Category: Other Rooms


DIY Pallet Desk

Transforming a stack of old pallets into a sturdy new desk takes effort but the results are worth repeating.

Bob Vila Thumbs Up - Wood Pallet Projects

DIY Pallet Desk - Completed Desk

Photo: fringefocus.com

What do you get when you mix a designer with a stack of pallets? A pallet desk, apparently. Rob Loukotka, artist/designer of Fringe Focus had acquired a bunch of pallets in his workshop and decided it was time to put them to use. But it wasn’t easy. He quickly learned that pallet wood has its limitations, but with his inventive work arounds and this stylish desk’s $0 price tag, we think this project deserves a big thumbs up. Read on to see how you could make your own!

MATERIALS
- Wood pallets
- Claw hammer
- Work gloves
- Crow bar (optional)
- Hack saw (optional)
- Jointer, planer, or table saw (choose one)
- Stain (optional)
- Wood glue
- Wood clamps
- 2x4s (for clamping)
- 1x4s (for trim)
- Miter saw
- Orbital sander
- 200-grit sandpaper
- Dust mask
- 4x4s
- Steel brackets
- Danish oil
- 0000 steel wool

STEP 1

DIY Pallet Desk - Ripping

Photo: fringefocus.com

Use a claw hammer and wedge it beneath the board. Slowly rock the hammer to peel the board up, but be careful not to snap the board (pallets are brittle). I suggest moving across the entire board, slowly lifting it up by fractions of an inch at different locations.

Many nails will be rusted or break—WEAR GLOVES. A crowbar helps for leverage, if you have one. If your pallet is particularly difficult, use a hack saw, jig saw, or whatever saw to detach the end points first! You lose about 1 inch on either end, but then you only have 3 nails to remove, instead of 9-10.

STEP 2

DIY Pallet Desk - QA

Photo: fringefocus.com

You’ll want to chuck out severely damaged boards. I found that half of my boards were very dark, and the other half were light (two different pallets). So I chose to lay out the most interesting looking boards in this stripe pattern. Yours could be a lot cleaner, I was aiming for a dirty look.

STEP 3

DIY Pallet Desk - Planning

Photo: fringefocus.com

Plan your desk size. I’m not gonna give exact dimensions here, because pallet furniture by nature is going to vary a lot. But I wanted a very deep and wide desk. I decided on an angled design, as that allows the edge facing me to be a tad longer. Even though the desk is 69″ wide, the edge facing me is around 76″ because it’s at an angle. This also gives a wild forced perspective look, as I’m using progressively skinnier boards as they approach the shallow side.

STEP 4

DIY Pallet Desk - Plane Boards

Photo: fringefocus.com

If you are lucky, your pallet boards will be exceptionally straight, blemish free, and without warps. I was not lucky. Many of the boards absolutely required jointing or planing so I could lay them flush to form a table top. But I do not own a jointer or a planer.

Solution? I ripped these boards on the table saw. Many boards I just ripped freehand or with the saw fence. It was NOT perfect, but it was much better than attempting to build a desk surface with warped boards. You could also use hand planes on the surface, but the risk of damage is high with so many hidden nails and staples in pallet stock.

STEP 5

DIY Pallet Desk - Stain Boards

Photo: fringefocus.com

Stain your pallet boards. Because I had half dark boardsand half light boards, I wanted to accentuate the contrast. I took all of my dark pallet wood, and applied a custom pickling stain to it. (To make your own custom pickling stain, click here for the recipe.)

STEP 6

DIY Pallet Desk - Glue

Photo: fringefocus.com

So it might be good to add joints & biscuits in your boards, but I just laid my pallet boards flush and glued them up. There’s a lot of surface area (and a lot of glue) so it worked. I clamped the wide boards in pairs, and I clamped the smaller boards in threes as seen above.

STEP 7

DIY Pallet Desk - Clamping

Photo: fringefocus.com

As I said, I chose very warped pallet boards. So without a planer I had to rely on some trickery to ensure a level table top I can actually work on. This was done by clamping (and gluing) several 2x4s on the underside of the desktop. The desk surface is flush with my workbench, but the underside has unevenness. Each 2×4 is secured with steel brackets on ANY board that was warping. Make sure you keep your clamps on until the glue is fully dry. Also, I put like 5 million screws through the 2x4s into the pallet boards for extra rigidity. Maybe overkill.

STEP 8

DIY Pallet Desk - Cutting to Size

Photo: fringefocus.com

Using the 2x4s as a guide, the desk top can be cut down to size. The ragged edges need to be cut flush. If you made a rectangular desk you could maybe skip this step, but since my desk has a 10 degree angle I had a lot to cut! If you have a large table saw, you could cut the entire desk top flush there. My saw and shop are simply too small, so using a handheld power saw (ideally circular saw) like a jig saw can work in a pinch.

