Category: Interior Design


Bob Vila Radio: Baseboard Covers

Baseboard heaters have been popular for more than fifty years, but not everyone loves how they look, especially once the units become shabby with age. Baseboard covers are the simple solution, and they're worthwhile for more reasons than you might expect.

Baseboard heating has been a popular choice for homeowners since the 1950s. But over time, baseboard units can start to look shabby, as their sleek metal covers accumulate dents, scratches, and rust spots. If the units themselves are still working fine, you can spruce up the look of a room by upgrading the look of their covers.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON BASEBOARD COVERS or read the text below:

Baseboard Covers

Photo: Woodenradiatorcabinet.com

It’s worth noting that baseboard covers aren’t just for looks. They protect the heating elements and keep your family from coming into contact with dangerously hot surfaces, and they also enhance and help regulate the heat. So if your covers are missing or badly damaged, replacing them may be your best option. Before you head off to the home improvement store, measure carefully and if possible, take an end cap with you to help identify the right replacement covers.

If your concerns are just aesthetic, you have a number of options. Possibly the cheapest fix is to paint the covers. If you don’t like the look of baseboards at all, though, you may be able to cover them up. Many suppliers sell metal or even wooden covers that sit on top of the entire baseboard unit. There are also products that slip over the heating element to replace the original baseboard cover. Before you purchase anything, measure carefully and do your research—some covers can be used only on hot water baseboard systems, not electric ones.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


Weekend Projects: 5 DIY Nightstand Project Ideas

A nightstand is a bedroom must-have. Where else can we put our books, glasses, and a cup of water? If your room currently lacks this vital piece of furniture, how about making one out of things you might already have lying around? Here are 5 takes on accessible DIY nightstands.

You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone. Only when I tried living without a nightstand did I realize how important this modest member of the furniture pantheon really is. Bedside tables perform only one function, but it’s a vital one—keeping the accouterments of a good night’s sleep within easy arm’s reach. But while I would argue that owning one is a must, buying one isn’t. There are countless ways to create a DIY nightstand cheaply and easily. Here are five favorites.

 

1. CONVERT A TOOL CHEST

DIY Nightstand - Tool Chest

Photo: theglamourai.com

Besides its chic industrial styling and wonderful metallic blue, what I love about this DIY nightstand is its set of integral drawers that allow for storage of personal items aplenty. Mounted on a swivel base, the tool chest pictured reaches the desired height (in relation to the bed) and offers convenient portability.

 

2. STACK A SOLUTION

DIY Nightstand - Suitcases

Photo: wheremyheartresides.com

Thrift stores (and Grandma’s attic) are chockablock with vintage suitcases. Stacked on top of one another, two or three can serve as an offbeat, eye-catching, yet perfectly functional DIY nightstand. If you want, lay a cut-to-size pane of glass—or even a mirror—on top of the uppermost case for a smooth, easily cleaned surface.

 

3. HANG A SHELF

DIY Nightstand - Shelving

Photo: masmeansmore.com

Limited floor space in the bedroom? Install a floating shelf adjacent to the bed. No heavy-duty materials are required. You need only a couple of L-brackets, a handful of screws, and your screwdriver. For the shelf, use reclaimed wood for a natural look or paint a plywood board to match the existing decor in the room.

 

4. USE A STEP STOOL

DIY Nightstand - Step Stool

Photo: revistacasaejardim.globo.com/‎

Here’s another DIY nightstand project that requires virtually zero effort. If you have a step stool whose shape and patina appeal to your sense of style—or if you can find the perfect piece at a flea market or yard sale—simply place it next to the bed. Each step offers additional surface area upon which to place your things.

 

5. MAKE A PET BED

DIY Nightstand - Pet Bed

Photo: diynetwork.com

A dresser becomes a DIY nightstand-cum-pet bed, when you remove the bottom drawers (and their supports). Dress up the interior with beadboard or painted plywood, then add a comfy cushion. The remaining drawer gives you the storage you need, and the space created beneath gives Fido cozy sleeping quarters!


Weekend Projects: 5 Favorite DIY Wall Clocks

Make a wall clock that will not only tell people what time it is, but also express your personal style, interests, and creativity. It's not hard to do—you just need a bit of inspiration and a little time.

Since their advent in the Middle Ages, clocks have been made in a seemingly infinite range of styles. Even in the present day, they continue to be reinvented, with do-it-yourselfers coming up with ever more creative designs. It’s easy to join the fun: All you need is a DIY clock kit—the kind sold in most craft stores. The rest just depends on your imagination. Need a little help getting started? Scroll down to see five favorite DIY clock projects, any of which could be re-created in no time.

