55 home decorating projects Dig into our DIY projects library for fun new ways to personalize your home Terrarium garden Decorative terrariums are hotter––and easier––than ever. Create your own tabletop garden in 30 minutes or less with these easy design ideas and instructions. More: 8 cool DIY terrariums Pinterest Shadowbox wall vase Turn a shadow-box frame into a vessel for your favorite things from the garden or flower shop. Flowers or cuttings ― such as these leucadendron blooms ― extend through the opening of a picture mat to create an organic work of 3-dimensional art. Group two or three frames on the wall or use one for a tabletop display. Change the background and cuttings for a new look any time you like. More: How to make a shadowbox vase Painted linen napkins Use bright patterns as inspiration for an easy DIY gift or new addition to your tabletop. More: How to make painted linen napkins Painted wooden napkin rings Put a ring on it--a hand-painted wooden napkin ring, that is. More: How to paint your own wooden napkin rings DIY leather placemats & coasters Make your own placemats and coasters--leather is surprisingly easy to work with. More: How to make painted leather placemats & coasters Tabletop twigscape Create a mini forest for your table from elegant branches and twigs. Here, tree-like twigs edge a stream bed of green pebbles running down the center of a sealed 30-inch piece of redwood. More: Make tabletop forests Easy eco table A ready-made base makes this side-table project especially simple: Just add your own top. For our base, we selected a small side table with a 22-inch-square top from Ikea's Lack series (from $7.99, available in 13 colors; 800/434-4532). For the surface, we chose Kirei Board - an environmentally friendly, plywoodlike product from Japan (kireiusa.com or 619/236-9924 for dealers). More: How to make this side table Curated children's artwork Unite kids’ drawings as a collection by using a common color scheme and a grid of frames. Scan sketches and drawings, and then use a digital graphics program (like Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop) to add color backgrounds and swap some of the dark lines for white. (You can create a similar effect with colored construction paper and pens in white and dark ink.) White Ribba frames from Ikea ($6.99 per 7- by 91/2-inch frame; ikea.com). Paint a geometric pattern Repainting a room? Be inventive with a geometric paint pattern that's bolder than wallpaper. With one template, you can create four dramatically different looks. More: 4 stylish geometric paint patterns Colander kitchen light Give the humble cooking tool a new identity with these six easy ideas for DIY hanging lamps. More: 6 DIY kitchen lighting ideas Wallpaper the stairs (or ceiling) Today's stylish designs look great in unexpected places. Get four off-the-wall ideas, including the stairs--and the ceiling! More: Creative spots for wallpaper Carved candles The glow of pillar candles adds warmth and romance to any setting. Give pillars your own style with this simple decorating technique, using a single tool and some paint. The flickering candle flames on the painted, carved pillars create a beautiful play of light and color, accentuating your design. Arrange the candles in groups on a mantelpiece or table, or give them as gifts. More: How to create carved candles Decorate with travel photos We all love revisiting vacations past by displaying fabulous travel snapshots in our homes. While it’s easy to get high-quality prints of digital photos to frame, you can be even more creative with how you flaunt your travel pics. Get those shots of your favorite vacation moments off the hard drive and onto your walls, pillows, shower curtain, and more. More: How to decorate with your favorite travel photos Driftwood coatrack Turn a scavenged piece of driftwood into an organic-chic entryway rack in 30 minutes or less. (For regulations on collecting driftwood, check with your local state beach authority.) 1. Our piece of driftwood happened to lie flat against the wall; if yours doesn’t, use a band saw to cut off one-third of the driftwood lengthwise. 2. With four round hook screws (available at home improvement stores) and a handheld electric drill, drill four holes into the bottom of your driftwood, angling them forward slightly so the hooks won’t lean against the wall. Use a drill bit the width of your screw’s shank. 3. With the help of a wrench, screw the hook ends into the wood, tightening them so they all face forward. 4. Secure your driftwood to a wall using two long screws, spaced so each is secured in a wall stud. Framed wallpaper Recycle wallpaper samples or remnants by turning them into a striking room accent. Patterns with strong, broad designs work best for the quadrant of frames pictured here. We love the bold motifs of Arts and Crafts–inspired lines in hues that evoke the natural fall palette. Choose four simple frames of the same size and cut your remnant or sample to fit. Frame each piece as you would a photograph and mount on the wall, using a ruler to ensure even spacing between each. You can also frame four different patterns in complementary colors; experiment to find thebest arrangement. Birchwood Frieze in Thatch from Bradbury & Bradbury Art Wallpapers ($3 for 12- by 15-in. sample, or $42 per yard; www.bradbury.com or 707/746-1900). Handmade travel candle Repurpose candy or mint tins as candles: