Category: Interior Design


Quick Tip: Clean a Rug with Snow

Save on the cost of professional rug cleaning by doing the job yourself, using a clever technique from yesterday.

How to Clean a Rug with Snow

Photo: shutterstock.com

A Snow Day Event

Rugs get dirty. It's only a matter of time—but just how much time depends on a rug's location and the amount of foot traffic it receives. When a rug starts looking dingy, professional cleaning is certainly one option. The pros know what they're doing, but the work must be done off-site, and it's not cheap. If one of your wool, cotton, or polyester floor coverings needs a refresh, here's an old-fashioned cleaning technique that costs nothing and requires less than an hour of your time. Here's the catch: There needs to be snow on the ground—dry, powdery snow. Provided you have the right conditions—a recent snowstorm and temperatures at or below 25 degrees Fahrenheit—this is possibly the easiest, and certainly the most fun, way to clean a rug.

Before hauling your rug outside on a cold day after a snowstorm, first vacuum its front and back. Alternatively, shake the rug well, releasing all the loose dirt and debris. Next, let the rug sit outside and acclimate to the temperature for about 30 minutes. Don’t skip this step! There are two good reasons for the waiting period: One is that this exposure to the freezing weather will cause accumulated grease and grime on the rug to harden and break up. Equally important is that once chilled, the rug is not likely to melt the snow it’s soon going to lie upon. That’s critical, because if the rug were to be warm, this process would leave it a wet mess.

So once and only once the rug is good and chilly, go ahead and lay it face down in the snow. Next—this is the best part—proceed to beat it with a broom or rake or whatever you have on hand. If you want, you can simply walk back and forth over the rug, but it’s better to use a long-handled tool. You don’t want to crush the rug into the snow. Instead, the goal is to create vibrations between the textile and the snowy ground. When you get tired, flip the rug over and repeat the process.

Finally, pick up the rug and carry it back to your deck, porch, or patio. Shake out as much excess snow as you can, then hang it with clothespins or fold it over a railing. Leave it for about 30 minutes. That should be enough time for the snow within the weave of the rug to turn back into water vapor. When you’re putting the rug back into place indoors, you can admire its renewed colors and the fact that, while it may have been looking the worse for wear, it now looks virtually new!


So, You Want to… Install Recessed Lighting

With a flick of a switch, recessed lighting can suffuse a room with a warm glow, without the fussiness or limitations of elaborate fixtures. Before you decide to install this appealing convenience in your own house, however, you have some homework to do, and a few decisions to make.

How to Install Recessed Lighting

Photo: billfryconstruction.com

Recessed lighting has been around since the 1930s, and even though its popularity seems to have waned in recent years, manufacturers continue to innovate in the category. Homeowners in the market for recessed lighting have an ever-growing number of functional and aesthetic choices to make. So whether you’re renovating an old house or building a new one, successful recessed lighting installation starts with you—your project and its specific variables, as well as your vision for the completed space.

Before beginning the installation—and even before making any purchases—take the time to understand what limitations (or opportunities) lie in the project you’re planning. Recessed lighting comes with certain requirements. For instance, the housing must be tucked between framing joists. It’s easiest, therefore, for recessed lighting installation to take place during major remodeling or new construction. That said, there are work-arounds: fixtures specially designed to be retrofitted in existing homes. If you plan on doing nothing more than install recessed lighting, then you must be careful to purchase only those fixtures that can be installed under those circumstances.

Early on, you must also decide what type of recessed lighting you would like to install. Shopping is often easier with other types of fixtures, because table and floor lamps, pendants, and sconces each provide only one type of illumination, be it task, ambient, or accent lighting. Recessed lighting fixtures, however, can serve any of these applications, depending on the product you select. You just need to know what you’re looking for.

How to Install Recessed Lighting - Dining Room Detail

Photo: billfryconstruction.com

Wall-washer recessed fixtures emit wide swaths of light. When positioned around the perimeter of a small room, they can make the space appear much brighter, larger, and more inviting. Coupling wall-washers with dimmer switches provides even more control over the mood of the space.

Adjustable narrow-beam eyeball fixtures are used to highlight features and objects, such as works of art. Positioning the light directly in front of the piece and about a foot and a half from the wall usually gives good results. If your aim is to illuminate a three-dimensional object, you might want to consider installing two or three eyeball fixtures, as that combination produces the most dramatic effect.

