In this episode, Cara sits down solo behind the mic to give you 9 different categories of interior decor DIYs to get your creative juices flowing and give you some ideas for refreshing your space while we’re at home.
This is not just 9 project ideas — there are literally hundreds of projects you could do within these categories, but hopefully something with pique your interest and motivate you to dive in and #DIYBIG
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If you’re new here, a super good episode to catch up on is EPISODE 34 where I talked about 6 design strategies you can use to revamp your spaces while staying home.
It also has some good tips on what all this time at home can teach you about your house and whats working and not working to help you make little changes and tweaks.
interior design DIY's to do while you're stuck at home
#01: Paint an accent wall with leftover paint
The paint colors you have on hand are probably shades you already love. Why not refresh your space with a new accent wall?
- Go-to: Paint a Whole Wall
- Creative ideas:
- Ombre Wall — Mix a shade incrementally with white to lighten it and create an ombre effect
- Half Wall — paint the bottom half of a wall a bold shade to mimic wainscoting and incorporate a bold hue without it being overwhelming
- Patterned brush stroke wall — paint brush stroke dots on your wall to create an elongated polka dot pattern
#02: Upcycle a piece of furniture you already have
Shopping your house to refresh your spaces doesn't just mean rearranging. Giving your existing pieces new life is a great way to redecorate while staying home, plus it can help save you money.
- REPURPOSE:Change the function of an existing piece
- Dresser into a side table for hall / dining room
- Nightstand / side table into bar cart
- CHANGE THE STYLE —
- Obviously includes painting it a different color but you could also strip the paint and refinish the wood to uplevel it.
- Swap the hardware for a different vibe — find my FAVORITE AMAZON HARDWARE FINDS HERE
- UPHOLSTER IT — Make your bench or stool more comfy
- If you don’t have fabric and batting laying around, you might be able to clean out your closet and use pieces you love the pattern of but never wear
- You can repurpose old quilts or blankets as batting
#03: Change out your artwork
Swapping your artwork is a simple way to update your space, but can have a huge impact on the vibe and feel of the room. This is a super cheap option since you can use frames you already have and make simple swaps to update the style of your space or even do it seasonally if you like change.
- COORDNIATING PRINTS: One of my favorite places to shop for art is Etsy since there are so many talented artists and you can also get coordinating artwork — I’ve seen prints of 3 for as low as $7
- You can print them at home on photo paper using your printer’s best setting
- OR have them printed at Staples if you need larger sizes. This is a hack I love — you select blueprint from the choices and even a full color large size print runs you around $6 each.
- You can order online from stapes, which is a good way to redecorate from home and make sure you’re not going out unless its super necessary
- FRAMED FABRIC: Another cute idea for frames that are matted — like the paper frame in the frame is to frame a piece of fabric that you like the pattern of.
- You can raid your scrap fabric or even use an old piece of clothing you like the print of.
- This can add texture and color all in one
#04: Paper decor DIY's
There are so many ways to use paper for decor, but one of my very favorites is paper flowers since you can customize the size and color for a chic feminine vibe. You can also use paper scraps to create geometric art which is a good alternative if you like crisp modern lines or you don't think you're skilled at painting or drawing.
- PAPER FLOWERS: Create an accent wall or decorate for spring by making faux flowers. I have a tutorial on the blog for dahlias, you can use tissue paper or even printer paper or poster board. Then you just need scissors and hot glue to cut out the petals and assemble it.
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- GEO ART — using paper instead of paint to create framed art is amazing if you aren’t especially good at drawing or painting.
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#05: Dress up your doormat
You can refresh your old doormat or even dress it up if you have a plain one. It's a perfect way to add a little personality or breathe new life into your old worn out doormat.
- Paint a pattern with leftover paint — use painters tape or a homemade stencil and spray paint to create a pattern or hand-paint some script like Priscilla did here
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- You can follow along with my monstera leaf tutorial and cut it into a leaf shape then spray paint it.
View this post on Instagram
- Its super simple but can totally transform your doorstep and is a good way to reuse your mat instead of just replacing it
#06: Add Texture and color with yarn
I'm not into knitting so my favorite way to use yarn is to add tassels and pom poms to existing home decor items for extra texture and color.
- BASKETS — add tassels or pom poms to your baskets to dress them up
- I actually have a whole YOUTUBE SERIES called YARN IT where I cover all kinds of crafts you can do with yarn. There is a video all about making pom poms and another one all about 4 different ways to make tassels, so be sure to check these out!
