moss-covered hemisphere and suspended by a bit of coarse burlap ribbon.
The displays are hung on hooks that have been screwed into the solid wood door, allowing them to be hung back to back. A less permanent hanging option might be to tie each arrangement to either end of a length of complementary ribbon and suspend them over your door saddle-bag-style.
Go long and lean with this natural wall basket
Imagine the design possibilities with this unique basket
Does Foliage Tickle Your Fancy or Do You Favor Flowers?
Do you prefer your window boxes, planters and pots to have more flowers than foliage?
Drum Roll, Please! - Easy, inexpensive DIY embellishments add character and interest to a classic drum shade
Attach a circular lampshade ring frame to a drum shade's skeleton with wire, then suspend your chosen enhancements.
In this picture, we see small glass jars adding whimsy to a dignified drum shade. Simply remove the jars and wired-in frame when ready for your next inspiration installation!
I was entranced when I saw this barely-there fern-and-bark-wrapped-wire light fixture in the kitchen of Bachman's 2012 Spring Ideas House. The three bulbs are faceted, making them easy on the eyes.
It would be oh-so-simple to attach some lacy ferns and grapevine to this simple light for unique organic illumination.
The best feature of this fixture are the spectacular shadows and traceries thrown onto the ceiling. Lovely!!
Find Faceted Light Bulbs Here!
Fully-faceted globe lights make illumination interesting
Lower-watt bulbs with same faceted feature
Another Drum Shade Option
Like the first lighting option, this drum shade features small bottles wired to a lampshade ring frame.
It is additionally softened with lengths of ribbon. Add pastel-hued, acrylic flower picks and individual chandelier crystals for a delicate, feminine finish.
Key Ingredient - Simple. Stunning. Spectacular.
Each rib of this lampshade frame has been covered with fabric, then the fabric edges were slightly frayed, giving it a very shabby chic appearance.
Random keys are attached around the top and bottom perimeters.
All Fenced In - Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy
This lighting idea is so easy, anyone could do it! It requires only chicken-wire fencing, a can of spray paint and a couple colors of sheer pastel ribbon.
Measure and cut the chicken-wire fencing to fit your situation. Spray it a color of your choice. Shape it to size and wire it together, curling up the bottom projections in a page boy flip. Tie alternating colors of ribbon to the top rung of the fencing. Add embellishments to the ribbon, for more texture, if desired.
Use faceted light bulbs to minimize glare.
Fence Me In
It can be a bit of a problem to find authentic vintage poultry fencing seen in the picture above and the two which follow. I found one roll of the precious stuff on eBay, but it sold within a day.
If you feel you must have the real McCoy, program your eBay settings to alert you when a vintage poultry fencing auction comes online. Keep your eyes open when you are out and about, browsing through antique stores, flea markets, tag sales and thrift stores. You never know when Heaven will smile down on you, presenting you with your very own vintage poultry fencing.
If you cannot wait for the old-school fencing, perhaps you can be satisfied with a newer version of the stuff, Amazon has several other options available. Happy fencing!
Coordinating No-Sew Window Treatment
Repeat the fencing feature by using it as a 'cornice' over the bedroom windows.
Wire the fence to a narrow rod, which has been cut to the same width as the fencing, for stability. Use more brackets for support, depending on your window's width.
Ribbons Provide a 'Tied-Back' Look
Use ribbons of varying widths and colors to provide today's version of the classic tied-back Priscilla sheers.
There is no limit to the choices available in sheer ribbon, so have fun!
Sheer striped ribbon
Another No-Sew Window Treatment
If privacy and light control are not a priority, consider bringing the outdoors in with potted plants nestled in vintage wire baskets.
The sky is the limit here, so put your imagination's pedal to the metal!
Simple-Sew Window Treatment
This valance is fashioned from a purchased table runner. The only sewing needed would be to make it smaller if your valance is too wide for the window. By careful selection, it is possible you will never have to thread a needle!
Attach the runner to your window's wood frame by means of decorative thumb tacks. So easy, even Harmony, the tabby, could do it, if she had thumbs.
A Final Creative Upcycled Window Treatment Idea
This window is in a ground-level powder bath. Since the window is positioned quite high on the wall, privacy is not really an issue.
The window's transparency has been obscured by spraying it with an etching film over a lacy stencil. Another table runner, this time in a neutral linen fabric with a tatted, inset border, has been shirred through the top band of tatting, onto a narrow tension rod, hung at the window's highest point.