Task lighting calls for the most light possible, so opt for recessed fixtures that include reflectors. Again, dimmers can be used to precisely tailor the amount of light. Just make sure the fixtures are positioned directly above the target area, so your head and shoulders don’t block the light.

Most recessed lighting fixtures come in one of three standard diameters: 4-inch, 5-inch, and 6-inch. The 6-inch models are the most powerful, and as such, they are best suited for rooms with very tall ceilings. Smaller-diameter fixtures are better for average-size rooms. Bear in mind that the diameter of a fixture also determines how close it can be can be placed to another fixture. A common rule of thumb is to position fixtures at least one foot apart for every inch of the fixture’s diameter: For example, 4-inch fixtures should be spaced four feet apart.

Some recessed lighting fixtures require special wiring and/or a transformer, so you must be at least somewhat familiar with the construction of your home. How far apart are the ceiling joists? What sorts of wiring are you likely to encounter? If you have questions, hire a pro who can do some poking around to see what’s in the ceiling.

One final note: Many municipalities require you to pull a permit before installing recessed lighting. Take care of that before doing anything else. Much better to be safe than to risk having to tear out a nice new installation!

Also, once the fixtures are in place, give careful consideration to the question of which of the many types of light bulbs you are going to use. Bulb costs run the gamut, color rendition levels span from poor to exceptional, and energy efficiency differs, sometimes dramatically, from product to product. Know the pluses and minuses of each type of bulb, and choose wisely.


Show Love to Your Leather Furniture

Protect your investment in leather furniture by keeping the material soft and supple, free of cracks, with the regular application of conditioner.

Homemade Leather Conditioner

Photo: shutterstock.com

When our hands get dry and the skin cracks a bit, we quickly reach for the lotion. The same logic applies to leather furniture, which often deteriorates under conditions of low humidity. Besides regularly cleaning your leather sofa or armchair, consider going a step further and treating the material with a leather conditioner. Doing so not only keeps the leather soft and supple, but it also goes a long way toward ensuring the furniture lasts a long time. There are many leather conditioners on the market, but you can actually make your own using nothing more than common staples found in most kitchen cabinets. So without further ado, pull out a soft cloth, open your pantry, and show a little love to your leather with one of these all-natural homemade leather conditioner recipes.

Essential Oil and Vinegar
Oil-based conditioners are a controversial topic in leather care. While many homemade leather conditioner recipes involve the combination of olive oil and vinegar, some experts warn that olive oil can cause damage over time. What do those experts recommend instead? Lemon essential oil. Though the liquid has the desired conditioning qualities, it’s comparatively safer to use. After cleaning the leather, gently massage its surface with a cloth dipped in, or dampened with, 10 to 15 drops of lemon essential oil. In addition to leaving behind a fresh scent, this works to prevents cracks and promote the longevity of the leather piece.

Homemade Leather Conditioner - Sofa Arm Detail

Photo: shutterstock.com

Beeswax
An alternative to a liquid solution, beeswax-based leather conditioner works great but requires more preparation. To make, combine beeswax, cocoa butter, and sweet almond oil in a saucepan, using a 1-1-2 ratio. Apply medium heat, being very careful not to overheat. As soon as the solid fats have melted into the oil, remove the pan and allow the mixture to cool. After 30 or 40 minutes, you should have a thick balm. Apply the balm directly to the leather with your fingers, gently massaging in the conditioner, wiping away any excess. Once finished, buff the leather with a dry cloth to make it shine.

Mild Baby Soap
When it comes to homemade leather conditioner, most soaps are poor choices. Natural baby soap is an exception. Just be sure to choose one that includes no potential stain-causing color additives. To make baby soap-based leather conditioner, mix one quart of warm water, one tablespoon of soap, and a couple drops of vinegar. Dip a cloth into the mixture, wring it out so it’s damp and not wet, then wipe down the entire surface of the leather furniture piece. Allow the leather to air-dry once finished.

A note before you go to work: As with any leather care product, homemade or store-bought, be sure to test your conditioner in an inconspicuous spot before you commit to using on the entire piece of furniture. Only proceed if you’re happy with the results of the conditioner in the test area.