- You can also add pompoms and tassels to your existing pillows to uplevel them. Add it to just one side for extra versatility
#07: Revamp your lighting
Lighting can do wonders for transforming a space. We talked about tips. for nailing lighting design back. in EPISODE 005, but changing the look of the light fixtures themselves also adds style and personality to your space.
- PAINT YOUR LIGHT FIXTURES:
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- VINAGE BULB UPSWAP: Add vintage bulbs to existing lamps to refresh them. You might have to shop online for these, but you can find multi packs of vintage bulbs on Amazon and its a perfect upswap if you have bulbs that need replaced anyways
- FAIRY LIGHTS — this DIY is super popular on Pinterest, but really a great way to add soft lighting to any space. You can use Holiday lights or twinkle lights you have already to create an accent in your space. Some ideas include:
- Stringing them back and forth on a wall and clipping pictures to them
- Stringing them behind some fabric to help diffuse the light and help hide the wires — you can do this for curtain panels or behind your bed as a headboard accent
#08: Scrap Wood Projects
There are so many amazing projects to whip together if you’re pulling from your scrap pile.
- FRAMING LUMBER SCRAP PROJECTS — I have a entryway bench project on my site that is a great beginner project and another super great place to find plans for framing lumber furniture projects are my friends Whitney and Ashley over at @shanty2chic
- SCRAP WOOD PLANTER — a perfect add to your front porch for spring
- PLYWOOD PROJECTS — I made some bookends recently where I used the striped plywood edge intentionally and make it into a pattern vs it looking cheap or unfinished.
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- OTHER SCRAP WOOD IDEAS: Frames, shelves, or drawer organizers
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#09: Plant Propagation
This is amazing because its totally free, basically you cut a leaf off of your existing houseplant and grow it into another entire plant.
I learned about this from Hilton Carter, who we had on the show last week — EPISODE 35: Plant Styling and the Art of Bringing Plants into your Spaces — and its not only a cool way to get more plants for free, but it also is amazing as decor.
Hilton has a whole propagation wall in his house (below) and these wood blocks with glass vases in them he calls cradles.
View this post on Instagram
It is a great way to focus on your plant parenting and learn more about each of your plants since different plants need different things and are propagated differently AND spring is the perfect time since plants experience so much new growth in this period.
EP 36 TRANSCRIPT
...just in case you wanna read
Cara Newhart (00:00):
You are listening to the Make Space podcast, episode number 36
Welcome to make space a home design show made to inspire you to create spaces you truly feel at home in Cara Newhart sits down with amazingly brilliant guests for conversations that dive deeper than pin worthy rooms. To tease out the essentials of creating spaces that feed your soul and inspire your creativity from home design strategies to decor, advice to interior design tips and tricks. These conversations help you dream up a beautifully lived in home. Cara is the designer and chief creative enthusiasts behind never skipped brunch. Her work has been featured in print publications like people style watch and Denver style magazine as an influencer, Cara has collaborated with brands like Amazon, H & M, Twitter and Thrillist. Here's your host, Cara Newhart.
Cara Newhart (01:20):
Welcome back! I am so pumped to be bringing you guys this episode because I have got this question from so many of you. What are some easy, simple DIY decor projects that I can do while I'm stuck at home to refresh my space? So the goal of this episode is to give you nine different categories of interior design, DIY eyes, to get your creative juices flowing and give you some ideas for refreshing your space while we're all feeling stuck at home, staying home and staying safe. So this is not just nine different projects that you can do. There are literally hundreds of projects that you can do within these categories. But I'm hoping to peak your interest with one of these and kind of motivate you to dive in and DIY big and also use these categories to like shop your house and see what materials you already have.
Cara Newhart (02:13):
I have a bunch of suggestions within each category, but this might help further guide you to help you find something you can do at home with what you already have. Okay. So if you're new here, a super good episode to catch up on is episode 34 where I talk about six design strategies that you can use to revamp your spaces while staying home. So this deals with more of the like baseline of clutter and functionality of your spaces and has some really good tips that talk about what all this time at home can really teach you about your house, about what's working and what's not working and help you make little changes and tweaks. So I would catch up on that episode so we can cover kind of like the functionality of your house and kind of baseline and then we can dive into stuff like all the projects, making it cute more in the aesthetic side of things.
