Category: Interior Design


All You Need to Know About Light Bulb Types

The last time you went off in search of a replacement light bulb, were you left paralyzed by the proliferation of new types of bulbs in the lighting aisle? Here, we clear away the confusion with this helpful breakdown of the different varieties on the market and their best uses.

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Types of Lightbulbs

Photo: istockphoto.com

It’s not your imagination: The light bulb section in your local hardware store has grown. Bulbs of every type, color, and shape line the shelves in a wide—and confusing—array of options, making it hard to find the right bulb for your needs. But once you understand bulb basics, choosing the right replacement bulb for your lamp or fixture can be a snap. We’ve put together what you need to know about the many different types of light bulbs on the market these days so the next time you’re face with a burned-out bulb, you’ll be prepared.

LIGHT BULB LINGO
Before you head out in search of a new bulb, get a grasp on terminology manufacturers use to measure the input and output of certain types of light bulbs.

Watts indicate the amount of energy the bulb will use. Bulbs with lower wattage will use less electricity, and can therefore help keep the electricity bill down. Here, the age-old mantra holds true: Less is more.

Lumens indicate the amount of light the bulb will emit. The number of lumens to look for depends on the room you’re lighting, as some spaces (like the bathroom) could use a brighter bulb, and others (say, the bedroom) benefit from softer light. To calculate the optimal number of lumens, multiply the room’s square footage by these rule-of-thumb figures:

• 7.5 lumens per square foot in hallways
• 15 lumens per square foot in the bedroom
• 35 lumens per square foot in dining rooms, kitchens, and offices
• 75 lumens per square foot in bathrooms

Typically, a standard 100-watt incandescent bulb emits approximately 1600 lumens. Newer types of light bulbs, however, require less power and emit just as much light.

 

Types of Light Bulbs

Photo: homedepot.com

BULB TYPE: INCANDESCENT

Standard incandescent bulbs—known for being energy hogs—have experienced an energy-efficiency upgrade that began, for bulbs sold in California, in 2011 and became nationwide in 2012 as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Common household light bulbs, which traditionally used between 40 and 100 watts before 2011, now use at least 27 percent less energy than they did back in the day while still producing comparable lumens. That means that you’re less likely to find 100-watt bulbs on shelves today, which stopped being manufactured in 2012, and are more likely to be greeted with options of 30, 40, and 50 watts. Incandescent bulbs do not contain mercury, and they last an average of one year before needing to be replaced.

Best For: Use with dimmable light fixtures, vanity lighting (because incandescent light flatters skin), and low-voltage lighting. Try the candelabra-base GE 60-Watt Bulb in your dimmable dining room chandelier ($5.97 for a 4-pack at Home Depot), or buy the Philips 7-Watt C7 Replacement Bulb for your toddler’s night-light ($3.97 for a 4-pack at Home Depot).

 

Types of Light Bulbs

Photo: homedepot.com

BULB TYPE: FLUORESCENT

Fluorescent tube bulbs have been around for years. You’re no doubt well acquainted with the long, cylindrical glass tubes you see in overhead lights in department stores, but you can also find circular and U-shaped fluorescent tubes to fit specialty fixtures. This particular type of light bulb uses less energy than incandescent bulbs, but it contains mercury vapor and a phosphor coating that converts UV light to visible light when turned on. Because these bulbs contain mercury, many communities have regulations for their disposal.

Best For: Bright lighting needs in your workshop. We like the Philips T12 40-Watt Daylight Deluxe Linear Fluorescent Tube ($9.97 for a 2-pack at Home Depot); while it draws only 40 watts, it produces 2,325 lumens of bright light.

 

Types of Light Bulbs

Photo: homedepot.com

BULB TYPE: COMPACT FLUORESCENT

Compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs—easily identified by their hallmark curlicue design—use a fraction of the wattage incandescent bulbs use. While good for reading and project work, the light they emit is relatively harsh and undesirable in vanity lighting, where they can add 10 years to your appearance. Like fluorescent tubes, CFLs contain mercury, so broken bulbs should be disposed of according to the EPA’s suggestions for cleanup. Note: Most CFLs don’t work with dimmer switches and aren’t particularly well suited for light fixtures you switch on and off frequently, as this habit can shorten their useful life.

Best For: Overhead lights, lamps, and task lights. A smart choice for replacing the bulb in your reading lamp is the EcoSmart Soft White Spiral CFL ($5.97 for a 4-pack at Home Depot); equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent bulb, it emits 900 lumens of light. In places where you need more illumination, such as for task lighting in the kitchen, try the Philips Daylight Deluxe T2 Twister CFL ($12.95 for a 4-pack at Home Depot), which offers the same amount of light as a 100-watt incandescent bulb.

 

Types of Light Bulbs

Photo: homedepot.com

BULB TYPE: LED

Light emitting diode (LED) bulbs are currently the most energy efficient of all types of light bulbs. Though they were costly when they first hit the market, prices have dropped significantly since then. With lifespans that exceed those of most other bulbs and options that encompass a variety of colors as well as white, these bulbs offer the best bang for your buck. Early LED bulbs offered only directional lighting, but with recent advances, manufacturers are now offering LED bulbs that emit whole-room diffused lighting.