The First Material in This Man’s Furniture Is Passion

For Jermain Todd, there's more to creating a striking piece of custom furniture than knowing the basics of woodworking. Read and watch about the creativity that goes into each of his pieces.

Jermain Todd of Mwanzi

Photo: mwanzi.com

Meet Jermain Todd, owner and craftsman of the St. Louis-based Mwanzi Co. From the sounds of it, he’s certainly one of the busiest makers we know. He creates green and sustainable cabinetry for Greenhaus Cabinets® and the custom furniture brand FeRRUM™. On top of that, he fashions completely custom interior furnishings for residential and commercial clients using local, reclaimed, and repurposed materials. We spoke with Jermain about his work and his process. Here’s what he had to say.

Dining Room Tables in Restaurant - Mwanzi

Photo: mwanzi.com

I started my business when…
I started my business in 2005, but it was not until 2009 that I was able to have my very own wood shop. That period of time was very difficult because I was trying to figure out how to run a business while running it, learning as I went—one obstacle at a time. I didn’t have a lot of money and didn’t have anybody that I knew who could drop $10K in my bank account, so it was a slow, painful crawl to that moment in 2009.

The reason I started doing what I do is…
I quickly realized that I got more emotional satisfaction—and ultimately a greater sense of control over my business—when I sold things that I made, right here, in my studio.

Colorful dining room table - Mwanzi

mwanzi.com

The thing I love most about working with wood is…
Just how beautiful wood looks to me. I think wood looks so sexy. I’m a wood geek. Many times I just stare at a board and admire all the features that were created so organically, so naturally, aware that no two boards are alike—anywhere on planet and at any time in history. And the amount of history they’ve witnessed blows me away. Sometimes I walk under trees and wonder about all the people, things, and events that this tree has had happen underneath its branches.

My first job was…
My first paid job was as a paper boy for a local newspaper at the age of 13.

Reclaimed wood chair - mwanzi

mwanzi.com

My main sources of inspiration are…
Hot and quiet showers each morning. That’s when the ideas for many of the things I will create that day develop.

The most challenging thing about my work is…
Managing my time and prioritizing. In order for me to meet my many deadlines, I have to decide what’s most important for me to deal with on an hourly basis each day. And when you make something custom from scratch, so many things can go wrong that you may not have encountered before—you need the time to deal with it.

Reclaimed Wood Bench - Mwanzi

mwanzi.com

My favorite part of the process is…
The moment with you can see the piece take just enough shape that you can now envision the completed piece form in your mind. Makes me smile every time!

What makes my works eco-friendly is…
The raw materials and finishes that I use. I only use wood that was harvested from trees that grew in my state—but mostly my city, or FSC-certified wood, or reclaimed, or repurposed wood. I also only use recycled steel and only use low-VOC topcoat finishes.

Colorful DIY Stools - Mwanzi

mwanzi.com

Other materials I would like to master are…
Aluminum. I want to start making/welding furniture out of aluminum.

My all-time favorite tool is…
My Festool Kapex compound miter saw.

Multi-stain wood desk - Mwanzi

Photo: mwanzi.com

My biggest DIY success is…
Whatever project I’ve just completed.

To find out more about Jermain’s work, visit Mwanzi.com and take a look at his feature in Once Films’ critically acclaimed Spotlight Series.


Before & After: An 80s Living Room Rockets Forward

Stuck with limited lighting and excessive pastel left over from the previous owners, these Canadian homeowners rolled up their sleeves to DIY a more modern living room. Step inside to see the dramatic makeover.

Living Room Makeover

Photo: theuncommonlaw.ca

Since 2011, Becki Peckham and Chris Nicholas have been hard at work remodeling their home in eastern Canada, all the while blogging their experience at The Uncommon Law. When they began work, the house had a long way to go before it would reflect the couple’s modern, unconventional design sensibilities. The living room, in particular, shows what Becki and Chris can do when they flex their creative muscles—and their actual muscles, since they did almost everything themselves. Today, the living room channels the couple’s shared love of photography and film, from the moody lighting to the vintage camera display. ”We even made backlit light boxes, which feature actual X-rays of an old 35mm camera and Super 8 camera,” Becki says. Overall, Becki thinks the living room makeover, represents “sort of a fusion of both of our professions, photography and radiology.” Scroll down to see the dramatic difference that DIY dedication can make!