Cara Newhart (03:03):
Now obviously as we're going through these, I'm hoping that you're thinking of other ideas that I'm not talking about, but then I'm kind of like influencing your creativity, helping you dream up other ideas. And if you get some really good plans, make sure to share on social and tag me at make space pod so I can repost your story and we can all learn from your good idea. We can all share our ideas together. So without further ado, category number one is paint. The obvious DIY is to paint an accent wall with some leftover paint. Paint colors you already have, you probably already love. So maybe you could do something in a space with these colors that you already have. This is also earth friendly, so in honor of earth day today, it's saving that paint from a landfill. You don't have to worry about like recycling it at a special paint drop-off situation.
Cara Newhart (03:50):
So let's use up that leftover paint with the DIY. But I wanted to kind of divert your attention to instead of just painting a whole accent wall, one solid color, let's think of some more creative ideas. This will also help you if you don't have a lot of paint, like let's say you don't have enough to cover a whole wall. Option number one is to do an ombre wall. So if you have a shade of blue and then you also have some white, you can use blue and then incrementally mix it with white to create like multiple shades and create an ombre look. So that's helping you stretch that blue paint out way further where it wouldn't be enough to paint a wall. Now we have a cool Umbro wall. Another option is to do a half wall. So like the bottom half of a wall painting that I color it looks like a chair rail, like a board and Batten or wainscotting, but you're not having to do any of the wood and it's also a good way to save paint.
Cara Newhart (04:43):
And it also helps the color not be too overwhelming. So if you're dealing with a really bright fun or really dark, bold color, just half of a wall is enough to add an accent, but it's not so much that it's overpowering the entire wall. And then the last option for painting a wall with your leftover paint is to do a pattern. So obviously tons of patterns you could do like stripes and whatever if you want to tape off stuff and do like geometric shapes. But a really, really easy option is just to do brush strokes. So basically you take and you just kind of stroke your brush here and there like little tick marks. And it ends up looking like kind of elongated polka dots. So it looks very artsy and chic and hand painted and it does not use very much paint at all cause you're basically dipping your brush and then just kind of ticking it on the wall.
Cara Newhart (05:33):
I'll see if I can find a Pinterest inspo photo so you really can get clarity on what exactly I'm talking about. But that is a really good quick option to do a whole accent wall with limited paint supplies. Okay. Category number two is upcycling furniture. So how can we take furniture pieces that we already have and make them look more chic, more sophisticated, more updated. So I have kind of three different ideas for this. First, you can repurpose your furniture. So think taking something that's normally one thing used for one, one function, and then turning it into something else. So like a nightstand or side table that you're going to turn into a bar cart, maybe you add wheels, maybe you add some 3m hooks, maybe you add a glass hanger, whatever that looks like. Or maybe a dresser turning into a side table for your hallway.
Cara Newhart (06:25):
Or your dining room. This is something I've done with our old dresser that was painted like Navy blue. I put it in our dining room to house all of my tablecloths and napkins and all kinds of linens. Instead of having like a side table saved a bunch of money cause it was an existing piece and it looks really good in there, it doesn't really look like it's a dresser. It kind of fits. So how can you take a piece that you already own that you're not loving or you're thinking of getting rid of and how can you repurpose that to serve a different function or be in a different space? Second idea for furniture up-cycling is to change the style of a piece. So the obvious like GoTo move here is to paint it a different color, but you can also strip down the paint and refinish wood to Uplevel it.
Cara Newhart (07:09):
So if you have a piece that you painted, maybe something you got from Goodwill or something that didn't fit your style, so you painted over it and you're kind of getting sick of it, you could repaint it or you could go ahead and strip that paint off, get down to the wood and then restate it. A stain color that fits your style. Maybe like a whitewash stain or a Ebony black stain or something. Maybe even outside of regular wood tones that still lets you show off that grain and lets the piece kind of look more sophisticated rather than just a painted piece of furniture. And then part of this can also be changing the hardware. There's some really good Amazon options actually for hardware. And I have those LinkedIn, my Amazon shop, I have a whole section for hardware that I'm loving, like literally stuff I've put in my kitchen, stuff I own, I've tried and I'm in love with.
