Author Archives: Sara Carpenter

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Weekend Projects: 5 DIY Designs for a Custom End Table

Rather than treat the modest yet versatile end table as an afterthought, give this workhorse of the living room all the attention it deserves.

We entrust a great deal of responsibility to the end table, an unsung hero of the living room furniture ensemble. A versatile workhorse, the end table performs such non-trivial duties as supporting coffee mugs, holding reading material, and keeping remote controls from vanishing under seat cushions. Despite its day-to-day importance, we don’t give much thought to the end table. Though we might spend weeks or even months shopping for the perfect sofa, the end table often enters the space as an afterthought. Also at issue is the question that eternally complicates one’s choice of an end table: Is it the right height? See, this is why it makes so much sense to undertake a DIY end table. By taking matters into your own hands, you can tailor the piece to your exact specifications, with no sacrifice in the style department. Scroll down now to see five favorite DIY end table projects you can either replicate or use as the inspiration for your own design.

 

1. PIPE UP

Photo: stylebyemilyhenderson.com

Perfect for a small room, appearing to occupy almost zero floor space, this svelte and brassy DIY end table on only two main components—copper pipes and leather strips. Furniture retailers sell similarly industrial chic pieces for hundreds, but you follow the lead of Emily Henderson to make yours for much less.

 

2. CUT TO FIT

Photo: abeautifulmess.com

The combination of rolled aluminum sheet metal and a cut-to-size wood top creates this lightweight, high-impact DIY end table from A Beautiful Mess. Stain the wood and spray-paint the metal to create a unified look, or give a different hue to each part of the piece. It’s such an easy project, you may be tempted to do two.

 

3. STRAP IN

Photo: matsutakeblog.blogspot.se

Having struggled to find a nightstand that would reach the top of her bed, Katie of Matsutake finally resolved to DIY the solution. Here’s what she came up with. It’s a modern martini-style table, with a cardboard tube at its core and vinyl strips manipulated to form the hourglass shape that so uniquely defines the project.

 

4. HIDE OUT

Photo: ashbeedesign.com

Multipurpose furniture can be as stylish as it is functional. From Ashbee Design, this DIY end table serves both as a sofa-side surface and a storage place for such things as table runners and month-old magazines. These stay out of sight when they aren’t needed but remain easily within reach, even at a moment’s notice.

 

5. SEE SAW

Photo: thegoldensycamore.com

For a DIY end table like this one, you’ll need to negotiate only one slightly tough step: sawing out twin squares of butcher block. The rest is a matter of simple assembly, which The Golden Sycamore makes very easy with her detailed instructions. Once finished, you can rest a celebratory drink on your sturdy new table!


Weekend Projects: 5 Easy and Creative DIY Lamps

There are roughly five billion ways to make a lamp. Some are quite challenging and require an expert's hand, but many are easy enough for a novice to do within the space of single weekend. Here are some of our favorite simple DIY lighting projects.

In any room, in any house, lighting is key. Besides its practical importance, lighting is one of the main factors influencing the ambiance of a space. With insufficient lighting, an otherwise cheerful living area might feel oppressively gloomy. On the opposite end of spectrum—pun!—an overload of light in the bedroom would make it virtually impossible to relax or get really comfortable. If you’ve spent any time shopping around for the right fixture, you’ve probably discovered what is for me one of life’s great frustrations: nice-looking lighting costs a pretty penny. But if you pursue any of the following project ideas, you can design and make a lamp on your own, without spending much money or time. Yes!

 

1. ROPE IT OFF

Photo: blogalacart.com

Ash from Blog A La Cart came across an “epic ball of repurposed rope” online, and she bought it, not with a specific project in mind, but with confidence that one day, she’d find a way to celebrate the material’s patent awesomeness. Ultimately, she used it to make this lamp shade.

