15 Simple DIY Interior Design Ideas
September 8, 2020 Cristina Villalón
Repurposed lampshade fixtures.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR |  Cristina Villalón is the Co-Founder and Lead Designer at Álvarez-Díaz & Villalón. She directs both the Interior Design and Visual Merchandising divisions while overseeing all decisions made on a day-to-day basis at the firm.

Spending more time at home gives us the opportunity to personalize our spaces.

If you feel like taking on a new interior design project, here are 15 simple DIY ideas we found that you can easily try at home.

1. RE-DESIGN YOUR BOOKSHELVES

Are your bookshelves cluttered or just don’t know how to design them? Start by deciding what style you want your bookshelf to be. The most common styles are classic and eclectic.

An eclectic style bookshelf has layers of color that start from the back to the front, colorful art pieces in the back, books and accessories. Make sure to distribute the colors evenly throughout the shelves.

Eclectic style bookshelf.

A classic style bookshelf contains a mix of whites, creams, tans, and some black for contrast. Make sure that you add accents in different materials such as ceramic, glass, leather, stone, matte, or metallic to keep things interesting. Alternate shelves of standing and stacked books, and focus on symmetry, with larger books on the outer ends and smaller ones towards the center. Here’s an example of a classic bookshelf we designed for our Laguna Plaza project.

Classic style bookshelf.

2. DECORATE YOUR JARS

Personalize your jars by decorating them.

  • Upcycle any clear glass jar.
  • Use an oil-based paint marker to draw on the jar – shapes, flowers, quotes or anything you want.
  • You can also decorate your jar by painting on it, adding ribbons and other materials to it.

When the jar is complete, use it to pour your favorite drinks, to display handpicked flowers, to store small items or use it as a pencil holder. Click here to make Bohemian Inspired jars!

3. CREATE YOUR OWN VASE

Speaking of flowers, another way you can display them is by adding them to an unused pitcher or teacup.

  • Simply take any old pitcher or teacup and coat it with fresh paint of your choosing.
  • Wait for it to dry, and paint or use a paint marker to create your own design on it.

And just like that, you have a new vase to showcase those beautiful flowers.

4. FRAME YOUR TEXTILES

Want to easily add décor to your barren walls? Just take any leftover textile and frame it. A vintage scarf or old rug for example, may be just what you need to brighten your home and add a bit of retro design to your blank walls. Now you will have a chic and unique conversation piece! Here are different ways you can frame.

5. TURN IT INTO GOLD

Gold leaf is gold that’s been hammered into a thin foil and is usually sold in sheets or rolls. It’s often used to decorate picture frames, books, plates, and other objects. This is a great way to turn any basic object into a work of art with a gold or silver leaf application. Display your gold leafed objects in an open frame or space. Don’t know how to gold leaf? Click here to master this easy technique!

6. REVAMP WITH WALLPAPER

Use your leftover wallpapers to bring life to furniture and objects. You can use it to transform your stairs, drawers, candles, books, tables and more.

  • Measure the furniture or object you want to revamp with wallpaper.
  • Use that measurement to draw the measured area on the back of the leftover wallpaper.
  • Cut the drawn area from the wallpaper and paste it do the desired object using wallpaper paste.
  • Finally, use a plastic wallpaper smoother to remove any bubbles or ripples, then wipe off excess paste with a damp sponge and let it dry.

You can make cute wallpaper-lined trays from HGTV Magazine.

7. UPCYCLE YOUR WINE CORKS

Quarantine has you drinking more wine than usual? Take your wine corks and put them to use! You’d be surprised how many things you can craft with some wine corks. You can use your leftover wine corks to create coasters, garden markers, magnets, a backsplash, trivets and more. Here are 24 ways you can easily repurpose wine corks.

8. PAINT BASKETS

Customize a woven basket by adding bold geometric designs in a vibrant color.

  • Add tape around the basket to create areas that will be painted on the basket.
  • Paint the basket with vibrant colors of your choosing and let the paint dry.
  • Once dry, remove painter’s tape to reveal the lines and your brand-new colorful basket.

Learn how to customize a natural seagrass basket here.

9. BECOME AN ARTIST

Create your very own artwork to display it in your home space.

  • Use a pencil to draw the design you wish to paint on the canvas and select the paint colors you want to use.
  • If you don’t know what to paint just create an abstract artwork.

You can also follow this step-by-step guide on how to create a lined painting like the one shown in the image below. Who says you need to be a painter to create your own masterpiece?

Brushstrokes paint.

10. CUSTOMIZE NAPKINS

Still inspired by paint? Then why not give life to plain cloth napkins?

  • Mix paint with fabric medium fluid in order to make the paint machine-washable.
  • Then, using a small paintbrush, paint your desired design on the napkin and let it dry.
  • Iron the underside of the napkin to help the paint set and you’re finished.

If you want to try with linen napkins click here, for cloth napkins click here.

11. LIVEN YOUR LAMPSHADE

Create a statement with custom lampshades. If you have a plain lampshade you want to change up, you can add any unused materials around the shade. Leftover wallpaper, fabrics, ribbons, cardstock, yarn, tassels, pictures and more can be easily added to any lampshade. Here’s how you can make a simple ribbon lampshade.

Throwback to our neighborhood tavern project, El Barril. We bought some pretty basic shades, embellished them with tassels and fringe and created a composition for a saloon feel:

Upcycled lamp shade fixtures.

12. MAKE A RAG WREATH

Want to create something with your children? Upcycle old bits of fabric into a cute door wreath.

  • Gather a variety of fabric scraps in appealing colors and patterns and cut them into small strips.
  • Simply knot fabric strips one at a time around a large ring or hoop and pack the knots together as closely as possible so none of the hoop is visible.
  • You can hang it from the door using a ribbon or bow if you’d like.

As a great project for kids or beginning crafters, this easy-to-make fabric wreath requires no sewing.

13. CREATE THE FLYING BOOK LOOK

Don’t know what to do with old and unused books? Then create the look of flying-open book.

  • Simply take your unused books and add hot glue to different areas of back-to-back open pages to create the look of motion.
  • Once the glue has dried, group several books together and attach them to the wall with screws through the back of each book cover.

Now you will have your books “flying” across the room like this.

14. FRAME YOUR PAINT SWATCHES

If you have paint swatches lying around the house, why not put them to good use?

  • Organize the swatches into groups by color and conceptualize an overall look or design based on the size, scale, shape and proportion of the swatches.
  • Attach the swatches to a poster board using double-sided tape and place it into a frame.

You can create a gradient effect by lining up the colors and differentiating them by levels of saturation or by cutting the swatches into circles.

Closeup of paint swatches.

15. TRANSFORM YOUR TIN CANS

Looking for a nice place to stash small items? Create cute, custom holders with a few recycled tins cans. 

  • Paint or decorate the tin cans with tape, stickers or tags.
  • Use temporary decorations so you can change up the look at a moment’s notice.
  • Hang or place each tin can onto the desired space.

You can also create tin utensil holders for your kitchen like this.

Hand painted tin can.

As you can see it’s pretty simple to create your own amazing décor. These DYI ideas are easy to do, cost-effective, reusable, and also make great gifts. Ready, set, get crafting!

FURTHER READING: 10 WAYS TO MAKE YOUR OUTDOOR SPACE MORE ENJOYABLE

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