Cara Newhart (07:56):
So that's another option. And then another idea is to add upholstery to pieces of furniture. So whether this is a bench or a stool that you have that isn't upholstered, you can go ahead and add either. So a cushion to fit it or actually a pollster over the top of it. This is a project that I took on with an entryway bench that I built. I added a piece of foam and then I upholstered it and added like this cute tassely trim and it really made the piece look way, way more sophisticated. It was also like super comfortable, so you might have fabric and batting lying around. If you're crafty and you hoard craft supplies like me. Let's just say that buying craft supplies and using craft supplies are two separate hobbies, but two things that I am very good at. Like there's piles of supplies that I've bought with no crafted mind.
Cara Newhart (08:47):
I just know that I'm going to need them at some point. So if you are in the same boat where you just kind of accumulate supplies, you might have this laying around, but if you don't, here's an option. You might be able to clean out your closet and use some old pieces, whether it's blankets or clothing where they have patterns that you love but you never really wear it. So if it's a good texture, it's a beautiful pattern, but you find yourself not wearing it or even has like a little hole to where it's not really wearable, you can use that and repurpose it for upholstering. You can also use old quilts and blankets as batting. So if you don't have batting just lying around your house, you can use old quilts and blankets that maybe you were going to donate to Goodwill and get rid of, but that can go down as your base piece.
Cara Newhart (09:34):
And then you stretch that pretty fabric over the top of it to kind of thicken it up and really make it cushy and comfy. So those are three strategies for upcycling your furniture besides just painting it that might help inspire your creativity. Option number three is to change out your artwork. This is something that I know in my head makes such a huge difference, but it's something that I always find myself forgetting to do. And forgetting that it's even an option. This is a super cheap DIY since you can use the frames that you already have and make simple little swaps to either update the style of your space or you can even do this seasonally. I know I have friends that change their artwork every season and do like floral prints in spring and then wintery like wood scenes in winter and so you can do it seasonally if you really like change and you like that kind of constant update.
Cara Newhart (10:28):
One of my very favorite places to shop for art is Etsy. Since there are so many talented artists, but you could also get like coordinating artwork. I've seen prints of like three different pieces that coordinate and they all tied together but there's low as like $7 cause you're buying a print of them. They're not actually sending you anything. So you buy the files and then you print them yourself in any size. So route number one, you can print them at home on photo paper and just use like your printers best setting or like high quality setting or if you want them like a different size, you want really big ones. Then this is a hack I love get them printed at staples. They have an option that you can select that's blueprint and you can print full color, like really large pieces for very, very cheaply.
Cara Newhart (11:20):
I think some of them are around six or $7 for like one print. So all in your spending red around $25 for like fully new artwork in your space, like big prints, coordinating prints. Um, you can do like three over your bed, three over your couch. So every year that's like a hundred bucks to have your whole space feel totally different, which is absolutely worth it. And you can also order online from staples, which is a really good way to redecorate from home and make sure you're not going out unless it's super necessary. Just upload those files and print them online and have them shipped to you or pick up in store if your local store is doing like contactless delivery. That's another great option. And then my last hack for swapping out your artwork is to take those frames that are matted, like they have the paper frame inside the frame and frame a piece of fabric that you like the pattern of whether that scraps you have laying around some scraps from your upholstery project to kind of tie that pattern in through your space or just another piece of fabric you have from a shirt or a sweater or whatever it is.
Cara Newhart (12:30):
I really like this idea because it's interesting, it's as a piece of art. It's not just flat, it's more three D. there's usually a lot of good texture, so it's a really good way to add color and texture to your space at the same time. And if you're not a fan of color, you can just add texture like a burlap or a woven type pattern can add a lot of interest without adding a lot of color. So definitely good on both ends of the spectrum, whether you're a texture girl, a color girl or both. Okay. Then this last project crosses over from category number three to number four. So number four is paper decor, DIY eyes, so you can make some geo art using basically paper instead of paint or drawing something out to create some framed art. This is amazing if you aren't especially good at painting or drawing, but you kind of want to create something and make something versus just framing something that's been pre made like an art print or fabric you can do like stripes, different geometric patterns, even flowers, whatever you want to dream up and cut out of paper, whether that's scrapbook paper or construction paper or paper, you colored by hand.
Cara Newhart (13:41):
There's literally so many options. I would just kind of scroll through Pinterest for like geometric art and look at some different patterns or something that could like inspire you or where you could take a pattern that you find and then kind of swap in your own color palette or do your own twists on it. But it's really cool because geo art looks a lot sleeker. When you're cutting things out. There's really clean, sharp lines, which is its own look versus painting or drawing. So this is an option I really, really love and you can get the kids involved if you have kids and you want them to be able to help make art that you actually want to put around the house instead of like that kid playful art, this can actually look super sophisticated. Just give them a bunch of shapes and have them layer them on a piece of printer paper and then you can just put that printer paper in a frame.