Best For: Just about anywhere you previously used incandescent bulbs. To replace the bulbs in your overhead lights, wall sconces, or table lamps, try Philips Daylight A19 LED Bulbs ($8.97 for a 4-pack at Home Depot) or the Philips Soft-White B11 Candelabra Bulb ($6.97 for a 3-pack at Home Depot).

 

Types of Light Bulbs

Photo: homedepot.com

BULB TYPE: HALOGEN AND XENON

Halogen bulbs use 25 to 80 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, but still use more than CFLs and LEDs. The white light they emit brings out vibrant tones in furnishings and decor. Halogen bulbs come the closest to natural daylight, but as they get extremely hot, be sure not to use them in any lamp or fixture that small children can reach. A variation on halogen, xenon bulbs cast the same clear white light yet remain cooler to the touch than standard halogen bulbs, making xenon safer for use in table lamps.

Best For: Exterior floodlights, hanging pendant lights, and accent lighting. If you’re looking for an energy-efficient outdoor bulb, try Philips EcoVantage Halogen PAR38 Dimmable Floodlight ($9.97 per bulb at Home Depot). With 1,750 lumens, it will light up walkways and provide a measure of security. Are you in need of a replacement bulb for your bi-pin socket track lighting? Feit Electric’s Xenon 20-Watt Halogen G8 Bulb ($7.95 for a 2-pack at Home Depot) fits the G8-shaped bi-pin base sockets found in popular track, display, and task lights.

 

Types of Light Bulbs

Photo: amazon.com

BULB TYPE: WI-FI CAPABLE

Strictly in the realm of “specialty bulbs,” Wi-Fi-capable bulbs fit ordinary lamps and fixtures but give you the ability to either program the bulbs to turn on at preset times, or control them remotely from your smartphone or tablet. Read the fine print before you buy one that doesn’t work with your mobile device; some bulbs are strictly Apple- or Android-compatible.

Best For: Remote operation of overhead lights or lamps that you typically set to stay on before you leave for vacation. If you own an iPhone or iPod, check out the Philips Soft White A19 Hue Connected Home LED ($14.97 per bulb at Home Depot), which connects to your home’s Wi-Fi signal so you can operate the light remotely via an app. Alternatively, the Flux Wi-Fi Smart LED Light Bulb ($35 per bulb on Amazon) is a bit pricier but promises more control over brightness and color; for both Apple and Android products.


Weekend Projects: 7 Designs for a DIY Chair

In desperate need of extra seating? Don’t just sit there! Save money—and add personality to your space—by building one of these crafty DIY chairs.

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Whether you’re preparing to entertain a crowd or just looking to fill a sparse corner of your living room, a spare chair is just the ticket. But when you see that a store-bought seat rings up at a few hundred dollars, you may find that investing only a fraction of that cost—and a weekend of your time—sounds much more appealing. Building your own furniture is a simple, affordable, and rewarding project for any DIY enthusiast. With a few tools and some common materials (discarded pallets and standard two-by lumber from the local hardware store), you can construct anything from a set of patio chairs to a formal dining chair. Still skeptical? We’ve rounded up seven inspiring DIY chair options, which can be modified to fit your home’s needs, style, and available square footage.

 

ALL ABOUT ANGLES

DIY Chairs

Photo: instructables.com

Turning a set of chair plans into a striking seat took Instructables user diycreators little more than a bit of improvisation and a few of the usual suspects when it comes to building materials: 2×4 lumber, a router, a circular saw, a power drill, screws, a bit of wood glue, and the necessary products for protecting the final product against weather damage. The seat is supported by bolts in four places along the square-frame legs, so you can count on this modern two-toned chair to be sturdy.

 

WINGED OUT

DIY Chairs

Photo: addicted2decorating.com

This “made-from scratch” wingback chair required serious concentration and craftsmanship, a challenge that the DIYer behind Addicted to Decorating gladly accepted. And did she come through! To aid in finding the proper angles for the back legs and a perfect seat height, she traced one of her dining chairs onto some 2×6 lumber, and then cut. And, believe it or not, she drew the shape of the ever-classic wingback frame freehand and, as she did with much of the rest of the project, cut it out with a jigsaw. Contrasting upholstery patterns in bright colors offer an updated take on a traditional silhouette.

SIMPLE PLAN

DIY Chairs

Photo: ana-white.com

While it may seem too good to be true, Ana White built this DIY chair in just one hour, proving that furniture feats can happen and still leave you with plenty of time to accomplish the rest of your weekend to-do list. Her detailed cut list and set of diagrams can help you re-create this sturdy seat for around $20—all in less time than it takes to mow the lawn or cook a family dinner!

STICK TO IT

DIY Chairs

Photo: southernrevivals.com

These modernly rustic stick chairs have a secret superpower: they fold. Inspired by an interior design post on Instagram, the minds behind Southern Revivals constructed the seats with some power tools and pine (although cedar is also an option), using eight slats in the back, eight slats in the seat, and another handful for the legs. For a finish as dramatic as the design, each DIY chair was coated with black milk paint and sealed with tung oil.