Living Room Makeover - Room Complete

Photo: theuncommonlaw.ca

What was the space like before you got started?
It was very ’80s. When we first saw it, the previous owner had furniture there—and the layout wasn’t ideal. The room is quite large, and the furniture was all pushed against the walls, leaving a large, empty space in the center. There were no ceiling lights, and the trim and wall color were pretty builder-basic.

Sounds like a pretty blank slate. What was your end goal for the redesign?
We wanted to create a moody/loungy media room that was both modern and stylish. We had actually found an ad in a magazine for the company Minotti and fell in love with the style: a dark room which contained a light gray couch and dark wood/walnut accents. That’s where the initial design inspiration came from.

Living Room Makeover - Window Treatments and Sectional

Photo: theuncommonlaw.ca

What was the biggest challenge? Did you find yourself having to make any compromises along the way?
We definitely had a few challenges with this space. Figuring out how to drop the ceiling and create a reveal to hide LED mood lighting took a bit of planning. Then having the plastering done only to find a leak was very trying.

But the slat wall was probably the most challenging, because of all the work it took hand-sanding, pretreating, staining and clear-coating the wood. There were over 640 linear feet of wooden 1x2s that required manual preparation.

As for compromises, Chris and I originally wanted a propane fireplace, but it was really out of our budget. We ended up settling on an ethanol fireplace; it had a similar feel but was much more affordable.

Living Room Makeover - Gas Fireplace

Photo: theuncommonlaw.ca

You did a lot with the room: built a slat wall, installed heavy-duty floating shelves, mounted an ethanol fireplace, even lowered the ceiling. Tell us a little bit about the thought process behind these choices.
We wanted different parts of the room to have different functionality. Using a sectional and adding the floating shelf/desk on the back wall helped with this. The fireplace wall with bench underneath acts as its own little area as well.

The media wall started out as a simple feature wall that we were going to paint a different color. This evolved to wallpaper, then wall tiles, then finally to the idea of a full-blown wooden slat treatment. Our ideas always seem to snowball until we realize we’re knee-deep into a project that’s 50 times the work of the original idea!

The ceiling was stucco and we were going to just drywall over it, but Chris had the idea of recessing LEDs around the edge of the ceiling in a reveal. We scraped the stucco from around the perimeter of the room, strapped out the old ceiling, installed the new drywall so it stopped about 1.5 inches from the wall, and added J-trim for a nice clean edge when we plastered.

Which piece of the room are you most proud of, and why?
I think we are both most proud of the slat wall. We love the way it looks, especially at night, and we get a lot of compliments on it. We also have seen a few people making their own, so the fact that we’ve inspired others enough for them to take on such a hellish task is flattering. If you consider the adjacent staircase part of the living room, then the DIY frameless glass rails are also something we’re pretty proud of, if only because so many people told us it couldn’t be done.

Living Room Makeover - Slat Wall

Photo: theuncommonlaw.ca

Without a doubt, a fresh coat really helped set a tone for the rest of your room. Any painting tips that you swear by?
Paint can make all the difference in a room. The plasterer we use (when we’re too lazy to do it ourselves) taught us a few tricks that have changed the way we paint—like back rolling. After initially rolling on about three roller widths of paint, go back and re-roll over the section you just painted, only rolling top to bottom. It gives a perfect, uniform finish. Also, quickly give the wall a light sanding between coats of paint to knock down any rough spots on the wall.

As for paint choice itself, we are huge fans of matte paint. Maybe not the best choice for families with kids’ hands touching the walls all the time, but the matte finish gives the walls a flat, creamy look, which we love. It also hides any imperfections in the plastering.

Looking at it all now, how has this makeover changed the way the space is used? What needs did it meet for you and Chris?
This is our day-to-day room. We hang out here, watch movies here, and sometimes eat meals or work here. It’s really a multipurpose space. We didn’t want to have a room that wouldn’t get used much, so we made sure to load it up with things that would draw us to the space. Having the built-in shelf on the back wall double as a desk, for example, gives Chris a place to do his studies or a place for us to sit and write the blog.