Cara Newhart (14:30):
Quick, easy geo art. Okay. Another paper DIY is to create an accent wall or even just decorate for spring by making paper flowers. So I actually have a tutorial on the blog for some dahlias and you can use tissue paper, you can use printer paper, poster board if you have crepe paper, which is like a specialized flower making paper. It's sort of like tissue paper but a little thicker and stretchier. That's when I made my amount of, but I've also used tissue paper and it worked really, really awesome. But there's a template and basically you cut out each pedal and then you use hot glue and kind of assemble it in rows of pedals so you can make all different sizes, all different colors. One of my really, really good friends who is actually on the podcast, her name is Kristin, and her handle is a girl entered glitter.
Cara Newhart (15:18):
She makes amazingly beautiful paper flowers. He has a ton of tutorials. She's constantly showing people in stories how to make paper flowers. They're very simple, but they look amazing. Like this girl has been flown to times square, New York city to do like a whole flower wall for the not like the wedding brand. So her flowers have shown up on all kinds of events everywhere. She's amazing. So if you're interested in paper flowers, that's the girl to go see and ask her about this. I've made some and I have one template, but if you really want to get into it, Kristen's your girl. Okay? Category number five is to dress up your doormat. So if you watched my Instagram stories this week, you know that I just did this project and it almost flopped. Um, you can totally refresh your old doormat or even dress up if you just have a plain one.
Cara Newhart (16:08):
The easiest way to do this is just to paint on a pattern onto the doormat with leftover paint. You can tape it off with frog tape or painters tape, different designs. You can do some script. I had a follower of share her project she did along with me for one hour DIY and she did like this beautiful handwritten script of her family's names. It turned out really, really beautiful. So number one is just to kind of paint it and then if you want to get really crazy you can do what I did and you can follow along with my Monstera leaf template and you actually cut your regular size door mat into a leaf shape using this template that you can print out on printer paper. It comes out in like six or eight pieces that you just taped together using packing tape and then trace it on the back of your mat.
Cara Newhart (16:56):
Cut it out with like a box knife. Then you can spray paint the front if you want to. You can just leave it Brown too. But I painted mine. Green. Pink would also be really cool. So if you do that one let me know. But then it literally is a leaf shape doormat and it looks really cool, really unique, really interesting. And it's amazing because if you have a doormat that's old and kind of gross looking like it's no longer pretty no longer looking new, this is a good way to spice it up cause you can cut off the edges that are maybe looking frayed, cut it into this leaf shape and then give it a coat of spray paint to totally spice it up. Make it look brand new. So this is good for spring. This is also good for dressing up your doorstep for all the friendly door dash people that are bringing you your food.
Cara Newhart (17:41):
If you're doing that while you're in corn Dean. But yeah, it's a really simple project because it literally only takes spray paint a box knife and a, but you feel like you made something and it's very unique and interesting and it has perfect summer vibes if you're feeling in the summary sort of mood category number six includes all kinds of yarn projects. As a disclaimer, I'm not really into knitting or crocheting at all, but I own so much yarn, so much yard because my favorite way to use yarn is to add tassels and pompoms to everything possible. So if you have yarn you can add palms or tassels to baskets to dress them up like around the top, adding texture and pops of color. I actually have an entire YouTube series called the yarn knit where I cover all kinds of crafts you can do with yarn and none of them include knitting or crocheting in any way.
Cara Newhart (18:36):
There's really, really unique ones on there, like a charger, a mug rug, which is like a little coaster but it looks like a rug. There's also videos dedicated to making pompoms like an entire video about different ways to make pompoms. Another one. All about four different ways to make tassels, so be sure to check these out. If all you have is yarn laying around and you want to spice some stuff up in your house, this is a good series for you. You can also add pompoms and tassels to your existing pillows to Uplevel them. Throw pillows are like decor one-on-one way to refresh a space like add fun, bold colors into a space so if you can't change out the pillows, you can add to an embellished the pillows with pompoms and tassels, whether that's across the whole front of the pillow, just on one side so you can leave the other side plain if you want.