ALL IN THE BAG

DIY Chairs

Photo: funkyjunkinteriors.net

This two-seat pallet chair from Funky Junk Interiors is a rough-and-tumble take on a traditional country love seat. Requiring only a shipping pallet, some reclaimed wood, foam, and burlap sacks, this project can be customized by printing a favorite logo or phrase on the back cushion. Or, simply embrace the weathering, printing, and stamping of your found wood and burlap to make your DIY chair the shabbiest of chic.

BOUNCE BACK

DIY Chair

Photo: instructables.com

In this fun and funky design, Instructables user wholman repurposed a length of rubber air hose of a type often found at construction sites as the support system for a DIY chair. Because it incorporates 45 feet of such a heavy-duty material, this chair is built to support—and it molds perfectly to the person sitting on it. In total, this whimsical project took around $20 and left behind little waste.

ROCK AND ROLL

DIY Chair

Photo: designsbystudioc.com

As it requires a certain amount of precision for maximum results, this rocking chair project puts a builder’s measuring skills to the test. Cher at Design by Studio C worked with scrap boards and lumber, relying on an extensive cut list, pocket-hole screws, and wood glue to bring her vision to life. The result: A classic homemade rocking chair that, if treated with care, can be handed down for generations to come.


Bob Vila Radio: 3 Bright Ideas for Beating the Winter Blues

SAD is a fun acronym, but there's nothing lighthearted about its symptoms—or the depression it can cause. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed, try out these easy design tricks to combat SAD this winter.

You’ve probably already heard of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the illness triggered by a lack of light during the season of shorter days.  What you may not know, though, is that your home can help you fend off its symptoms, including low energy levels and depression.

seasonal-affective-disorder

Photo: istockphoto.com

Listen to BOB VILA ON SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER AT HOME or read on below:

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The end of Daylight Savings Time can mark the onset of SAD symptoms for millions of Americans every year. If you’ve been diagnosed, start in your bedroom to maximize those morning rays. Spray both sides of your bedroom windows with glass cleaner, and wipe them clean with a microfiber cloth to dissolve dirt and grime. You might want to install larger windows or add a skylight down the line, but there are a few wallet-friendly fixes to try first.

Start with blue bulbs, which mimic daylight and can be added to the overhead lights and lamps you already own. Light therapy boxes are the next step up, with most containing several high-output fluorescent tubes that provide 100 times more light than normal fixtures. Even a half hour in front of the lamp each morning will help alleviate SAD symptoms.

Position mirrors to bounce sunlight around the room, and hang a colorful painting or two for for visual stimulation on grey days. Finally, surround yourself with living things: a hardy houseplant or a well-stocked terrarium are low-maintenance picks, and they’ll remind you of the sunny days right around the corner.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free!


Bob Vila Radio: The Cost-Cutting Secret Only Contractors Know

Sticking to a tight budget on your home remodel? Planning ahead only goes so far to keep those costs under control. Luckily, it turns out there's a season for savings—and we're in it!

There’s no reason to wait until spring to tackle that home improvement project. In most areas of the country, winter is the slow season for construction, which makes it the best time to start (and save!) on a major renovation or remodel.

winter-remodeling

Photo: istockphoto.com

Listen to BOB VILA ON WINTER REMODELING or read on below:

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Since contractors take on fewer jobs in the cold months, you’ll have a better chance of hiring your first choice—and they’ll have more time to plan and discuss all of the details with you. Government agencies aren’t as busy either, and permit applications will probably be processed and approved faster. Another plus? Appliance suppliers often slash prices when temperatures drop, making any kitchen remodel more affordable.

As long as it’s not snowing or raining, consider tackling exterior projects like pouring a patio, staining your deck, or building an addition. The winter chill will keep you cool while you work on your outdoor oasis—and with the head start, your backyard will have a brand-new look by the time warmer weather rolls back around.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free!


Bob Vila Radio: Recipe for a Retro Kitchen

You might not be able to serve up a malt, but a little paint and planning can get you the 1950s look for less.

If you love classic kitchens but can’t afford a renovation, there are still plenty of ways to add retro appeal. Start by digging up a few old photos with design details you want to recreate at home.

retro-kitchen-design

Photo: bigchill.com

Listen to BOB VILA ON RETRO KITCHENS or read on below:

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A lemon yellow, turquoise, or bubblegum pink accent wall will take your kitchen back in time in an afternoon. For cabinets, go with a vintage-inspired pastel on the outside or remove the doors and paint the back panel to create eye-catching open shelving. When everything is dry, finish the mini-makeover with chrome drawer pulls and knobs. And while you’re at it, swap out a builder-grade light fixture with a few pendant lights to brighten up your counter or island.

Experienced DIY-ers can build their own cozy breakfast nook with hinged benches. The compartment below the seat is the perfect place for seldom-used cookware. If you’re not that handy, a 50’s-style dinette set will give your family a place to gather.

Another option? Look into retro-inspired brands that are cashing in on the new-again trend with candy-colored appliances and range hoods. Finally, put those vintage kitchen linens and dishes you’ve collected to use. They’ve stood the test of time for a reason!

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free!


DIY Lite: This Stunning Room Divider Looks Better than Real Walls

Create cozy nooks and separate spaces out of an open floor plan when you assemble this striking (and surprisingly easy) room divider. Plywood panels have never looked so good!