Simply melt wax and add a wick (available at craft stores). More: How to make a handmade travel candle Indoor dish garden Bring the outdoors in with this cute and crafty succulent garden planted in a dish. More: How to make a succulent garden in a dish Hand-printed invitations, gift wrap, and placecards Get the look of exquisite hand-printed invitations, wrapping paper, and placecards—without a spendy custom design. You can fancy up a dinner party with a few easy techniques. More: Hand-printing designs Make a stylish headboard Ready to give your bed a fresh new look? Try your hand at one of these stylish headboard designs with fabric, paper, wood, and more.More: 24 ideas for headboards Map art 1. Photocopy. Choose a map of your area (or download one from the Internet). At a copy shop, photocopy and enlarge a segment that includes your town. (Option: Play with the color on the copy machine—try a blue hue, a green hue, etc.) 2. Spray-mount. Adhere your enlarged map segment on foam-core board (corkboard works too). 3. Personalize. Label meaningful landmarks with strips of paper and pushpins. Mason jar bathroom display Turn everyday bathroom items into a pristine vignette with a simple, soothing feel. Our inspiration comes from a project created by four interior-design students at San Francisco’s Academy of Art University. Fill clear glass jars with pretty monochromatic bath supplies, like cotton balls, swabs, sponges, and soaps. Leave space in between for small scented glass votives, then light candles and breathe deeply. Souvenir jar Looking for a good way to display keepsakes collected on your vacation? Here's an easy and attractive method. Remember the dioramas you made in grade school? This is the updated version—we call it a 3-D scrapbook. Keep it simple by sticking to a single theme or palette. Spray-mount photos to cardboard before attaching them to sticks (we used barbecue skewers broken into different lengths). Stenciled shade Add a springtime accent to your window with this crafty weekend project. More: How to stencil a shade Craft paper candle holders Turn eye-catching craft papers into festive bases for pillar candles in six easy steps: 1. Have a piece of lumber cut down to your desired candleholder size. We started with a 4-foot 4-by-4 (more than enough to make 8 to 10 candle- holders from 3 to 6 inches tall). 2. Sand edges of cut sides. 3. Measure and cut a piece of craft paper to wrap around all four sides of the pillar lengthwise. Trace around the bottom of the pillar for a square piece of paper to cover the top. 4. Standing the pillar upright, use a brush to cover the four sides with a thin coat of matte-finish Mod Podge or decoupage glue (available at most art and craft stores) and carefully adhere the paper. Smooth surfaces and let dry 15 to 20 minutes. Trim any excess paper with a razor blade. 5. Apply a thin coat of Mod Podge to the top of the wood and lay your square paper to fit. Let dry. 6. Apply a thin coat of Mod Podge to seal the pillar, covering all surfaces. Dry completely, then set a candle on top. Transform a chair Turn a drab thrift-store chair into a stylish accent for any room in your home. All it takes is some paint, fabric, basic supplies, and a free weekend. More: How to transform a chair Tropical tabletop Bring vibrant Hawaiian florals to your landlocked backyard. Inspired by the outdoor tables at Buzz’s Original Steak House in Kailua, Oahu, we created the hibiscus pattern shown here. For our enameled metal table, we used Liquitex Glossies high-gloss acrylic enamel paint (www.liquitex.com). 1. Visit www.sunset.com/hawaiiantable to download our floral template. Depending on your table size, use a copy machine to enlarge or reduce template onto heavy paper or cardstock. 2. Cut out pattern pieces with scissors or a utility knife. 3. Arrange petal pieces on tabletop as desired. 4. Dip a small paintbrush in paint and lightly trace around the outside edge of each pattern. Remove pieces. 5. Apply a thick coat of paint (for petals, start near flower’s center and fill in one at a time). Let dry, then apply one or two more coats. 6. Once petals’ final coat is dry, arrange flower centers, then repeat steps 4 and 5. 7. Once centers are dry, arrange stamen pieces and repeat steps 4 and 5; freehand the stamen dots. Vibrant placecards These natural table settings go against the grain with hues inspired by winter citrus and the blues of the Pacific. More: How to create colorful, natural placecards Vintage family calendar Use old family photos to create a calendar with a vintage look. 1. Choose 12 seasonally appropriate images. 2. Take your images to a copy or photo shop and have them enlarged to 8 by 10 inches and reproduced in sepia tone. 3. Align 14 sheets of 11- by 17-inch card stock; drill a hole through the center of the stack, about half an inch down from an 11-inch edge. Have the stack spiral-bound at the copy shop (ask for binding that allows you to lay the pages flat). 4. Create your calendar grid using Microsoft Word or a similar program and print out the 12 months on stationery. Trim just inside the outer borders so each sheet measures about 5 3⁄4 by 10 inches. 