Uncommon DIY Uses for Common Household Items

Everyone loves a good DIY project. They save money, are often easy to change when the styles change, and give you a feeling of accomplishment (look what I did all by myself!) Trouble is, many DIY home decorating projects look… like you did it yourself. And unless you’re a professional DIYer, that’s not usually a good thing.

If you’re a hopeless DIY enthusiast, but your skills are rather lacking, never fear! These suggestions are easy enough for even the clumsiest decorator because they use ready-made materials. Do one, some, or all of them and be amazed at how your house transforms (without emptying your wallet)!

Creative uses for…


No, not the wallpaper that your grandma had in her house. Not the ugly wallpaper that you couldn’t wait to tear off of the ceiling in your dining room (whose idea was that?). Not the wallpaper that’s impossible to hang straight, making you look like Lucy and Ethel when they “remodel” the Ricardos’ apartment on I Love Lucy.



Nope, wallpaper is one of the new easy-to-use decorating tools that’s cropping up in interesting places. You can now purchase self-adhesive wallpaper or easy-stick decals for less permanence. Use it to…

…back bookshelves or cabinets for a whimsical touch:


…add character to a room, especially one that you’d prefer to decorate on a temporary basis (like a nursery):
…refresh furniture:
…or brighten walls (frame and hang squares of it) and/or staircases (cut to fit stair risers) – without the commitment:
A bookshelf can be incredibly versatile, regardless of size. Bookshelf headboards are wildly popular:
But I must admit, I don’t like them. The idea is great, but as someone who reads in bed it looks uncomfortable to me. Plus, I was raised in earthquake country and am hard-wired to get nervous with something  potentially concussion-causing over my head. I’d rather turn a short bookcase into a night table – basically, I would love a bed setup like the one pictured but without the shelves directly over the bed.
A slim bookshelf can also be hung horizontally for media storage; a sturdy one can be turned sideways and placed beneath a window as a combination window seat and reading nook.
Fabric furnishings
No budget for window treatments other than paper blinds? Have no fear! Intrepid bloggers Amanda Carol and Megan from HoneyWe’reHome provide us with easy step-by-step guidance on turning fabric shower curtains (a lot cheaper than drapes!) into window curtains!
I can’t believe that these are shower curtains! I don’t usually sew anything more than a button but these look doable even for me.
Another fun and unexpected fabric placement (suggested to us by one of our loyal readers!): hang a striped awning over your fireplace (or a kitchen window) for a refreshing bistro-style look. Amy Trenton, thanks for the tip – please send us a picture so we can put it here for everyone to admire!
Old furniture
If you have dated or just plain ugly furniture around the house (yeah… like that awful dresser that the previous owner left behind), don’t sell it, junk it, or give it away – repurpose it!
Use a coat rack (paint it to match) for hanging jewelry, hats, or purses in your bedroom, foyer, or front closet:
Turn a dresser or even a bathroom vanity into a perfectly matched, portable (if desired) island or bar in a smaller kitchen – you can always take it out if you need the space or decide you’re sick of it! (Click here for a how-to; this one’s for more experienced or talented DIYers.)
For a smaller project, turn an old dresser drawer front into a handy pegboard:
See how here – it’s easy! Add some of your favorite knobs or hooks if you don’t like the one on your drawer:
These hand-painted hooks by Hickory Hardware are my favorites for kids’ room and playroom storage:
alligator_hooktiger_hook      elephant_hook              monkey_hook
Now I feel like going around the house and sprucing everything up! Have you done any of these projects? What kind of DIYer are you? Please send pictures of your creatively designed DIY homes!

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