An amazing vintage grate with a weathered patina has been hung just above the bottom of the runner valance on vintage crystal cabinet hardware attached to the window's frame.
The charming vignette is completed with alternating votive candles and pots containing miniature calla lilies on the windowsill.
Upcycled DIY Tablescape - The secrets are repetition, lifts and levels
Take a minute to really study this tablescape. Once you look at it closely, you can identify, then duplicate, the items that make it successful and beautiful:
1. Repeating elements: The oversized bound books are used in the middle shelf and on the tabletop to emphasize the horizontal plane of the table and to elevate some of the decorative elements on the tablescape.
2. Repeating colors: Four main colors have been repeated on this tablescape in decreasing amounts: tan in the table itself, books, picture frames, and wooden vase; green in the plants; aqua in the planters; white found primarily in the large decorative plate and coordinating round vase.
The green and aqua colors have been spread along the length of the tablescape and the tan tone runs from top to bottom and side to side, ending in the middle, with the two picture frames and the treen (wooden) vase. The white is mainly in the middle of the table, but there are also splashes of white in some of the planters and vases. Everything works together to draw the eye up and from one side of the table to the other.
3. Varying heights: Using items of varying heights creates visual interest, movement, rhythm and balance. As a general rule of thumb, heights should run high to low, left to right, since we are trained to read left to right. The tall, leafy plant on the left provides the tallest height and the upright green plant in the floral vase punctuates the lower height, anchoring the right side of the display. Within the tablescape are differing heights, widths and types of materials, and they all work together to tell a vibrant, engaging visual story.
Visual Weight Will Not Make You Look Fat - The secrets here are balance and knowing when to stop
This tablescape example offers another opportunity for easy upcycled DIY décor ideas:
1. Use glass to help small spaces look larger. The glass table, used here as a writing desk, provides plenty of room to work, while not taking up visual floorspace. Shop for glass tops on craigslist, eBay, thrift stores and garage sales.
2. Use oversized containers for visual impact. The six plants on top of the radiator are each contained in large pails, either galvanized or white enamel. None of these buckets are new, nor do they match, but they are all similarly sized, providing continuity and visual impact.
3. Apply the high to low, left to right principle for more visual interest. The plants on top of the radiator do exactly that, while the lamp on the glass desktop stops the eye on the right, keeping the observer's eye focused on the desk. Well done!
4. Edit your accessories. Then edit again. Walk away for a while and come back for another appraisal. If you feel it is necessary, edit once more. Examine the accessories on the glass writing desk. Each item is there for a reason, both functionally and aesthetically. Double check your tablescapes to ensure you are including enough, but not too much.
Humble Elements, Stylish Results - Neutral colors, serene environment
This table is found in the Master Bedroom of the Bachman's 2012 Spring Ideas House. It is part writing desk, part dressing table and part getaway from the world. The desk itself is nothing more than an ordinary hollow-core door placed atop a pair of vintage sawhorses. What elevates this desk to the extraordinary is that its top has been 'lined' with linen fabric, scattered with messages from the past via old penny postcards, all covered with a custom-cut glass top.
It is positioned in front of a window, allowing in plenty of natural light and offering glimpses of the world outside.
The desk's contents are diverse, beautiful and functional. They are mostly neutral and monochromatic, with pops of pale pink, perfect for maintaining a soothing, restful master bedroom environment.
Once again, the high to low, left to right principle is in play, drawing your eye from one side of the desk to the other. Lifts and levels are also present and accounted for, including a stack of books, a footed bowl, budding branches from a flowering tree, a rose under a glass cloche, chunky pearls wrapped around a glass apothecary jar and a mid-century riding hat atop a vintage wig stand. These, along with those not mentioned, are all playful additions, carefully chosen.
Accessorizing is a skill that can be learned; it just takes practice.
Spend an afternoon wandering around upscale furniture stores and retail shops, carefully studying each vignette. You are sure to learn a lot!
Voices From the Past
Vintage postcards, hats, hatstands, glass cloches and apothecary jars all contribute to an upcycled design.
More Upcycling Inspiration - Read. Learn. Do.
Some great how-to ideas using books
More upcycling ideas
Did One of These Easy Upcycled DIY Décor Ideas Catch Your Attention? - Let's hear all about it!
Which of these ideas made it to the top of your wish list?
Upcycling Is A Good Thing
Keeps items out of landfills
Everything deserves another chance
Can save you money
Everyone needs a hobby
Learn to think outside the box
A coat of paint can work wonders
One man's trash is another man's treasure