Cara Newhart (19:25):
That versatility or even like tassels and pom-poms just on the corner can be really, really good. There's so many ways to do this that is exactly your style and don't think just like regular yarn, which can sometimes look really cheesy. You can use embroidery thread, you can use, I mean all kinds of stuff. You have to check out the series. I made it like a year ago. There's like 10 videos. They might be kind of cringy now to watch if I watch back, but they're really good and they have a lot of easy, easy craft calling that out because it might be just your jam. Category number seven is to revamp your lighting. So there's so many ways you can do this. Number one is do it. I just did in my kitchen, which is to spray paint my light fixtures. I have these three pendant lights with these beautiful like blown bubble glass bulbs and they were Chrome, which I hate Chrome, I hate it.
Cara Newhart (20:15):
Um, so I took the glass bulbs off and I taped cardboard to the ceiling and then I spray painted them gold, a primed first with a metal primer and they turned out amazing because I use my very favorite gold spray paint. That's like the Goldilocks of spray paint. First of all, it's not too shiny, it's not too cheap looking and it's not too like thin and Brown either. There's some gold spray paints that are too thin. You have to do like a billion coats to get it covered and then they're kind of Brown bronzy colored. This one is the metallic gold by Rustoleum and it is a gem of a gold spray paint. Anyway, it turned out amazing. It's like my only hit on ticktock cause I'm terrible at tech duck. But that video is killing it and it's really, really good because this, I was challenging myself to like do this project and transform these lights without taking them down to show you guys that it's totally possible if you're intimidated by electricity or you don't want to have to uninstall your fixture to transform it.
Cara Newhart (21:15):
So number one way to revamp your lighting is paint. Number two is to add vintage bulbs to existing lamps to refresh them. So you might not just have these lying around, you might have to shop for them, but you can find multi-packs on Amazon and these just help the lamp look really more interesting and have more character, especially if you have a lamp that doesn't have a shade or has a clear shade. These vintage bulbs are really, really good to dress it up, make it look more sophisticated and it's a perfect up swap. If you have bulbs that need replaced anyways, you might as well replace them with eight more chic bulb. What I really like about these is they have led versions, so it looks like a vintage light bulb, but it's actually an led. So you're still getting that energy savings and it's still going to be not burned so hot and not burn out so fast.
Cara Newhart (22:05):
So led vintage bulbs are the way to go. Such a good up swap. Okay. And then the third idea for revamping lighting is fairy lights. So this DIY is super, super popular on Pinterest. I'm sure you've seen it circulating around, but it's a really good way to add soft lighting to any space. They're nice because if you turn just the fairy lights on, it gives you room kind of a glow. So it's really good like evening lighting, night lighting. You can use Christmas lights or twinkle lights, which are the ones that are just tiny, tiny income on the wire and use ones that you already have to create an accent in your space. So some ideas for this include stringing them back and forth on a wall. And then clipping pictures on them. This works really good. If you have the kinds that are battery operated, that have a tiny battery pack, you can just string them back and forth, kind of a zigzag pattern.
Cara Newhart (22:55):
And then you'll probably have seen this on Pinterest, but there's like little clips you can use to hang Polaroids pictures off of them. Um, another idea is to string them behind some fabric. This helps to diffuse the light and helps hide the wires. So if you're using Christmas lights that have thicker wires or don't have those pretty like gold or champagne colored wires, this will help hide that and it makes it look not like Christmas lights, it's more chic and yeah, fairy light vibes. So you can do this behind a curtain panel or even behind your bed as like a headboard accent. If you just want to hang like a rod and one curtain panel, that's kind of like a see-through shear panel. So it lets those lights glow through. It's a really good way to add lighting. So those are my three options for revamping lighting in your space.
Cara Newhart (23:43):
Okay. Category eight is scrap wood projects. There are so many amazing projects to whip together. If you are pulling from your scrap pile, kudos to you. If you have a giant scrap pile with many options to pull from that will make this easier. But some different options might include number one, framing lumber scrap projects. So this is just basic stuff built out of like framing lumber, like two by fours. Um, wood that's cheap and not super, super nice but totally works is totally sturdy. I have a bench on my site that's a great beginner project for framing lumber. It's like $12. It's an entryway bench. You can stain it to match your house and it's really, really cute. People are making that all the time and tagging me and it's so exciting cause it's like, it's like one of those gateway projects where if you are intimidated by woodworking and you don't quite know what to do, this project is such a good place to start.