 

1. PLAY WITH DOMINOES

DIY Clock - Dominoes

Photo: emmasnookandgranny.com

Is that old dominoes set gathering dust in your drawer? It’s almost begging to be part of a DIY clock project! After all, there’s a domino tile to correspond with every hour in the livelong day. Once they’re properly arranged, simply glue the dominoes onto your chosen clock face. Emma’s Nook and Granny cleverly used cookware.

 

2. FOCUS ON FRAMES

DIY Clock - Frames

Photo: photojojo.com

Here’s a DIY clock that gives you hourly reason to appreciate your framed photos and keepsakes. To make yours, start by cutting a piece of white cardboard for the clock face. Proceed to mount the clock, hanging a dozen 2″ x 3″ frames around it. The only difficult part, the instructions note, is choosing what to put in the frames.

 

3. VOTE FOR VINYL

DIY Clock - Vinyl

Photo: stellajames.etsy.com

Where does the time go? We used to love our records, and now we drop them off by the boxful at Goodwill. Before purging your collection, why not set aside one of your favorites and make something to commemorate the good old days. Watch this video tutorial to see how easy it can be to transform an LP into a rockin’ DIY clock.

 

4. GO GLOBAL

DIY Clock - Globe

Photo: handywoman47.etsy.com

Out of one cardboard globe, you can make two worldly DIY clocks within minutes. First, score the globe across its equator. Next, slice the sphere in half. Drill holes at the poles, then slide the clock mechanisms through. That’s it! Gift the extra to a friend or hang the pair side by side, setting each to a different time zone.

 

5. MAKE WITH MAGAZINES

DIY Clock - Magazines

Photo: brandyfisher.blogspot.com

Believe it or not, the colorful coils of this clock come from old magazines! No tools are required for this DIY—just patience. What you do is tightly twist magazine pages around a pencil, closing each roll with a dab of glue. Once you have made an ample supply, glue the coils together in whatever arrangement looks best.


Weekend Projects: 5 Stand-Out DIY Benches

A beautiful, sturdy DIY bench is a welcome addition to any foyer, mudroom, or outdoor space. Let one of these accessible designs inspire your next attempt to build one!

Consider the DIY bench and its beautiful simplicity: It celebrates the union of form and function, don’t you think? Whether indoors—perhaps in the mudroom or foyer—or out in the backyard, a DIY bench welcomes you to park your weary bones or rest your burden (shopping bags, gardening tools, and the like). Sure, you can buy a bench at a retail store or find one at your local flea market, but when you take the time to build your own, you can be sure that it meets your needs exactly.

 

1. START WITH SPINDLES

DIY Bench - Spindles

Photo: ana-white.com

To make this charming DIY bench via Ana White, start with four matching spindles. Cut your spindles to the desired height, then proceed to fasten them to a one-inch-thick wooden slab. Finish by painting the legs different colors, or choose a single hue that boldly contrasts with the finish you’ve chosen for the bench top.

 

2. HACK WITH SCRAPS

DIY Bench - Reclaimed Wood

Photo: operation-paper-cut.blogspot.com

If scrap wood has been piling up in your workshop, why not use it to build a one-of-a-kind DIY bench like this one from Operation Paper Cut. The steps involved are straightforward; note, however, that besides the requisite materials and tools, you’re going to need basic woodworking skills and an equivalent degree of patience!

 

3. DISPENSE WITH COFFEE

DIY Bench - Coffee Table Makeover

Photo: curbly.com

What do you do with a coffee table whose only redeeming quality is “good bones”? One option is to paint and upholster the piece, transforming a down-and-out eyesore into a chic and comfortable DIY bench, versatile and attractive enough to sit at the foot of your bed or in the entry hall. Visit Curbly for the full project tutorial.

 

4. PROCEED WITH PALLETS

DIY Bench - Pallet Furniture

Photo: shelterness.com

Do-it-yourselfers love to build things out of wooden shipping pallets, because they are readily available free of charge (ask around at your local nursery or hardware store). One great reason to use pallets for a bench is that they come with a ready-made storage shelf. Get the details at Jenna and Calder.

 

5. BUILD WITH BEDS

DIY Bench - Bed Frame

Photo: littlehouseinthesuburbs.com

Check out Little House in the Suburbs to see how a wooden bed frame can be transformed into a garden bench. Here, the headboard forms the back of the bench, while the footboard (cut in half) serves as the sides. Since the surface can be painted so easily, making a secondhand bed frame look like new is no problem at all.