DIY Room Divider - Splitting Up the Floor Plan

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

No matter whether you live in a large house with open-concept floor plan or a small condo wherein your living room occasionally doubles as a guest bedroom, there comes a time when you need to delineate your spaces for their various functions. The easiest way to implement a little extra privacy? Build a room divider. This particular 6-foot-tall paravent design successfully partitions a space when you want it, then folds for easy storage when you’re readying your space for a larger gathering—all only using a stack of humble plywood and 1×2 lumber.

 

DIY Room Divider - Supplies

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- 6mm plywood
- Circular saw (optional)
- Handsaw
- Palm sander
- Sandpaper (120 grit)
- Wood stain (2 colors)
- Brush
- 8-foot-long 1×2 lumber (17)
- Hammer
- 2-inch nails (156)
- Wood glue
- Varnish
- 2-inch hinge with screws (6)
- Drill

DIY Room Divider - Step 1

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

STEP 1
This DIY room divider is a simple grid build assembled from 1×2 lumber. Its conversation-starting geometric design—thankfully, in a harder-than-it-looks sort of way—comes from the numerous eye-catching and privacy-creating plywood triangles that fill the grid. That’s where we’ll start!

Trace 27 10-inch squares on your 6mm plywood board, and cut them with a circular saw. Once you have all of your squares, cut each across the middle from corner to corner so that you’re left with 54 right-angled triangles.

If you don’t own any power tools fit for the task, you may be able to rent a circular saw from your local hardware store, or even ask them for a few starting cuts when you purchase the plywood board. If the store cuts the board into 10-inch strips, you only need to cut the strips every 10 inches and then in half diagonally using a handsaw.

 

DIY Room Divider - Step 2

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

STEP 2
Sand all sides of the triangles with a 120-grit paper, especially the cut edges, and wipe away all dust using a microfiber cloth. Now they’re ready to stain. (We suggest choosing two complementary colors for visual variety; half of ours were coated with Oak and the other half in Early American.) Cover both sides completely, following the directions on the stain you choose.

Let them dry.

 

DIY Room Divider - Step 3

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

STEP 3
Meanwhile, you can start building the divider’s frame from your lumber. Start by making your cuts on the 1×2s: You’ll need two 73-inch pieces, seven 32-inch pieces, and 12 10-inch pieces for panel (of which you’ll make three total).

For the first panel, lay two 73-inch posts vertically and perpendicular to each other on a flat surface—these will become the vertical posts. To connect them, you will place the seven 32-inch cuts horizontally. Begin at the top so that the first 32-inch piece is aligned with the ends of the two posts, then leave a 10-inch gap between each of the next pieces of lumber.

Note: With all of these pieces, make sure that the narrow, half-inch edges lay are the ones resting on the floor. Then you can proceed to assembling the panel, one vertical post at a time.

 

DIY Room Divider - Step 4

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

STEP 4
Remove the 32-inch horizontal pieces one at a time, apply wood glue to both ends, and then replace it between the posts.

As the glue dries, hammer two 2-inch nails through one vertical post and into each horizontal piece; repeat the nailing along the second adjoining vertical post.

 

DIY Room Divider - Step 5

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

STEP 5
Now that the basic framework of a panel is complete, let’s add the smaller vertical divisions within each row.

Grab your 12 10-inch cuts of 1×2. Place two vertically between the top of the panel and the horizontal bar beneath it; these should be equidistant from the posts and each other (leaving a 10-inch gap to fit the triangle), keep their half-inch sides flat on the work surface, and fit snugly.

Once you see how they fit, remove both to coat each end in wood glue and replace. Hammer two 2-inch nails through the horizontal post into each end of the 10-inch dividers.

You’ve finished what we’ll call Row 1; now repeat in rows 3 and 5. Tip: Alternating the rows will help you in gluing and nailing them to the horizontal lumbers.

 

DIY Room Divider - Step 6

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

STEP 6
Now fill in rows 2, 4, and 6 with two 10-inch dividers apiece, spaced 10 inches apart—here, though, only affix them with glue. As best you can, try to align all of the vertical pieces to give the impression of complete and sturdy vertical posts.

Once the glue is dry, sand the structure to remove any clumps and glue stains.

 

DIY Room Divider - Step 7

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

STEP 7
Finally, fill the gaps with your stained (and now dried) triangles. Leaving the structure flat on the floor, grab nine triangles from each wood stain (18 total) and arrange them in the panel of one grid until you are happy with the design. There’s no right or wrong way to do this—we varied the part of the square the triangle filled on ours so that it looked more artistic than entirely uniform.

Once you are satisfied, start at the upper left corner of a panel and work your way down to stick each in place. Line the 10-inch edges of each triangle with wood glue, and fit it back snugly into the square opening. To help it dry centered within the square frame, first place scrap wood or bottles caps behind (rather, underneath) the triangles to prop them up.

 

DIY Room Divider - Step 8

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

STEP 8
Congratulations, you’ve finished a panel! To complete the DIY room divider, you’ll need at least three total, so repeat Steps 3 through 7 to build two more.

Once the three panels are assembled, coat them in a protective coat of clear varnish.

