Adding flair to your surroundings doesn't have to break the bank -- and you don't have to be a prodigy to pull it off, either. Try these wallet-friendly ways to beautify your home, whether you're a domestic goddess or a casual craft enthusiast.
Clever Box Spring Cover
Find dust ruffles a bit fussy -- and costly? Dress up your bed by slipping a fitted sheet over the box spring for a streamlined look. Use a sheet that matches those on the bed, or set off a coverlet or duvet by choosing one in a matching pattern or contrasting hue.
Stylish Media Cabinet
Making a smarter media unit is about as easy as playing Tetris: Combine inexpensive, unfinished cubes to create a larger structure, and then treat it to a dose of style.
Basic storage cubes
Decorative knobs and feet (optional) with hardware
1. Remove all existing knobs and paint the cubes, inside and out. Experiment with colors to add visual interest. Let dry.
2. Install decorative knobs.
3. If desired, drill holes in the corners of the base of the bottom-most unit and screw on the decorative feet.
4. Stack the cubes to form one piece, placing lighter units on top of heavier ones.
5. To hide unsightly wires, drill a hole in the back of any cubes that will hold electronic equipment. Run the wires through the opening to an electrical outlet.
Inexpensive, mass-produced cabinets take on custom character with a few easy additions.
Here, four matching brackets -- two right-side up, two upside down -- expand the usefulness of a double-door cupboard. A narrow shelf tucked underneath is the perfect spot for spices. Below it, a dowel between the brackets holds towels. On top, a flat horizontal strip keeps platters in place. Once painted, the multipart cupboard looks like a single piece of cabinetwork.
Wallpapered Door Panels
Mimic the look of expensive tapestry on door panels with a much more budget-friendly material -- wallpaper.
Add a splash of personality to a lackluster work space by covering plain floating bookshelves with wallpaper. Measure the shelf, and cut the wallpaper slightly longer than shelf and wide enough to wrap around it with an overlap. Use wallpaper paste to affix the wallpaper to the shelf, pasting one side at a time. Cut slits into excess paper at ends, forming flaps; fold down, and affix with paste. Let dry completely, and hang shelves as usual.
Rather than buy new art for your walls, display your favorite patterned plates using these inconspicuous hangers.
If you're inspired to display your favorite plates on the wall, make sure the hangers that support them don't detract from their beauty. Unlike many store-bought hangers, the ones shown here can be made to accommodate any size or shape you want to display. Start with annealed iron wire -- we used 18-gauge. This wire is particularly soft and pliable and can easily be manipulated to fit around any plate. Using wire cutters, cut two pieces of wire 3 inches longer than the diameter of your plate (the plate shown here is 6 1/4 inches). Bend one piece into a V shape. Twist the second wire to make a loop in the center; this loop will be used to attach the hanger to a wall hook. Feed one end of the V-shaped wire through the loop. The V should hang upside down and rest on the bottom of the loop. Twist the V wire around itself once to secure. Position the wires on the plate so the top of the loop hits the edge of the plate's base. Holding the wires in position, wrap each one tightly around the rim to the front of the plate. Clip the ends of the wire to a uniform length. Using small needle-nose pliers, twist the ends around to form a decorative loop. For very large or heavy plates, additional wires may be necessary.
Instead of throwing out an old table with a scratched surface, give it new life with this simple linen-wrapping technique.
Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) cut to desired size of tabletop
Linen, cut a few inches larger than tabletop on all sides
1. Starch and press linen.
2. Apply poly-acrylic finish to one side of MDF with a bristle brush. While still wet, place MDF finish-side down on linen.
3. Turn MDF linen-side up. Iron dry, permanently adhering fabric to MDF.
4. Cut corners of linen at 45-degree angle; fold and crease fabric to make mitered corners. Apply poly-acrylic finish to edges; press fabric into finish and iron in place. Trim excess fabric with razor blade.
5. Apply topcoat of poly-acrylic finish to entire tabletop.
6. Apply wax with clean cloth; buff with felt to shine. Place tabletop on base.
Pretty Towel Holders
Beautify a corner of your kitchen by using vintage glass doorknobs (from flea markets and garage sales) as dish-towel hangers. The knobs here date from the 1850s through the 1940s. Small knobs were usually found on kitchen and medicine cabinets; the larger knobs probably came from dressers. It's difficult to find complete sets of vintage knobs unless you strip them from an old dresser; new sets have become widely available in retail stores and catalogues. But a mixed-up assortment can look just as nice, and individual pieces often turn up at flea markets and salvage yards. Attach knobs to the wall with screws at least 3 inches long, to prevent them from loosening. Screws should fit snugly and be tightened flush against the fronts of the knobs.
More from Martha Stewart Living:
19 Tips for Perfect Laundry Every Time
24 Bathroom Organizing Tips You Haven't Thought Of
10 Clever Ways to Save Space in Your Kitchen
12 Secrets for a Cleaning the Bathroom in Less Time