Living Room Makeover - Wall Hangings and Shelving

Photo: theuncommonlaw.ca


Weekend Projects: 5 Easy DIY Candle Holders

What comes first, the candle or the holder? We bet that if you weren't already planning on it, these easy projects might very well inspire you to light a few candles this wintry weekend.

In any given year, there are probably only a handful of occasions that merit hauling out the formal candlesticks from their place within the dining room sideboard. For the quiet evenings and casual get-togethers that fill the rest of the calendar, candle holders ensure, not only that the wick and wax burn safely, but also that your votives, pillars, and tealights look beautiful, lit or unlit. As decorative accents, candle holders are among the many little details that help make a house a home. And while we love how they provide that finishing touch, we also love that DIY candle holders are so easy to make. Here are five favorite designs.

 

1. GO AU NATUREL

DIY Candle Holders - Birch

Photo: oleanderandpalm.com

As part of a natural tablescape or set inside a nonworking fireplace, birch-carved DIY candle holders bring the beauty of nature indoors. To make your own, simply flatten the ends on a cut-to-size log, and with a 1-1/2″ bit, drill a hole to accommodate a small, shallow candle. For instructions, visit Oleander and Palm.

 

2. MAKE CONCRETE PLANS

DIY Candle Holder - Concrete

Photo: homemade-modern.com

After you’ve completed your concrete countertop or concrete walkway, use any extra material to create modern, minimalist DIY candle holders. Though intimidating to the uninitiated, basic concrete projects like this one are just-add-water affairs. See how easy it can be; watch the video on Homemade Modern.

 

3. BREAK THE MOLD

DIY Candle Holder - Clay

Photo: gatheringbeauty.com

From Gathering Beauty, here are DIY candle holders made from a completely unexpected material: air-hardening clay. Mold the clay with your fingers, using a knife to facet the gem-like edges. Set a tea light into the top, and then as the last step, sit back and wait for your creation to dry—that’s right, no kiln needed!

 

4. PLUMBING PIPES

DIY Candle Holder - Plumbing Pipes

Photo: endlessacresfarmtiques.com

Kelly at Endless Acres Farmtiques set out to make DIY candle holders using only pipe fittings from the local hardware store. The result couldn’t be more dissimilar from traditional, fancypants candlesticks. Besides combining the pieces into your own creative assembly, all you need to do is spray-paint the metal.

 

5. ON A ROLL

DIY Candle Holder - Rolled Paper

Photo: instructables.com

Magazines, catalogs, brochures and leaflets get a second life when folded into cylinders and glued side by side. Together, they form a column that can support even a bulky, heavier-than-usual candle. Be careful, though: You should never leave a candle unattended, particularly not one resting on a paper holder!


4 Things to Do with an Unwanted Gift Card

Hanging on to any unwanted gift cards? Here's what to do when you've received a little extra spending money—for the stores where you're least likely to shop.

What to Do with Unwanted Gift Cards

Photo: amazon.com

If Santa brought you a gift card you’re not eager to redeem right away, studies suggest you may never do so. According to CEB TowerGroup, about $750 million in gift cards went unredeemed in 2014. What a waste! Rather than let yours expire, read on to learn four productive things you can do with a gift card you don’t want.

 

1. SELL IT

What to Do with Unwanted Gift Cards - Sell a Gift Card

Photo: shutterstock.com

Did you know that you can sell an unwanted gift card? Many websites buy them unused, or even partially used. Granted, you’re not going to get full face value for the card, but it’s not uncommon to recoup up to 93 percent. Visit Gift Card Granny to find out which of the many sites will pay the most for the card you were given.

 

2. TRADE IT

What to Do with Unwanted Gift Cards - Swap a Gift Card

Photo: shutterstock.com

With a site like GiftCardSwapping.com, you mail in your unwanted card along with a form indicating which gift cards you’d prefer. The site takes of the rest, matching you with another person who wants your card and who has traded in a card of his own, one that you’d want. It may take some time for the perfect match to be made, but the weeks after Christmas are arguably the best time of year for a successful trade, simply because there are so many of gift cards floating around.

 

3. REGIFT IT

What to Do with Unwanted Gift Cards - Regift a Gift Card

Photo: shutterstock.com

Why not re-gift the card on the birthday of a friend or family member you know would appreciate it more? Before setting the card aside, though, be sure to record the name of the person who gave you the card. After all, you wouldn’t want to lose track of things and end up giving the card back to person who’d given it to you!