 

DIY Room Divider - Step 9

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

STEP 9
Last, but not least, connect the three panels using hinges. First, lay two panels next to one another and place three hinges down the middle: one near the top (Row 1 of triangles), one in the middle (Row 3 of triangles), and one near to the bottom (Row 5 of triangles). Be sure the panels’ feet align with each other before you screw it in place.

Once attached, flip the two panels face-down and place the third next to them. (It won’t matter which side is the front or the back on this DIY room divider because you’ve stained each side of every triangle—not to mention, each side will been seen when it’s set up to divide a space!) Affix three more hinges as you had the first set. When finished, the three panels will open in a “Z” shape that can expand nearly 8 feet long.

 

DIY Room Divider - Made from Plywood and Lumber

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

DIY Room Divider - Wall Art When Not in Use

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Ama is a DIY addict and the creative mind behind Ohoh Blog. She likes home decor, lighting, and furniture projects that may involve painting, sewing, drilling…no matter the technique! Whatever she has on hand is inspiration to create, and fodder for her serious addiction to upcycling.

 

DIY Projects Anyone Can Do

All of the Best Hands-on Tutorials from BobVila.com
Get the nitty-gritty details you need—and the jaw-dropping inspiration you want—from our collection of the favorite projects ever featured on BobVila.com. Whether your goal is to fix, tinker, build or make something better, your next adventure in DIY starts here.


Genius! Hide a Litter Box (and Its Mess) in Plain Sight

If you own a cat, you know that taking care of a pet isn't all about cuddling up on the couch. Try out this clever DIY to transform on-hand furniture into a hidden litter box—and stop the stray litter and odors for good.

DIY Hidden Litterbox

Photo: housetweaking.com

Cat owners love to spoil their pets, and why wouldn’t they? These cuddly companions with big personalities won’t make you feel guilty for streaming eight Netflix episodes in a row or judge you for skipping your morning run. In fact, there aren’t many downsides to caring for such an independent animal, but keeping—and cleaning—a smelly litter box tops the short list.

DIY Hidden Litterbox - Cutting the Hole for the Pet Door

Photo: housetweaking.com

Dana, the all-star DIY-er behind House*Tweaking and owner of a Maine Coon kitten, knows the struggle well. Her initial litter box setup on the floor next to the dryer was much too accessible to her curious toddler, plus the odor practically overpowered the scent of fresh laundry. When researching how to make her own litter box solution, she found that most existing DIY plans required buying and converting new dressers and other furniture. Determined to make it work with what she had, Dana settled on starting with a tall Ikea Pax wardrobe that stood nestled into the corner of her entryway.

Compared to building a cabinet from scratch, converting the Pax was a pain-free process. Dana’s wardrobe already had all of the ideal features for a litter box cover: double doors for easy access when it came time to clean up, storage space for litter and toys, and a modern design that complemented the rest of her decor. All she needed to do was empty out the bottom shelf where the box would sit and add a pet door.

Adjustable shelving made it easy enough to raise or even remove the divider in order to accommodate a cat’s height. Then, using a measuring tape and a jigsaw, Dana carefully cut out a hole just large enough to fit a flap door. But the flap isn’t altogether necessary: If you don’t want to shell out for a pet door,  simply sand the edges of the cut-out to remove any splinters and leave it uncovered for your cat to come and go. Door or no door, an entryway bench pulled up to the cabinet serves well to discreetly hide the litter box entrance from view.

The pet door Dana picked up on Amazon cost about $20, but shopping her home for everything else she needed meant money zero dollars wasted on new or used furniture to convert into a litter box cover. Secondhand, similar cabinets cost at least $30, and new shelving units would set Dana back $100 or more—all of which are still cheaper options than a ready-made box cover from an online retailer. Better yet, the custom enclosure reduces odor and keeps litter in the box instead of scattered all over the floor. As much as you love the prospect of not having to see or smell cat turds ever  again, your cat might be the biggest fan of the litter box upgrade: Dana says her cat Cheetah “took to it right away,” and prefers the privacy of her custom bathroom to the old, open setup by the appliances.

FOR MORE: House*Tweaking 

DIY Hidden Litterbox - Inside and Out

Photo: housetweaking.com


How To: Make an LED Marquee Letter

Really personalize the lighting in your home when you make an lit-up marquee letter in your own monogram.

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DIY Marquee Letter - Make a Faux Metal Light with Wood

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Hunting for a statement piece that really speaks to you requires a certain amount of time and patience. Fortunately for those of us lacking in the latter, there’s often a homemade alternative to customizable to our exact vision to speed things along. Rather than resorting to picking through every estate sale for the large marquee letters, symbols, and full signs that can be found trending in interior design today, this LED-powered version emulates the typical reclaimed style in whichever design you desire. Though this DIY project appears to be made from weathered metal, you can actually recreate its vintage vibe using mere plywood. Fashion one or enough to spell out the family name following these straightforward steps.

 

DIY Marquee Letter - Supplies

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

TOOLS AND MATERIALS
- 6 mm plywood
- Pencil
- Ruler
- Jigsaw
- Drill
- Palm sander
- Sandpaper
- Hot glue gun
- Wood glue
- Clamps
- Wood putty
- Black spray paint
- Silver hammered spray paint
- LED string lights

 

STEP 1

DIY Marquee Letter - Step 1

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

First, dream up the design for your three-dimensional, light-up sign. We made two: a 16″-tall “B” and a sun with a 20-inch diameter. Whatever you choose, opt for angles over curves. This swap enhances the rough industrial appearance of your finished work, but more importantly it simplifies the processes of cutting the plywood and framing its edges.

