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DIY Shows Do It, Why Can't I?

Posted in Main Blog
June 19, 2014 by Trish R. Share on: Share on Facebook Share on Twitter

Be brave and decorate like the pros to save your budget and make your home uniquely yours.

I'm hooked on all the DIY home makeover shows. I ooh! and aaaah! over the unique, personalized kitchens, living rooms and bedrooms they seem to create on a "shoestring." They take a theme and make it work over and over, and it's all so creative I want to run out and do that to my house! But it seems like an expensive and rather permanent way to decorate with a theme that might get old in a week or two! So how can I be creative, stick to my budget, and get a look that I won't tire of?

Accessorizing a Roomdetail of photo with artwork, lamp

I love color and a look that makes a statement. But some ideas would be a bit overwhelming if I made them the focal point of a room. To keep your DIY decorating in line with your budget, and prevent it from taking over your house, consider accessorizing a room with your idea - maybe an accent wall, maybe a single door, or maybe just the wall treatments. Most people hesitate to make a truly bold statement when decorating. I recently decided to decoupage a dado wall on my large balcony. The space itself is open to the entry hall below, and has a full wall of windows on the non-balcony side. At 20 x 10', it's a big space, bigger than a lot of rooms, but it always looks sterile and gives the room below a vacant look, since the walls and window frames are white. I decided to install a dado wall, and the creative part would be decoupaging antique music onto that lower portion. Since I use the space for music rehearsals, and can move a piano up there, it'd give the space a purpose, and an identity. It'd probably also give me some ideas for other treatments in the area.

Decoupage as a Cost Effective Wall Treatment

If you or your mom remembers the 60's and 70's, you remember what Mod Podge is; a thin white glue that dries clear and can be used to make collages, decorate vases, and for me, decorate a wall. My mother had a large collection of antique music (which most people think I should sell on eBay but in reality is only worth a dollar or two a piece so not that eBay worthy), and I have a lot of new copies of popular music from the 60's and 70's. Seemed the perfect collection to use for my dado collage. To give it all that vintage feel, I brewed up a batch of strong black tea and dyed the newer music, soaking it in a baking pan filled with the hot tea. In a few minutes, the paper had a nice sepia tone, and blended perfectly with the authentic antique music.

My biggest challenge was finding large containers of Mod Podge (I'd probably need a couple gallons), and just diving in. We nailed panels of bead board to the painted dry wall first. This way, when I was tired of the music panels they could be easily removed. Starting with the first few pieces was tough because I wanted them to look random, and not evenly lined up. I watched a couple online videos on how to do this, but they were so planned out and orderly I knew it wouldn't be me. I jumped in with some scissors and a selection of title pages and antique music ads, and by the end of 2 hours I had a small section done. Phew! I knew I was heading in the right direction when a friend stopped by to visit, and without my prompting, looked up and immediately noticed the work I'd done. "Wow! That looks amazing!" She headed up the stairs to get a closer look. "I'd be afraid to do that on my own, but it looks incredible!" I took a deep breath and knew the project would be a success!

Explore Your Ideas

Decorating can be extremely expensive if you're buying all your materials from a design store, paying for someone else to do the work, or trying to copy a photo in a magazine. I have a history of experimentation with decoration. A few of my projects have included:

  • Splatter painting a kitchen accent wall (including paw prints from my dog!)
  • Wall borders made of silk leaves, crayons and even foam cutouts
  • Fireplace mantels decorated with beach glass, wine corks and crackled marbles
  • Bathroom door panels decorated with shells and seahorse stencils
  • A kitchen wall covered with Corn Flake boxes

In every case I started out lacking belief in my own design concepts, but in each case I ended up with something fun, memorable and uniquely my own. And in most cases the total cost was under $200. A budget-friendly makeover for sure! Be brave and experiment on your own, maybe in a guest bathroom or a child's bedroom. For some this kind of decoration isn't a great fit, but if you're like me and love those makeover shows, give it a try! You may discover an entirely new talent!

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