 

4. DONATE IT

What to Do with Unwanted Gift Cards - Donate a Gift Card

Photo: shutterstock.com

If the season of giving has an end date, it’s not until, oh, say, Valentine’s Day. So there’s still ample time to donate your gift card to someone in need. Your Sam’s Club gift card would be welcome at a food bank, while a certificate to a clothing shop would be well suited to a local shelter. Reach out directly to the charity of your choice, or leave the homework to a civically minded program like Gift Card Giver, which pairs unused or partially used gift cards with nonprofit organizations.


DIY Plywood Bookcase

When this blogger needed a spot to unpack boxes of books after a move, she decided to create a library shelf from plywood boards. Why buy when you can DIY like this?

Bob Vila Thumbs Up Plywood

DIY plywood bookcase

Photo: ohohblog.com

When we saw Ama’s sleek and contemporary bookshelf, we were impressed. And when it became clear that it was made entirely out of plywood, we were doubly so. Her project, which we came across at Oh Oh Blog, is proof that humble materials need not be relegated to lowly status. In fact, after seeing this bookshelf, we think plywood deserves a second look. Here’s how she did it.

 

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- Plywood (see dimensions below)
- Wood glue
- Clamps
- Sandpaper
- Stain
- Varnish
- Screws
- Drill

 

STEP 1

DIY plywood bookcase - cut sizes

Photo: ohohblog.com

Cut the plywood boards (or have them cut professionally) using the following dimensions.

Shelves:
A – 16 pieces of 10″ x 10″
B – 4 pieces of 10″ x 63″

Back:
C – 1 piece of 10″ x 36.5″

Base:
D – 4 pieces of 5″ x 10″
E – 1 piece of 5″ x 36.5″

 

STEP 2

DIY Plywood Bookcase - Assembly Diagram

Photo: ohohblog.com

Glue the “A” pieces two by two to make the vertical parts. I used wood glue and clamps to hold them together until it was well stuck.

 

STEP 3
I did the same with the D pieces to make the base.

 

STEP 4
I sanded all the pieces, flat and edges (booooring part).

 

STEP 5
I stained shelves in chocolate color and applied transparent varnish on the other pieces. I like the contrast between the two colors. This can work with any other colors combinations—give it a try.

 

STEP 6

DIY plywood bookcase - base construction

Photo: ohohblog.com

I assembled the D and E pieces to make the base of the bookcase. You have to put the D pieces perpendicular to the E piece, put some glue between the pieces, and then fasten with two screws on each side.

Then I did the same with the C piece and two A pieces (after gluing them 2 by 2) to make the back of the bookcase.

 

STEP 7

DIY plywood bookcase - step 7

Photo: ohohblog.com

After that, I attached three A pieces to a B shelve. I put glue on the shelf and laid the A above, making sure they were vertical.

 

STEP 8

DIY Plywood Bookcase - Assembly Process

Photo: ohohblog.com

Almost done! We can start to assemble the shelves. Put the base on the floor, add some glue and put a shelve on top. Use clamps or weights (like books or tool box) to ensure a strong bond. Then add glue and put the other part on top, and so on… until the last shelf!

Thanks for sharing, Ama! To see even more incredible DIYs, visit her at Oh Oh Blog.


Weekend Projects: 5 Bright Ideas for a DIY Lamp

If you're looking for a light fixture that fits your style, your space, and your budget, don't waste time in stores—make your own!

I continue to be astonished by the retail cost of most light fixtures. If you, too, have been subject to sudden bouts of sticker shock, know this: It’s so much cheaper—and really, so much easier than you might have feared—to create a DIY lamp. Best of all, you can completely customize the design to suit, not only your style preferences, but any quirks that happen to exist in the space where you need a bit more light to see by. Scroll down to see five favorite DIY lamp projects now!

 

1. PLUG IN A JUG

DIY Lamp - Glass Jug

Photo: theinspiredroom.net

From The Inspired Room, here’s a DIY lamp project involving a vintage glass water jug, the sort of thing you might find at your local flea market. It’s more or less a readymade lamp stand, thanks to its size and sturdiness. All you need to do is glue a socket into the mouth of the jug, then finish things off with a shade.