Once you’ve decided the shape you want to build, sketch it on the back of a 6 mm plywood sheet, using a ruler for optimal straight edges. Tip: For best results when it comes time to insert the light bulbs, scale your design so that its dimensions in inches are multiples of two.

 

STEP 2

DIY Marquee Letter - Step 2

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Cut along the penciled perimeter of the shape using the jigsaw.

If your design includes a hole cut from the center (like the two small rectangles to make the openings in the letter “B”), drill holes in each corner of the interior shape and cut along the lines with the jigsaw so that it pops out easily.

 

STEP 3

DIY Marquee Letter - Step 3

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Smooth all sides and edges of the plywood with either sandpaper or a palm sander to remove every splinter.

 

STEP 4

DIY Marquee Letter - Step 4

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Use your ruler to determine the location of each bulb on the marquee letter and mark. (You may find it helpful to first pencil in lines of the path they will follow and then plot the holes.)

Aim to space bulbs over the width and length of the marquee letter so that they are equidistant. In our case, we placed the first bulb two inches from the edge and set the rest 2 inches apart from one another, but the distance may vary depending on the dimensions of your marquee letter and the size of the bulbs.

 

STEP 5

DIY Marquee Letter - Step 5

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

For every mark, drill a hole. The drill bit size must match the size of the base of the bulb so that it can pop through. Here, we used a 3⁄8-inch drill bit.

 

STEP 6

DIY Marquee Letter - Step 6

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Add depth to your three-dimensional marquee letter by creating an edge with a shadowbox effect to run along its perimeter. Start by cutting the project’s leftover plywood into a strip or two, each 3 inches wide and as long as the board. Now, position a 3″-inch wide strip along the top side of your marquee letter to match it in length exactly; mark the length on the plywood strip, cut, and stand it up on edge against the marquee letter.

Working clockwise, lay the remaining 3-inch plywood length against the side that connects on the right. This time, adjust ever so slightly—by roughly 6 mm, the thickness of the plywood—so that this length overlaps the edge of the last strip you cut and spans to the end of this side of the letter. (This little bit of overlap minimizes gaps at at the corners between edge pieces.) Mark where you’ll want to make your cut, use your jigsaw, and stand this second edge up just the same. Repeat this process as you work your way around the marquee letter. The final side should be long enough to cover its side and the extra 6 mm of plywood at both ends.

Now, prepare to glue. You want the marquee letter’s 3″-wide casing to stick out 2 inches in front and 1 inch in the back (that’s how you’ll hide the cord), so it may be helpful to pencil a line length-wise along each plywood strip to guide your gluing. Then apply either hot glue or wood glue to the strips along the drawn lines, and press them to their coordinating sides. Hold the sides with clamps while the glue dries.

 

STEP 7

DIY Marquee Letter - Step 7

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Apply some wood putty using a putty knife to fill in and smooth over any remaining gaps at the corners. Once completely dry, sand the edges to remove any blemishes.

 

STEP 8

DIY Marquee Letter - Step 8

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Finally, the key to transforming the plywood structure into a metal-look marquee like lies in the two-part painting technique. First, completely coat the piece with black spray paint and let dry.

 

STEP 9

DIY Marquee Letter - Step 9

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

After your black paint has completely dried, apply a top coat of silver hammered spray paint. This round, it’s less important to cover completely; the black paint peeping through—in addition to the metallic spray paint’s unique finish—will visually age the marquee.

 

STEP 10

DIY Marquee Letter - Step 10

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Unscrew the LED bulbs from their string, and place one in each hole with a little glue. When dry, you can reconnect the string lights to their bulbs from the back. Then take your one-of-a-kind marquee letter and display it either standing upright or hung on the wall. The unique design is sure to brighten up—quite literally—any shelving arrangement, bar cart, or gallery wall.

 

DIY Marquee Letter - Completed Lighting Project

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Ama is a DIY addict and the creative mind behind Ohoh Blog. She likes home decor, lighting, and furniture projects that may involve painting, sewing, drilling…no matter the technique! Whatever she has on hand is inspiration to create, and fodder for her serious addiction to upcycling.


Weekend Projects: 5 Dreamy Designs for a DIY Crib

Want the perfect place for a new baby to bed down? Rest easy by constructing one of these handsome—and handmade—cots for your tot.

Whether you’re a parent-to-be or simply wish to give a new mom and dad something special, consider crafting a DIY crib. Here, you’ll find designs and directions for four wonderful (and wonderfully sturdy) woodworking projects, plus a way to spruce up a bare-bones, store-bought crib with a handmade headboard. Your results will be as safe and solid as they are unique and charming, so that incoming bundle of joy will be snug and secure. With just a few select materials and a little ingenuity, you can custom-make the crib of your dreams over the weekend. Pick the project that suits you best, and then just add lullabies!