Cara Newhart (24:38):
You guys. I literally designed this project when I was terrified of using a saw, like terrified, did not want to use one unsupervised. So I planned this whole project around the fact that home Depot could cut the wood for me and then I could just screw it all together. Obviously probably right now we shouldn't be in the store having home Depot cut the wood, but if you have like a salt, like a miter saw, a circular saw, even a table saw, this project can be amazing. An amazing place to start, especially if you have someone helping you, someone that knows woodworking, but even without that, just a little circular saw and some two by fours. You can build this by yourself. So first idea framing lumber scrap projects. Another really good place to find like plans and ideas for that. If you have a bunch of two by fours sitting around is the Shanti to Sheikh sisters.
Cara Newhart (25:24):
They are the sweetest, the coolest people, so so talented at pulling together projects that use framing lumber. They have all kinds of plans on their site for different things to build and like cut lists and can really teach you how to build using lumber like basic projects. So go check them out. Then another idea for scrap wood projects that's really good is a planter for spring. Obviously if you're wanting to plant flowers, if you have a garden and you want to kind of create finally like a raised bed or just a little planter to sit on your porch, just something small. If you have enough scrap wood plywood, create a planter ceiling with polyurethane and then it will be good to go. There's a lot of plans for this on Pinterest. I know a lot of my different DIY friends have all kinds, so if there's something specific you're looking for, you can't somehow find just DME and I'll help hook you up with maybe some plans that fit your skillset.
Cara Newhart (26:17):
I'm so, so happy to do that for you guys. Okay, next we have plywood projects, so plywood is nice because it's super, super cheap and usually you end up with excess plywood. Like I don't think I've ever had a project where I use the entire plywood board. I've always had some sort of scrap and I never really know how to use them because plywood really isn't that nice of a wood like in terms of building like a very chic polished wood project. Plywood can look cheap because, because it is so. I really focused on a recent project trying to make it look polished and make it look nice and I actually used the striped plywood edge intentionally as a pattern and made it like a focal point versus it looking cheap or unfinished. If you follow along on Instagram or the blog, you know that this project was my quote Mark bookings project and they turned out looking so good like the striped edge looks like the pages of a book and it's literally so cute.
Cara Newhart (27:14):
I also have a lot of talented like serious woodworker friends like Sam from DIY Huntress and she used plywood kind of a similar way but way cooler. She actually made like a diamond pattern Chevron pattern diamond pattern with the edge of plywood like cutting it and then a man, it's like a key holder and it looks super good. She's actually going to be on the podcast super soon. So I'm so excited to dive into that. But just encouragement here that if you have plywood or you have woods that are maybe cheaper or maybe you wouldn't normally think would be able to look really polished and sophisticated, that's not true. Scrap wood can look amazing. You just have to get creative. So then some other ideas, just simple things you can make with like one or a few pieces of wood is frames. So I showed you how to frame out a canvas on my Instagram stories.
Cara Newhart (28:04):
You take like the skinny one by two board, you cut the corners and then you fit it around like these $5 canvases that I buy in packs of like five for 10 bucks. You can paint something cool or geometric and then you could build a frame around the canvas that looks really, really sophisticated. Like it looks amazing and I'm not a professional artist and I did not spend really any money on these, like literally tiny pack of canvases and one board. Um, so super simple frames are a really good option, especially if you're like getting into woodworking and you're wanting to work on angles and mitered corners. It's really good inexpensive way to practice because if you mess up you're not that heartbroken because it was very cheap overall. Another idea is shelves, whether that is like floating shelves or you want to keep it simple and just snag some brackets off Amazon and use one piece of wood sand it down, stain it according to like how your style of your houses to make it fit and then use those brackets to hang it up as a shelf.
Cara Newhart (29:03):
That's a really good DIY. If you have like one board lying around and you don't have a saw, you don't want to get into serious woodworking. That's a super, super good option. My last idea for scrap wood projects is drawer organizers. So I've seen on Pinterest where people actually take shims like really thin pieces of wood and they cut them and like would glue them together to fit inside their drawer and make all these little cubbies for all their things to go. Like some people even go crazy and measure out like their ladles and their spoons and make it super custom and it looks so good. So if you don't want to deal with power tools or screws or any of that, this is literally like a project that you can use, just wood glue and you can even use a handsaw to cut them.