Bob Vila Radio: DIY Headboards

Searching for the perfect headboard? Don't lose sleep over the options available in stores. Instead, design and build your own! It's easier than you think.

The most important part of any bed is the mattress: The right mattress on a good frame is key to a good night’s sleep. But if you want just the right look for your bed, it’s the search for a perfect headboard that might keep you up at night. Here are some ideas for constructing a headboard with a unique and creative look that’s completely your own.

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Listen to BOB VILA ON DIY HEADBOARDS or read the text below:

DIY Headboards

Photo: homedit.com

Your custom do-it-yourself headboard can be attached to just about any basic metal bed frame or wooden platform, and the sky’s the limit when it comes to designing one. Some of the more creative headboards I’ve seen have been crafted from old barn doors, discarded shutters, mirrors or chalkboards. You can even make a headboard from plain plywood covered with a colorful fabric or quilt.

If you’re not ready to commit, a terrific and temporary idea for a headboard is to paint one right on the wall over the head of the bed. With some painter’s tape to lay out a design, a bit of creativity, and a steady hand on the paintbrush, you can make almost anything—and you can change it any time you’re ready to paint again.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 75 stations around the country (and growing). You can get your daily dose here, by listening to—or reading—Bob’s 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day.


Weekend Projects: 5 Ways to Make a DIY Floor Lamp

Are you in search of a one-of-a-kind DIY floor lamp with great style that won't break the bank? Then check out these bright ideas!

When it comes to lighting, form and function are equally important. You want your fixtures to let you see what you’re doing, but you also want them to enhance your room decor. In the kitchen or bath, overhead or wall-mounted lights usually fit the bill. But in living spaces, floor lamps are often most suitable, particularly next to chairs and sofas. The trouble is that for anyone on a budget, floor lamps can be prohibitively expensive. That’s why these DIY floor lamp options are so welcome: You save money and you get exactly what you want, a custom solution that perfectly corresponds to all of your lifestyle and aesthetic preferences.

 

1. COPPER TOP

DIY Floor Lamp - Copper Top

Photo: fun.kyti.me

It’s hard to believe this gorgeous, expensive-looking DIY floor lamp cost only about $5 to make. The trick was to install a new lampshade (cardboard and metallic paper) on a sturdy metal stand (look for one at your local thrift store). For a uniform look, spray-paint in one hue or, alternatively, go for a two-tone treatment.

 

2. GLOWING GLASS

DIY Floor Lamp - Glass

Photo: rockybella.blogspot.com

Clear glass lamps are all the rage, in part because of their chameleon-like ability to look at home in virtually any setting. Unfortunately, their minimalist look often comes with a maximalist price tag. But for a fraction of the retail cost, using only basic tools and materials, you can easily build a DIY floor lamp in a similar style.

 

3. NATURAL BEACON

DIY Floor Lamp - Lantern

Photo: hgtv.com

Reclaimed wood and a vintage lantern combine in this rustic DIY floor lamp, perfect for a seaside cabin or mountain retreat. Spray-paint the wood stand or the metal lantern separately, or paint the entire assembly. Or, if you prefer, leave both elements unfinished, just as you found them. Visit HGTV for all the DIY details.

 

4. PICTURE PERFECT

DIY Floor Lamp - Tripod

Photo: dreambookdesign.com

Sometimes a flea-market purchase can become a statement piece—case in point, this tripod-turned-DIY-floor-lamp from Dream Book Design. Stain or paint the tripod to match or complement the rest of the room, then complete the job with a lamp kit (available at any hardware store), drill/driver, and some washers and nuts.

 

5. LITERARY GENIUS

DIY Floor Lamp - Repurposed Books

Photo: shelterness.com

Looking for something to place beside a comfortable reading chair? The answer might very well be a DIY floor lamp festooned with old hardcovers. There’s not much to it: You drill a hole through a stack of books and then fit them over a simple stick lamp. Check out the Live Well Network for the full step-by-step guide.


How To: Hang Wallpaper

Use these tips to achieve satisfying, professional-level results the next time that you set out to hang wallpaper.

Here’s how to get a professional look when you hanging wallpaper. After you line up your pattern, overlap the top and the bottom by about two inches. You should always cut each piece a little long. Then after smoothing out the bubbles and checking to make sure the wallpaper is plumb, use a five-inch putty knife as a guide for a perfect razor cut on the top and at the bottom. This will ensure a clean and crisp professional edge.