 

DIY Crib - Farmhouse Style from DIYstinctly Made

Photo: diystinctlymade.com

FARM TO NURSERY
For a crib to suit a farmhouse-style nursery, check out these detailed plans from the budget-minded twosome behind DIYstinctly Made. The frame, constructed from humble pine boards, evokes a distinctly rustic feel thanks to the V-shaped design of mitered side planks attached with wood glue and finish nails. After building the crib, forego potentially harmful chemicals and seal it with an earthy, all-natural stain-and-polyurethane combo.

 

DIY Crib - Walnut and Maple Crib from Matt Cremona

Photo: mattcremona.com

HIGH LIFE
Segueing from a crib to a toddler bed can be monumental for tots and parents. But this easily disassembled DIY design from woodworker extraordinaire Matt Cremona can ease the transition with a mattress platform that lowers as your child grows. From first night home to first words, your precious cargo will be safe and sound in the crib’s warm walnut frame, accented with maple spindles and angled sides that lend the lofty crib a modern yet down-to-earth feel.

 

DIY Crib - Co-Sleeper from Rebecca's Garden and Homestead

Photo: rebeccasgardenandhomestead.com

SOUND CO-SLEEPER
Babies who sleep within their mother’s reach may settle more quickly and even grow up to be more independent, but letting Baby sleep in bed with you is discouraged by medical experts and considered dangerous. The solution? This pretty ivory co-sleeper that fits alongside your bed, the brainchild of the blogging mother at Rebecca’s Garden and Homestead. Easy? Well, Rebecca put it together while eight and a half months pregnant! All it takes is pre-cut and drilled scrap wooden boards—enough for the front, sides, legs, and railing guard. Securely bound on three sides, it offers you easy access to your sleeping beauty.

 

DIY Crib - Baseball Bat Crib from Reality Daydream

Photo: realitydaydream.com

BATTER UP!
Hit a home run for your little one with this ingenious baseball-inspired bed. Designed by the cute couple bloggers of Reality Daydream, the sporty sleeper repurposes 24 blemished baseball bats for its railing guard, inexpensively sourced online from a bat factory. The rest of the DIY crib itself consists of economical pine wood boards assembled into a frame with screws and wood glue.

 

DIY Crib - Tufted Crib Update from All Things Thrifty

Photo: allthingsthrifty.com

HEAD IN THE CLOUDS
If a woodworking project isn’t within your bandwidth right now, why not dress up a plain crib—be it a hand-me-down or a store-bought basic—with a cute and comfy headboard? The bright blogger at All Things Thrifty traced a pattern to mimic the shape of her existing crib, then cut MDF board to the exact length and curvature. The tuft stuff was sourced from an ordinary mattress topper, adorned with fabric buttons and simply stapled in place. Plush, stylish, and costing just over $40—talk about starting a kid off with an appreciation for affordable luxury.


DIY Lite: A Modern Floor Lamp with a Most Unusual Shade

Here's a bright idea: Light up the dimmest corner of your living area with a customizable lamp. While its modern copper design may look like it cost a fortune, this DIY fixture comes in well under budget.

SHARES
DIY Floor Lamp

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Any interior designer will recommend layering multiple light sources, from wall sconces to floor lamps, for both illuminating everyday tasks as well as inspiring a spectrum of moods. Investing in these various lighting options for each of your spaces can add up quickly—that is, unless you’re willing to get your hands dirty with a DIY project or two. You can make your own floor lamp with all the style but a fraction of the cost of lookalikes at luxury retailers. Start the day with a trip to the hardware store, and you can end it with a seat on the well-lit couch and a good book.

 

DIY Floor Lamp - Supplies

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Reclaimed lumber
- Handsaw
- Wood glue
- Clamps
- Drill with a 3⁄4-inch bit, a 1⁄4-inch bit, and a 1-1⁄4-inch hole saw
- Wood chisel
- 1-1⁄4 inch wooden dowel (at least 55 inches long)
- 3⁄4-inch copper pipe (39 inches long)
- 70 percent isopropyl rubbing alcohol
- Clean cloth
- Protractor
- Permanent marker
- All-­purpose glue
- 3⁄4-inch-diameter copper elbow
- Lamp kit with light socket, electrical cord (10 feet), and plug
- Pliers
- Screwdriver
- Plastic bin
- Utility knife
- Spray paint
- LED light bulb

 

STEP 1

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 1

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Start by making the lamp base with the reclaimed wood or whatever other scrap lumber you have lying around. Cut approximately 13 inches from a 2×8 plank and 12 inches from a 1×6 plank, then sand both pieces. You can use wood blocks with different dimensions—slightly smaller or slightly larger—but make sure that the base is heavy enough to keep the tall lamp from tipping.

 

STEP 2

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 2

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Apply wood glue to the bottom of the smaller piece, then align it so that it sits centered along the shorter end of the bottom block. Press together and clamp for as long as the glue needs to dry completely.

 

STEP 3

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 3

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Measure 2 inches from the edge and drill vertically in the base center with the 1-1⁄4-inch hole saw. As the wooden base is quite thick, you will have to proceed in several stages: Drill as far as you can, remove the drill, then pull out the wood cuttings using a wood chisel. Repeat until the hole goes completely through the wood, then sand all edges and set aside.