5. Using acid-free scrapbook tape, attach the appropriate photo and calendar month to the bound 11- by 17-inch pages, leaving one page for the cover and one for the back. Painted party glassware Perk up your table by turning ordinary wine goblets into stylish geometric art glass. It just takes a little glass paint and a stencil or template. Designer Sarah Caska used a fine-tip black permanent marker and enamel paint formulated for glass to create these Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired designs. The cost was about $36 for 8 decorated glasses, including stemware. More: How to paint glassware Fake a Roman shade In rooms where privacy isn't important, you can give windows all the dressing they need with shorter faux Roman shades. They aren't full-length, so these tricksters require far less fabric than the real McCoy and can often be made from inexpensive remnants. More: How to fake a Roman shade Galvanized metal table This sleek indoor-outdoor dining table is a particularly simple woodworking project because key steps like crafting the legs and the metal top are done for you. To make the tabletop, start by edging a rectangular piece of plywood with 2-by-2s. Take it to a sheet metal fabricator and ask the shop to make a covering that fits over it like a shoe-box lid. Then glue the metal top to the plywood, sand and wax it, and add a set of ready-made legs. More: Get the complete how-to Make a personalized paperweight Turn smooth river rocks into a stylish paperweight with white rub-on transfers. Or turn it into refrigerator art by adding a small magnet to the back. More: DIY monogrammed paperweight Artful lampshade A plain lampshade becomes instant art when you add a paper design to the inside lining. The design remains invisible until you turn on the light. Click here for our template. More: Make an artful lampshade Votive chandelier Create your own romantic lighting for an outdoor dinner party by suspending votives (we used mini recycled-glass tea light lanterns) at varying heights from low-hanging branches. Use clear fishing line and be sure to keep candles a safe distance from the leaves. For a stained-glass version, cover chandelier lanterns with tissue paper and get a soft glow. Don’t be afraid to try different patterns, abstract shapes, and colors. We designed ours as a nod to artist Mark Rothko. Supplies: Ruler, pencil, scissors, tissue paper, small foam brush, Yasutomo Nori or similar paste, and glass lanterns or jars 1. Measure and cut tissue paper into desired shapes and sizes (we used long strips for easy application). 2. Dip foam brush into paste. Holding a piece of tissue paper against the outside of the lantern, paint an even coat of paste onto tissue paper and adhere to glass. 3. Repeat until lantern is covered. Let dry overnight, then hang. Tip: Keep lanterns away from moisture. Reinvent thrift store candlesticks Turn mismatched candlesticks into a fresh new set by painting them an unexpected color (in this case, high-gloss indigo). 1. Remove any wax residue with paint thinner and a clean cloth. 2. Mist one coat of spray paint primer for metal onto the candlesticks, holding the can 10 to 12 inches away. Cover evenly with paint. 3. Once dry, spray two light coats of spray paint for metal. Hold the can at a distance to avoid drips. Cover the detail grooves evenly. We used: Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch sandable spray primer in white and Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch gloss spray paint in navy blue. Make a truffle box A gift of chocolate takes on new significance when it comes from your own kitchen. These intense, cocoa-dusted truffles are actually simple to make ― so simple, in fact, that their flavor depends entirely on the ingredients you start with. A good-quality chocolate is worth the expense; choose one you would enjoy eating on its own. Then wrap it in a truffle box you can make in 3 easy steps. More: How to make a truffle box Etch glass There is something magical about etching glass ― the process turns plain glass pieces into decorative objects in minutes. The secret is etching cream. You simply apply it to the glass, and the surface turns into a translucent white. The results are beautiful, subtle, and lasting. More: How to etch glass Paint a floor canvas A cool floor covering made from painted canvas is simple to make and surprisingly durable―and it adds instant graphic punch to your room. You can paint one freehand or work with a favorite printed design. More: See how to make this floor canvas project Nature's stained glass Chinese pistache leaves are translucent enough to glow like stained glass when lit from behind. To celebrate the vivid beauty of fall leaves indoors, display them on simple glass hurricane candle holders. Gather leaf cuttings from your garden (ginkgo and Japanese maple are other good choices). Press them in a book overnight to keep them from crinkling, then use one or two Glue Dots on the back of each stem, affixing each leaflet to the outside surface of the glass. Make over a dresser Remake a dresser with paint, a little wood putty, new drawer pulls, and fresh detailing. We found this one on Craigslist, painted it black with grey accents, and added Mission-style square oak knobs. More: See how to remake a dresser Make a message board Communicating with a busy household is much easier when your message center is tailor-made to fit your space and your needs. This customizable message board project combines three different surfaces ― chalkboard paint, magnetic paint, and cork ― with a frame that you paint to blend in with your kitchen. More: How to make this message board Make a spa gift basket A water hyacinth basket ($12; pier1.com) is the natural choice to contain homemade DIY stress relievers like a lavender sachet and bath scrub, and purchased items you can choose with your friend in mind. More: How to make a spa gift basket Turn CD cases into frames Castoff CD cases are the perfect size for creating a quilt-like grid collection of landscape photos. From the book Photocraft: Cool Things to Do with the Pictures You Love: Scan or crop your images to the size of a CD case (5 3/8 in. wide by 4 5/8 in. high) then print on good photopaper and trim. We recommend using standard (not slim) cases. Discard plastic inserts. 