 

2. GO OUT ON A LIMB

DIY Lamp - Branch

Photo: themerrythought.com

Even elements of nature can be reused in your design for a DIY lamp. Need proof? Check out this charming handmade project from The Merry Thought. Here, Manda drilled through a straight, cut-to-size branch, snaking the cord through. Then she attached a socket to the top of the branch and a base to the bottom.

 

3. PLAY UP YOUR PASSION

DIY Lamp - Trumpet

Photo: instructables.com

Hit just the right note in your living room’s lighting with a lamp constructed from a once-loved instrument. This Instructables how-to turns an out-of-work trumpet into a side table’s lamp by threading it skinny lamp base right through the base of the horn and pulling the cord through to where a lightbulb will rest on the mouthpiece end.

 

4. SHED LIGHT ON HOBBIES

DIY Lamp - Cameras

Photo: starsforstreetlights.com

The best home accessories—lighting included—give a nod to a homeowner’s personality or passion. For this photographer’s dream lamp, Stacie of Stars for Streetlights stacked vintage cameras to build a charming base. And no topper would be quite as fitting as this handmade shade of strung-up photography slides.

 

5. KNOCK ON WOOD 

DIY Lamp - 2 by 4

Photo: decorandthedog.net

For her DIY lamp, Michelle at Decor and the Dog chose to build the base out of a run-of-the-mill two-by-four. The final results, though, were far from ordinary, since she combined the wood with an unlikely companion—iron pipe. Two very different looks are possible, depending on whether or not you include a shade.


Weekend Projects: 5 Ways to Make a Bar Cart

This weekend, why not raise a glass to celebrate the bar cart you made with your own hands?

You might think of the bar cart as a purely functional furniture, limited to the duty implied by its name. But if you give it a second thought, a bar cart can do so much more than store cocktail supplies and provide a serving station. It’s a versatile piece, especially when outfitted with wheels. While today it might be chockablock with bottles of booze, tomorrow it could display framed family photos or travel mementos. Given its vintage pedigree and air of glamour, simply possessing a bar cart says something about you; put together a DIY bar cart to ensure that it says precisely the right thing about your personality and your space.

 

1. BETTER A BOOKCASE

DIY Bar Cart - Ikea Hack

Photo: sugarandcloth.com

To build her DIY bar cart, Ashley—the blogger behind Sugar & Cloth—began with a square shelving unit from IKEA. From that basic starting point, she went on to create something spare yet special through the judicious addition of brass hardware, including brass-hooded ball casters that make the cart easy to re-position.

 

2. CLEAR THE PIPES

DIY Bar Carts - Plumbing Pipes

Photo: alifedesigned.blogspot.com

Plumbing pipes are a do-it-yourself favorite, because anyone can fit pipes together, even if it takes a bit of trial and error to strike upon the optimal design. Nancy of Life Designed offers amusing step-by-step commentary on her creation of a DIY bar cart that manages to look both rustic and industrial all at once.

 

3. WORK IN WOOD

DIY Bar Carts - Woodworking

Photo: inhonorofdesign.com

Thanks to its compact size and straightforward design, a DIY bar cart can be a terrific project for an aspiring woodworker who’s looking for a beginner-level project. To give this one a shot, you’ll need only some inexpensive materials, a couple of basic tools, and the full project tutorial provided by In Honor of Design.

 

4. TRICK OUT A TABLE

DIY Bar Cart - Table

Photo: myfashionjuice.com

Look very closely, and you might be able to tell that this fancy-looking DIY bar cart was once an IKEA coffee table. Cris of My Fashion Juice saved it from the curb, dressing it up with a coat of metallic spray paint. To complete the transformation, she surfaced the table top with mirror tiles and added casters to the legs.

 

5. CREATE AND COLLAPSE

Bar Cart Tray

Photo: honestlyyum.com

If all you need is a pop-up drinks station for parties—or an extra surface for special occasions—take a cue from Erica at Honestly Yum. She made her collapsible DIY bar cart simply by adding gold-toned hardware to a black lacquer tray. Placed on a folding restaurant tray stand, Erica’s pseudo cart does the trick for as long as she needs it. Afterward, it stows neatly away.