 

STEP 4

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 4

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

To make create the height of the floor lamp, cut the 1-1⁄4-inch wooden dowel to be 55 inches long and the 3⁄4-inch copper pipe to be 39 inches long. (We picked these lengths to make a reading light that hovers over the seat of the couch, but you can opt for a longer wooden dowel if you want a taller lamp.)

Wipe down the pipe with 70 percent rubbing alcohol to remove labels and sticker residue before you continue.

 

STEP 5

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 5

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

In this design, the copper pipe slides through the dowel at an angle so that the lamp hangs over any seat. To facilitate this, you need to drill a hole into the dowel using the 3⁄4-inch bit.

Measure 11 inches from the end of the dowel, mark, place your drill bit against the spot, and then—this is key—rotate the dowel so that it is at a 60 degree angle with your drill bit (you can check against a protractor for help finding the precise angle). Steady the dowel with a firm grip or clamps while you drill.

 

STEP 6

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 6

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Slide the copper pipe through the dowel so that only 10 inches hang out the end. Use a permanent marker to note the point of intersection.

 

STEP 7

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 7

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Switch to a 1⁄4-inch bit to drill where you’ve marked in Sharpie, through one side of the tube but not out the other. In a later step, this will allow you to thread the lamp’s cord through the pipe to reach the light bulb.

 

STEP 8

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 8

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Time to assemble! Cover the bottom end of the dowel (the one further from the 1-1⁄4-inch hole) in wood glue, and fit it into the hole drilled in the wooden slab base. Hold the two pieces in place for the amount of dry time recommended by the wood glue manufacturer.

 

STEP 9

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 9

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Slide the copper pipe through the 3⁄4-inch hole in the dowel, leaving the small hole in the copper pipe exposed and facing the floor. Once the pieces are in position, join the two materials using an all­-purpose glue. Next, glue a copper elbow (curved down) at the end of the pipe where the lampshade will hang.

 

STEP 10

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 10

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Wiring your floor lamp with a DIY-friendly light kit—one with an electrical cord that’s 10 feet or longer—is the easiest way to go about these next steps. Kits can come in a variety of shapes and forms, some with a cord, plug, socket, and maybe even a switch, and others with just a plug at one end of your electrical cord with socket sold separately. Given the choice, opt to start with a kit that is nearly complete.

If your socket comes already attached to an end of the electrical cord, you’ll need to cut the cord in order to thread it through the 3⁄4-inch copper piping. Push the non-plug end of the cord in through the hole that you made in Step 7 and out through the elbow pipe fitting.

 

STEP 11

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 13

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Before you can affix a socket and light bulb to end of the cord, you must first prep and attach your desired lampshade.

Rather than purchasing something standard from the store, we upcycled a small plastic basket with a slotted design. (If you don’t have one on hand, you can find similar options at the dollar store.) To minimize the basket-like features, carefully cut the curved plastic edge off using a utility knife.

 

STEP 12

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 14

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Next, cut a 1-1⁄4-inch hole in the center of the container’s  bottom so that you can thread the cord through to attach a light socket. (Ideally, the hole should be slightly smaller than the diameter of the socket in order to prevent the shade from slipping down over it and resting on the bulb.)

Tip: Drill very slowly with your hole saw so that you do not break the plastic.

 

STEP 13

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 15

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Spray paint the plastic shade inside and out with a copper color to match the pipe. For best results, apply a primer and at least two coats to completely mask the plastic. (Be sure to follow the can’s instructions to allow the appropriate amount of dry time after each coat for a professional finish.)

 

STEP 14

DIY Floor Lamp - Step 16

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Finally, you can slide the wire through the shade and attach the light bulb socket. While best to refer to your specific lamp kit’s instructions, here’s a preview of what that process entails.

Typically, you’ll start by removing the base of the socket. Screw the threaded pipe (also known as a socket nipple) into the base cap, then pass the wire through a nut the size of the threaded pipe, the hole drilled in your shade, and the threaded pipe-base combo. Tightening the nut over the threaded pipe will secure the socket to the shade.

Pull the electrical cord out so it has a little extra give while you finish the wiring job. Where the cord splits, tie a special underwriter’s knot out of the two ends (refer to your light kit for a diagram). Then identify the difference in the two wires’ texture: one is smooth, and the other is ribbed. Pick up your socket and separate it from its shell to expose two screws. Loosen these and wrap a wire around each—the smooth wire attaches to the brass screw, the ribbed wire to the silver screw—before tightening once more. Pop the shell back on and twist the wired socket into the base inside the shade.

Now reach around the back of the angled floor lamp where the electrical cord enters the copper piping, and gently pull on it so that the lampshade raises to meet the elbow pipe fitting. All that’s left to do is insert an LED bulb—which both saves more energy and gives off less heat than an incandescent bulb. You’re ready to plug in your new floor lamp, curl up beneath its glow with a good book, and call it a night!

DIY Floor Lamp - DIY Lighting for Any Room

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Ama is a DIY addict and the creative mind behind Ohoh Blog. She likes home decor, lighting, and furniture projects that may involve painting, sewing, drilling…no matter the technique! Whatever she has on hand is inspiration to create, and fodder for her serious addiction to upcycling.