 

2. GET RESOURCEFUL 

Photo: apartmenttherapy.com

Look for opportunities to veer away from the traditional bulb-within-a-lampshade arrangement. One surefire way to achieve a unique design is by repurposing an old container or vessel as the base for the lamp you are making. Dabney did so with a candle holder; the result is so very cool.

 

3. BOTTLE IT UP

Photo: dearemmeline.blogspot.com

Light up your living room with a lamp made from an unlikely object—an oversize glass jug. Search for one at local thrift stores and flea markets, if you don’t have the perfect specimen collecting dust in your attic. Meantime, check out Dear Emmeline to see how she managed to make hers.

 

4. BE GRATE

Photo: camillestyles.com

Rather than hit the stores to seek out a new lighting fixture, why not shop your own home? Survey what items you’re not using, and consider which would lend themselves to a second life as a lamp. Claire had the brilliant idea of capitalizing on the hollow middle of a cheese grater!

 

5. TRANSFORM A VASE

Photo: brightboldbeautiful.com

Chances are you’ve got more than a few vases you rarely use; consider transforming one into a lamp. Of course, vases come in a nearly infinite variety, with different designs requiring slightly different DIY strategies. But for a general idea of the process, visit Bright, Bold & Beautiful.


Weekend Projects: 5 Unique and Easy DIY Pendant Lights for Any Room

Pendant lights are functional, versatile, style-laden, and occasionally pricey. Make your own by purchasing a lighting kit and tricking it out with one of these creative pendant ideas.

Nobody wants to spend time in a room with bad lighting, but how do you avoid it? Well, there’s strength in numbers: Outfit each important space with a variety of fixtures, so you can always match the room lighting to the activity you are doing. Pendants, one of the most popular types of fixtures, are also among the most practical, because they can provide either task lighting or general-purpose overhead illumination. They’re often stylish too, introducing a pop of personality to the decor. The downside? Pendants can be expensive. But if you like taking matters into your own hands, creating a DIY pendant light doesn’t need to be a costly affair. And the the results, as demonstrated by the favorite five examples below, can often be nothing short of extraordinary.

 

1. GO GLOBAL

DIY Pendant Light - Globe

Photo: homeiswhatyoumakeit.com

If you’ve got an old globe in your attic—or if you recently bought one at a thrift store—why not refashion it into a DIY pendant light? All you need is a lighting kit, the kind sold at local hardware stores. Halve the globe along the equator (where else?), then decorate the cut edge with ball fringe—or don’t! The choice is yours.

 

2. ARRANGE FLOWERS

DIY Pendant Light - Flowers

Photo: papernstichblog.com

Here’s a project sure to provoke conversation among the guests at your next party. It’s a DIY pendant light festooned with flowers. To make yours, start out with a wire basket, then use wire to attach fresh or faux flora. Add a light socket and a low-wattage bulb before hanging the assembly over the bar or buffet table. Wow.

 

3. SAVE PAPER

DIY Pendant Light - Paper

Photo: designsponge.com

The unique look of this striking DIY pendant light springs from an unlikely source: scraps of paper. Because wastepaper comes in so many colors and textures, there’s virtually no limit to the designs you might achieve with a set of basic supplies—scissors, glue, and a simple, dime-a-dozen white lampshade.

 

4. RUN WIRES 

DIY Pendant Light - Wire

Photo: abeautifulmess.com

Cage lights are a common sight on construction sites, and they are also popping up in the homes of those who love industrial-style decorating. Here, A Beautiful Mess offers a modern, minimalist take on the cage light that features three strands of spray-painted wire looping around a sculptural incandescent bulb.

 

5. THREAD LEATHER

DIY Pendant Light - Leather

Photo: poppytalk.com

It’s not necessarily going to take hours and hours, but in order to complete a project like this—a leather DIY pendant light replete with subtle sophistication—you’ll need to do two things: one, plan out the project before you begin, and two, execute some tricky maneuvering of the material. Easy? No. Delightful? Absolutely.