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). Make a memory box table Turn a deep photo frame and similar-sized side table into a venue for celebrating treasured keepsakes. More: How to make this memory box table Make your own designer bouquet Treat yourself to colorful bouquets and arrangements from a mini flower studio you can create at home. All you need is a sink, a little counter space, and a few essential tools. See what you can do with a single bloom, and how to turn just about any vintage vessel into a vase. (Tip #1: Start with the freshest flowers you can find.) More: Flower shop secrets 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. DIY workspace To create your own instant workspace anywhere, put a flat birch hollow-core door atop two adjustable sawhorses. Cover the door with self-healing vinyl board cover (available from art and drafting supply stores). The closer you can get the board cover to the exact size of your door, the better. Stencil a basic measuring system onto the board cover, and you'll never need to hunt down a measuring stick. Time: Four hours plus drying time Cost: About $175 Make glowing goblets Turn old goblets and trophies into sparkling candle holders. First, clean them well with with metal polish and a clean cloth. Fill with Microwaveable Soy Wax for Containers (by Yaley; $6.99 for 1 lb.; from joann.com). Add a Pre-Waxed Medium Bleached Wick with Wick Clip (by Yaley; $2.99 for six; from joann.com) to make elegant, long-burning votives. More: Get our step-by-step instructions Star-spangled pinwheels These patriotic pinwheels are easy to make and fun to see spinning in the breeze on the Fourth of July. All you need are a few basic materials. More: How to make party pinwheels Hand-printed gift wrap With simple cookie cutters and paint, you can make your own distinctive wrapping paper. Just dip the cutting edge of a cookie cutter (we used snowflakes and scalloped circles) into white heavy body acrylic paint (sold at art stores in 4-oz. tubs). Stamp the cookie cutter onto a sheet of colorful paper, starting at a top corner. Create your own patterns by either joining or overlapping the shapes. If the paint is too thick or lumpy, add a few drops of water and stir gently until thinned and smooth. Easy fall decorating: DIY art from autumn leaves Instant leaf prints Bring nature's magic indoors with this simple project: Just gather a few of your favorite fall leaves or flowers, flatten them under a book, then copy them with a color photocopier. Glue prints to canvas-covered boards (about $2 in art supply stores). Glue a small inexpensive wood frame to the back to act as hanger; it also sets off your print from the wall. More: How to make a leaf print Create a console table Turn castoff bedside tables into a stylish console. To make this one, we removed the drawer handles, lightly sanded all surfaces, and applied one coat of primer and three coats of Benjamin Moore’s high-gloss Bunny Gray paint (2124-50). We painted the tabletops with a chevron pattern using a stencil fashioned from 1- and 2-in.-wide painter’s tape. More: Instructions and painting pattern Make star luminarias White bags and vellum stars make festive outdoor lanterns. Use a star stencil and colored vellum to make red and blue stars. Glue them to white paper bags. For beautiful (and safe) illumination, use a small tap light instead of a candle. Make a memory book Create a journal, scrapbook, sketch pad, or guest book with illustration board covered in your favorite paper or fabric. Let the future contents guide your design, using a kitchen motif for a cookbook, or a pocket with pencil for a travel journal. Add as many blank pages as you like. You'll end up with a personal gift or keepsake for about $20. More: How to make a memory book Plant a picture Air plants: They’re almost a work of art in themselves. A collection of frames from Santa Monica designer Josh Rosen lets you treat them as such. Mount one or two air plants (tillandsias) into the rust-proof aluminum frame for a minimalist look, or “a bunch to create a dense painting,” he says. Just hang the frame in bright filtered light and dunk in water overnight once a week. AirplantFrame: white, black, or orange; from $90/11 in. by 11 in.; airplantman.com 3 more ways to hang tillandsias Bike wheel. The crisscrossing spokes are perfectly positioned for tillandsias’ hooklike leaves. Hung above a bed, it’s basically the urban gardener’s dream catcher. Cooling rack. The same space that lets air move under fresh-baked cookies is good for tillandsias. “I see the plants glued in shells or shoved into terrariums,” says Rosen. “But they need air circulation.” Branch. Loosely mount tillandsias on branches with fishing wire. If the plants thrive, they’ll actually root themselves around the wood over time.