Cara Newhart (29:48):
Or sometimes even you can score them with a box knife on both sides and then snap them and then sand down the corner. So this is a really, really good, easy beginner project and especially good if you're one of my type a organizing girls out there. I know that there's some of you, even though that's not at all what I am, I'm constantly encouraged by how organized you stay. So yeah, bunches of scrap wood projects all over the place. So many good ideas from decor to furniture to storage. If you have scrap wood, I feel like you hit the jackpot of supplies here in quarantine. So number nine, the very final idea is very on point for spring and totally related to last week's episode is plant propagation. So this is amazing. First of all, it's totally free. Basically you just cut a leaf off of your existing house plant and then you can grow that into an entire new plant.
Cara Newhart (30:43):
So I learned about this from Hilton Carter who we had on the show last week. He's an amazing plant parent. He's written multiple books about styling plants and caring for plants. It's not only a cool way to get more plants for free cause you're basically multiplying the plans that you have. But it's also amazing as decor. Hilton actually has a whole propagation wall in his house. He has these wooden blocks built with glass vases in them. Like there's four bases in this live edge woodblock and then those are all hung up on the wall. He calls them cradles cause they're for baby plants. And then you just put like a little cutting or a little STEM in each one of those vases and it makes this whole gorgeous plant wall basically for free cause you're just growing the plant and then you can re-pot it or he likes to also give them away to guests.
Cara Newhart (31:35):
So it's a cool way to swap plants. If someone has a plant and you don't really want to buy cause you know plants can be expensive. Some of them like the nice or the cool varieties can be expensive so it's a good way to like get a cutting started and then you can swap it with your friends if you're getting really into planned parenting. But it's also just a great way to focus on kind of nurturing your plant skills. We talked a lot about last week how taking care of plants is not something anyone is inherently good at. Like it's something that people learn a lot about and that's why they're good at it. So it's really good activity. I think while you're in quarantine to be dealing with something living and have something to nurture and have kind of an Avenue to like learn and be creative with.
Cara Newhart (32:15):
But also it can teach you a little more about all your existing plants and you can kind of learn how to better take care of them because each plant needs propagated differently. Like some plants you can cut off the STEM and just stick it in water. Other plants will like die. If you do that, like snake plants, I think you have to like cut it off and put it in soil so it's going to take a lot of learning and a lot of diving in and spring is perfect time to be doing this. Since plants experienced so much new growth in this period, it's like really satisfying and rewarding to watch them grow quickly. So if there's any a time to be propagating spring, it's very exciting. Okay. That wraps up all nine different categories of interior design, DIY eyes. I know there are so many more ideas out there and I hope that I didn't overwhelm you with ideas.
Cara Newhart (33:03):
I just had so many to share with you that I think can be really creative ways to use the things you have at home to kind of make the most of this time in quarantine. As I said in previous episodes, I know that's not a possibility for everyone. I know that not everyone has the privilege of using this time to better themselves or learn something new or fix up their house. But if you do, and if you want to dive into projects, these are some good places to start, some good inspiration, share the ideas that you have, share the projects you make with me. I would love to reshare them across social and just be there to encourage you and cheer you on. I know that when people tag me on projects on Instagram, it's so exciting. Like it literally makes my whole day to see someone be like, I made this and like Kara gave me some inspo and then I, I ran with it and made this amazing thing.
Cara Newhart (33:52):
So exciting, so exciting to see how you guys take these ideas and make them your own and you are so creative. Like so many things that I never would've thought of anyway. I'm just beaming a little bit over here because our community is so cool and it's so cool to see what you guys are making and how you're getting creative with this. So I hope this is a good springboard. I hope these categories can help you assess all the craft supplies you have hoarded or not hoarded, and find ways to be creative with what you have. I hope you have a good week, or I hope you have the week you have. Let's say that if you're not having a an easy time with this, that's totally okay too, but wherever you're at, I'm here to help encourage you in your DIY journey, your interior design journey, and help you be creative and give you ideas and info to help you get there.
Cara Newhart (34:36):
So let's dive in and DIY big. Let me know if you need anything. If you have questions or you need help with projects or you just want to show off what you did, that's amazing. I'd love to hear from you. The best way to connect with me is to DN me on social, either at never skipped brunch or at MakeSpace pod. If you want to tag the podcast or you can shoot me an [email protected] I would love to chat. I love to talk to you guys, especially now that I'm feeling a little isolated. So selfishly, please reach out. Anyway, have a good week and I will talk to you next time.
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