STEP 9

DIY Pallet Desk - Border

Photo: fringefocus.com

Add a border to the desktop. I had some 1x4s leftover from another project, and stained them dark brown for this desk. I used a miter saw to cut the 1x4s at the appropriate angles, and wrapped this 1×4 edge around the entire perimeter of the desktop. Basically 4 boards (each a different length). 45 degree miters on the back (straight) edge, with different angles for the front edge. Glue up the 1x4s (or whatever edge you like), and clamp like crazy.

STEP 10
Sand the pallet desk top. I used an orbital sander with roughly 200 grit sandpaper on the entire surface of the desk. Pallet wood dust can be dangerous, so wear a mask and vacuum up all the dust.

STEP 11

DIY Pallet Desk - Adding Legs

Photo: fringefocus.com

Add legs to the desk!  had some 4x4s laying around, so that informed my leg choices. You could easily use steel rods, or 2x4s, or even traditional lathed legs. But I used a 4×4 in each corner, with steel brackets securing it to both the 2×4 support beams AND the 1×4 edge beams. The 4x4s are placed directly under the 2×4 supports, to ensure the weight is distributed across the whole surface. Don’t just plop your legs under the thin pallet wood. For stability, I cut 45 degree angles with the miter saw on some 4×4 braces. These braces are secured with 2″ screws.

STEP 12

DIY Pallet Desk - Finished Top

Photo: fringefocus.com

For finishing woodworking projects, I use Danish oil for most surfaces. I mix the Danish oil myself. (You can find the recipe for Danish oil here.) I added a final layer of brush-on (oil based) polyurethane a day after the Danish oil had dried. I applied a glossy polyurethane to the pallet desk top and edges, but NOT the legs, to give some contrast. Depending on your desired finish (and quality of your wood) you can sand the desk with 0000 steel wool between coats, or 320 grit sandpaper for the polyurethane. Let the poly cure for at least a day before use.

Thanks, Rob! To check out some of the art and design he’s crafting at his pallet desk, or to see more DIYs, visit Fringe Focus.


DIY Pallet Bed

See how one blogger, in only a few simple steps, turned unassuming scrap wood into a handsome DIY pallet bed that demands attention.

Bob Vila Thumbs up - Wood Pellet Projects

DIY Pallet Bed - Before and After

Photo: ashleyannphotography.com

Ah, the humble pallet. You often see them on roadside curbs or lying by dumpsters in back alleys. And while they tempt many a DIYer to salvage and repurpose them, your first impulse might not be to lay your head there. Fortunately for Ashley Ann, though, she’s lucky enough to have a friend who works at a packing company and was willing to make these pallets from sturdy, untreated boards. And once she had the pallets, a DIY day bed for the nursery was only a few simple steps away. Here’s how she created this fantastic project.

MATERIALS
- Untreated wood pallets
- Palm sander
- Sandpaper (80-grit and 200-grit)
- 5 large caster wheels
- 4 hinges
- Thick foam

STEP 1

DIY Pallet Bed - Sanding

Photo: ashleyannphotography.com

Sand the pallets good and smooth.

STEP 2
Bolt the two together on the tops and bottoms.

STEP 3
Add caster wheels to all 4 corners and one in the very center (for extra strength). The wheels on mine are locked, except for the center one.

STEP 4

DIY Pallet Bed - Finished

Photo: ashleyannphotography.com

I used an old door to sit behind it – just because I liked how it looked. Simple enough.

Thanks, Ashley Ann! To read more of her incredible DIYs or to check out her photography, visit Ashley Ann Photography.


How To: Clean a Dryer

By adding only 30 seconds onto your laundry routine—and performing a deeper clean four times a year—you can keep your dryer in tip-top condition.

How to Clean a Dryer

Photo: shutterstock.com

Sorting, loading, folding—doing laundry is a tiring chore not only for you, but also for your appliances. What drags down the dryer, in particular, are the bits of fluff and fuzz that sometimes interfere with component parts. Allowing too much lint to accumulate can result in malfunctions or less-than-ideal energy efficiency. To avoid problems—and to pay no than is strictly necessary to run the machine—clean the dryer regularly. Hey, it only takes about 30 seconds! Here’s what to know.

After Every Load
After each use of the dryer, remember to unclog its lint screen. This detachable piece is usually located along the rim of the door (consult the manual for its location on your specific model). Once you’ve removed the screen, gently scrape away the material that’s collected there. On occasion, especially if you’re in the habit of using dryer sheets, it may be wise to actually wash the screen with soap, water, and a scrub brush. Replace the screen once it’s good to go. Why is this so important? Maintaining a clean trap dramatically reduces the risk of lint finding its way into parts of the machine where it’s not supposed to be.

