Back each photo with cardboard or foam board and snap the cases shut. Attach them to the wall with 3-inch strips of sticky-back hood-and-loop fasteners (such as Velcro).
16 of 21Rob D. Brodman
Wrapping paper becomes placemat
Often think wrapping paper is too beautiful to recycle? It’s easy to turn the prints into placemats (or desk blotters!) with a copy shop laminating machine.
How-to: At a copy shop, use a paper cutter to trim paper to 10 ½ by 16 ½ inches for each placemat. Laminate each piece, leaving ½ inch or more of plastic laminate on each side. Using a paper cutter, trim each side of the placemat, keeping ¼ inch of plastic laminate as a border. With an edge trimmer or scissors, round each corner.
17 of 21Photo by Thomas J. Story
Turn a drawer organizer into a bento-box guest tray
Tuck a drawer organizer into a storage tote with some thoughtful amenities to make your houseguests feel like royalty. (Be forewarned: They’ll be eager for a return invite.)
How-to: Slip a drawer organizer into a fabric-covered box or other storage tote and stock it with a few travel-size essentials in coordinating materials and hues. Tie a washcloth with colorful string; wrap a bar of soap with wide ribbon; use letter stamps and a label sticker to personalize a scented candle.
Turn your wood burning fireplace into a decor statement―and trade air-polluting wood smoke for a little ambience.
19 of 21Thomas J. Story
Vintage cafeteria tray becomes collection display
A collection of found objects become a museum-quality vignette in a tray nostalgic of elementary school years.
20 of 21Jeffery Cross
Plates become wall art
Celebrate a mismatched but beloved collection by arranging them in an asymmetrical wavelike pattern on a plain white wall.
The blank canvas of the white wall allows the dishes to pop without competing for attention, but a colored wall works too, as long as the hues are complementary.
Try the same technique with themed collections such as vintage postcards or old 45 rpm records.
21 of 21Thomas J. Story
Industrial light fixture becomes chic pot
Unwanted light fixtures (and other vessels) can become plant vessels with a contemporary edge.
Be sure your object can sit upright (flat bottom). Because there’s no drainage hole, we recommend using plants that don’t demand much water.
No such containers around your house? Try salvage yards for your own vessel to repurpose.