The most striking (and strikingly simple) way to transform a room is to add art to the walls, especially when painting and wallpaper aren't an option. Custom framing and original artwork can blow your decorating budget, but these DIY projects and ideas will give you maximum design impact with minimum wallet damage.
Textile Wall Art
Quickly add color and texture to bare walls by wrapping fabric, including scraps from other projects, around wooden artist's panels. No framing is necessary, and only one nail is required to hang them. To maximize the impact, cluster multiple panels covered in complementary prints.
1. Measure a piece of fabric that's 2 inches wider and longer than your panel. Cut out fabric.
2. Spray front of board with a light coat of adhesive. Lay panel on back of fabric.
3. Pull fabric taut, and fold in edges, securing with staples every few inches.
Connected Photo Frames
Create a custom piece by connecting frames with hardware called mending plates. Try monochromatic frames and black-and-white shots for a unified look, or an eclectic mix to liven things up.
2-inch mending plates (available at hardware stores)
1. First, lay out frames on the floor to find the arrangement you like. Then lay out frames, face down, in the pattern you choose.
2. Drill pilot holes for screws, then use mending plates to connect the frames in 2 places.
Framed Quilt Squares
Even beginners can sew these striking silk-taffeta squares, which resemble a deconstructed quilt. They are also an exploration of color, inspired by the work of Bauhaus designer and 20th-century abstract artist Josef Albers.
Modern white frame, 12 inches square
1. To make a 12-inch square, begin with a 4-inch square, then sew 2 1/2-inch-wide and 3-inch-wide strips in concentric squares around it. For the most dramatic effect, leave the frames glass-free.
Display a new print purchased at a flea market or a handful of plants collected on a walk without a lot of expense and fuss. Just have a glazier cut two panes of glass to the desired size, and ask him to hone the edges so they won't be sharp. Then sandwich your art between the two panes, and secure the sides with binder clips from a stationery store.
Picture an Easier Way
Give framed images a striking effect by hanging them above and below an invisible line. To unify the group, choose a single color for all frames and, if displaying photographs, stick with either all black-and-white or all color shots.
1. Unfurl a length of painters' tape (ours was 1 1/2 inches wide) horizontally across a wall, making sure tape is level.
2. Determine nail placement for frames above the midline by measuring from the bottom of a frame to its bracket. (If the frame hangs on wire, pull the wire taut, and measure accordingly.)
3. For frames below the midline, measure from the top of the frame to the bracket. Use additional strips of tape, positioned vertically, to create even spaces between pictures arranged next to each other.
4. When all frames are in place, remove tape from wall.
Love Photo Art
Turn Instagram photos into a sweet -- but not saccharine -- statement piece.
Materials 44 photos (look for ones that have a recurring color scheme, such as the general palette of blues shown here)
Made With Love template
1. For this quadtych, select 44 photos (look for ones that have a recurring color scheme, such as the general palette of blues shown here), and print them all as 2 1/4-inch squares. (If you use Printstagram to print from Instagram, they will automatically be this size.)
2. Then get the template for laying them out on four floating frames. The project is easy enough that you can update the photos seasonally.
Remnants of four graphic fabrics add drama when placed in metal frames and hung in a grid. When choosing fabrics, stick to bold, overscale patterns, since small florals will lose presence when viewed from afar.
More from Martha Stewart:
19 Tips for Perfect Laundry Every Time
24 Bathroom Organizing Tips You Haven't Thought Of
No Excuses: 30 Everyday Things You Should Know How to Do
12 Secrets for a Cleaning the Bathroom in Less Time
Get inspired by what other crafty folks are doing with their hands.