How To Clean a Dryer - Open Appliance

Photo: shutterstock.com

Once Every Three Months
Your dryer needs a deep cleaning about four times a year. All it takes is a vacuum, all-purpose cleaner, and a microfiber cloth. So as the seasons change, make a point to spend 30 minutes providing a little TLC to a machine that you count on and hope will last for years and years:

1. Unplug the dryer, then remove the exhaust hose from the back of the machine. You can expect the tube to full of lint and debris. Use your hands to clear out as much as possible. For the rest, rely on a bent metal clothes hanger. Finally, follow up with a vacuum to suck out the leftover dust.

2. Before you reattach the exhaust hose, unscrew and remove the back panel of the dryer. Vacuum up any lint you discover within the machine, particularly in the part that connects to the exhaust vent. Your best bet here is the small nozzle vacuum attachment, as it can reach into the crevices.

3. Clean the lint catcher more thoroughly than usual. First, remove the screen, then vacuum its housing. If possible, proceed to unscrew the housing, lift it out, and vacuum the space beneath it.

4. Vacuum inside the dryer drum to remove any lingering dust bunnies. Next, wipe down the drum, along with the door rim, using an all-purpose cleaner along with a clean microfiber cloth.

5. Replace the lint trap, the back panel, and the exhaust hose. Having completely reassembled the dryer, feel free to plug it back in and give it a test run. Your clean dryer should now run more efficiently, dry your clothes more quickly, and leave them fresher!


Bob Vila Radio: Installing a Laundry Chute

By installing a laundry chute, you can harness the power of gravity to make one of life's dreaded chores much less strenuous.

Tired of lugging laundry down the basement stairs? Maybe you should consider installing a laundry chute. Kits are available at home centers, or you can build the chute yourself.

Installing a Laundry Chute

Photo: shutterstock.com

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Listen to BOB VILA ON INSTALLING A LAUNDRY CHUTE or read the text below:

To construct the chase—the passage through which you drop clothes to the basement—you have several options for materials: a galvanized heating duct, wood, drywall or melamine. Chutes work best when the chase is larger, say 1 by 2 feet. And make sure any joints are smooth, so clothing articles like socks do not snag on the way down.

Location is key. You’ll need to find a stud bay with unobstructed access to the basement—that is, no electrical wiring, no plumbing. Hallways are often a good bet, especially if their walls run parallel to underlying floor joists.

Use a stud finder to locate two adjacent studs, then cut a small hole in the wall to check for obstructions. If the bay is clear, use a reciprocating saw to cut an opening for the bottom of the chute, downstairs. Once you’ve double-checked that there are no obstructions upstairs, create the hole for the top of the chute.

Upstairs you’ll also need to remove the base plate between the two studs and cut a hole through the plywood flooring to make room for the chute. Assemble the chute, fit it into the bay, then finish up by trimming out the upstairs end of the chute and installing a door.

Before you start the job, be sure to check local building codes.

Bob Vila Radio is a newly launched daily radio spot carried on more than 60 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.


Genius! DIY Murphy Bed

DIY Murphy Bed - Open

Photo: creativedecorbybrooke.blogspot.com

There’s something kind of fascinating about the Murphy bed. Is it a bed? Is it a closet? And just how do you manage to get that hefty mattress so tidily tucked away and out of sight? Yes, the Murphy bed is pretty cool, enabling you to convert a home office or craft area into a mini hotel room. Best of all, you can reclaim the room for your own purposes as soon as your guest leaves. Genius.

So when we saw this DIY murphy bed by Brooke at Creative Decor by Brooke, we had to know more. Here’s what she had to say about the project.

“We just worked on it in our garage, because we don’t have a wood shop. It took us approximately eight hours to build, and then I painted it and that took about three hours.” If that sounds do-able to you (this is not necessarily a beginner project), Brooke recommends that you remember, “the most important thing in making a Murphy bed is the mechanism…. I would search online and find the mechanism you want, then it will have instructions on making the bed to the right size.”

If you’re not quite ready to build your own DIY murphy bed, follow Brooke’s advice. “I started off small with a drill and scroll saw… and advanced to table saw and router, as I got more courage and wanted to try making bigger things.” If you want to increase your skills, “start small and master one tool at a time,” she says.

Take a lesson from Brooke and remember: safety first! “I drilled through my hand one day…. I was holding a piece of wood in my hand and drilling…. The drill hit a soft spot in the wood and zipped right through, and because I was holding it, my hand was next.” She was fine, luckily, but adds, “Just learn from your mistakes and be safe.” Truer words were never spoken.

Take a look at Brooke’s simply genius DIY Murphy bed. Who knows, maybe it will inspire your next project!