For more on wallpaper, consider:

DIY Wallpapering
How To: Wallpaper a Corner
12 “Off the Wall” Ways to Repurpose Wallpaper


Shopping for a New Chandelier? Here Are 4 Things to Consider

While style is an important consideration in choosing a new chandelier, don't overlook the finer points of scale, installation requirements, and, most important, how well the fixture will satisfy your lighting needs.

Spiral Chandelier

Maxim Lighting at Bellacor.com

Nothing epitomizes decorative lighting quite like a chandelier. A chandelier is the jewelry of a room, accenting the architecture, furnishings, and decor. With so many fixture choices available and so many possible applications within the home—in dining rooms, dens, and even bedrooms and bathrooms—choosing a chandelier can be overwhelming. But if you adhere to a few design rules and installation tips, you’ll be on your way to dressing your room right—and in the best decorative light.

Style
There are chandeliers available to suit any style and decor. Fixtures that have their lights directed up are more traditional; the most formal of these fixtures showcase bare candelabra bulbs. Adding glass or chandelier shades softens that formality, resulting in a slightly more casual attitude. For a more informal feeling, choose a chandelier on which the lights are directed downward. An additional benefit of this more casual design is that your decorative chandelier can also serve as task lighting—aiding cooking or homework duties. In general, metal finishes are more formal than painted ones.

Related: Which Lighting Where? 9 Pro Tips for Improved Illumination

Functionality
If your chandelier is serving a primarily decorative purpose, it can really be the focal point of the room, highlighting the beauty of your furnishings and decor. If, however, you require task lighting, find a fixture that also has a downlight, to illuminate the surface beneath it.   For either application, don’t miss out on the flexibility that you’ll get by installing a dimmer switch. Dialing the lights down can create a warm glow, similar to candlelight—perfect for evening entertaining.

Uptown-Lodge-Chandelier

Sea Gull Lighting at Bellacor.com

Size
Choosing the proper size chandelier is important.  A fixture that is too large will overwhelm a room, while one that is too small will disappear and lose its impact. Josie Jaspers, of the lighting and home furnishings online retailer Bellacor, advises: “Choose a chandelier that is 6 inches narrower on either side than the smallest width of the table.  If your table is 48″ x 72″, then the recommended width of the fixture is approximately 36 inches (6 + 6 minus 48).”

Installation
Jaspers also has tips for determining the correct hanging height. For a dining room, “the chandelier should hang approximately 30 inches above the tabletop in an 8-foot ceiling. For each additional foot of ceiling height, add one inch. In a 10-foot ceiling, the chandelier should hang approximately 32 inches above the table.” You should keep in mind that in rooms with lower ceilings (less than 9 feet), a chandelier may make the ceiling feel low. If you must hang a chandelier in a room with a low ceiling, be sure to hang it high enough so that it doesn’t become a hazard. If possible, mount it over a table to avoid bumped heads and to keep it from impeding foot traffic. If you’re putting a chandelier in a bathroom (Sure!—why not?!), the rule of thumb is to keep it 6 feet away from the shower or tub.  Moisture is the enemy of electrical wiring, so purchase a model that is rated for “wet” or “shower location” use.

With so many options available, you’re bound to find a fixture that suits both your practical needs and decor. With the right fixture, you can just dim the lights and turn up the style—a chandelier brings it all together.

 

This article is sponsored by Bellacor.com. Its facts and opinions are those of BobVila.com.


Quick Tip: Embossed Wallpaper

With origins in England, embossed wallpaper endures as a common choice among homeowners seeking an old-world look.

There’s a revival of the 19th-century embossed wallcoverings Anaglypta and Lincrusta. Anaglypta is a heavy embossed paper with a soft, low relief that must be painted after it dries. Lincrusta is made of something that’s a lot like rubber, and its relief is much deeper. Both are great-looking and easy to use.

For more on wallpaper, consider:

Wallpaper Basics
Bob Vila Radio: Vintage Wallpaper
Today’s Toile: Artisans Retool a Classic Pattern


Quick Tip: Using a Wallpaper Pasting Machine

Wallpaper pasting machines enable do-it-yourselfs to much more quickly complete a common home improvement job.

If you have to hang a lot of wallpaper, here’s a time-saving way to apply paste. Try a manually operated wallpaper pasting machine. Cut your wallpaper strips to length, then fill the reservoir with paste and coat the applicator bar. Place the paper on the bar, close the top, and pull the paper back towards you. This way, you’ll get an even distribution of paste on each piece of paper in seconds.

For more on wallpaper, consider:

DIY Wallpapering
Bob Vila Radio: Vintage Wallpaper
12 “Off the Wall” Ways to Repurpose Wallpaper