DIY Murphy Bed - Opening

Photo: creativedecorbybrooke.blogspot.com

MATERIALS
- Spring mechanism
- Wood (to measurements)
- Crown molding
- Cabinet hardware
- Paint and primer
- Paintbrush
- Mattress

STEP 1
This is where it all started. We purchased the mechanism for the Murphy bed and with it came instructions on making it and the wood we needed to purchase.

DIY Murphy Bed - Frame

Photo: creativedecorbybrooke.blogspot.com

STEP 2
Screw together the wood pieces according to your measurements.

DIY Murphy Bed - Process

Photo: creativedecorbybrooke.blogspot.com

STEP 3
So when the bed is up in the cabinet, the front is supposed to look like an armoire. You can have cabinet doors made, but that is expensive, so I decided we could make fake doors and drawers with just some trim and fake drawer fronts. Use crown molding along the top of the Murphy bed to create the look of cabinet doors. Put handles and knobs on them, and they look real.

DIY Murphy Bed - Pre-Paint

Photo: creativedecorbybrooke.blogspot.com

STEP 4
I then started the yucky job of painting. I hate to paint. I decided black was the color.

DIY Murphy Bed - Painting

Photo: creativedecorbybrooke.blogspot.com

STEP 5
Do a little sanding around the trim (I mean doors) and crown molding.

STEP 6
Then I put two coats of polyurethane in satin finish. It recommends three coats on the can, but I had had enough!

DIY Murphy Bed - Polyurethane

Photo: creativedecorbybrooke.blogspot.com

STEP 7
“Where is the mattress?” you ask. Well, we had to order it, because it is a full/double size, and the store we went to didn’t stock them because they aren’t that popular. I do love how it looks in the room, and it will be great for an extra bed when needed.

DIY Murphy Bed - Complete

Photo: creativedecorbybrooke.blogspot.com

 Thanks, Brooke! If you loved this post, check out her site for even more inventive DIY projects.


How To: Clean Pillows

When was the last time you washed your pillows? If you don't remember, then it's probably well past time to do so.

How to Clean Pillows

Photo: shutterstock.com

Whether tucked under our heads while sleeping or behind our backs while lounging in the living room, pillows are an often used, seldom truly appreciated hallmark of the civilized world. Perhaps it’s because we take them for granted that we tend not to clean pillows as often as we should. Or perhaps people don’t clean pillows for a simpler reason: They didn’t know they could. In any case, consider the mystery solved. You can indeed clean pillows, and here’s how it’s done.

Bed Pillows
Check their care labels, of course, but most pillows today can be machine-washed and dried, no matter what they’re stuffed with. Try to clean two pillows simultaneously, because a lone pillow gets thrown around so much in the process that its filling can come out distorted. Once you’ve loaded the washer with a pair, set the machine to run on a hot-water cycle. Add the normal amount of detergent, opting for liquid rather than powder, because the latter can leave a residue. Run two complete rinse cycles to fully rid the pillows of soap, then immediately move them to the dryer. Synthetic-filled pillows should ry on the machine’s lowest setting, while down- or feather-filled pillows are best dried on the air or fluff cycle. Before closing the dryer door, throw in two new tennis balls, each tied off within a white sock (a precaution meant to keep the balls’ neon dye from transferring to the pillows). The balls bounce around in the drum and help restore full pillow fluff.

How to Clean Sofa Pillows

Photo: Shutterstock.com

Pillows yellowed from sweat need a little more TLC. In the washing stage, start by filling the machine a third of the way with hot (even boiling water), then add in one cup of powdered laundry detergent, one cup of powdered dishwasher detergent, and a half-cup of borax. Finally, add a full cup of bleach into its designated compartment, before starting the machine and letting it run for a few minutes to agitate and dissolve the detergents. Now put in the your pillows—again, clean two simultaneously for best results—and run the washer on its hottest water setting. Go through two complete rinse cycles before moving the pillows to the dryer (and again, for maximum fluff, include two tennis balls knotted inside white socks).

Decorative Pillows
Many decorative pillows have zippers that allow for the case to be separated from the cushion. In these instances, simply remove the case and wash according to the care directions on the label. If you’d like to clean a throw pillow whose cover doesn’t come off, first consider the fabric it’s made of. Don’t know? Check the label; it should say whether it’s velvet, silk, linen, cotton or a synthetic. Generally speaking, velvet, silk, and upholstery materials—or any pillow with heavy braiding or trim—must be professionally dry-cleaned.

If your throw pillow cover is made of thinner cotton, linen, or a synthetic fabric, you can use a mild upholstery shampoo. But first, lightly rub a damp sponge over an inconspicuous spot on the pillow to test how colorfast the fabric is. If the color leaks, have the pillow dry-cleaned. If not, proceed to whip the upholstery shampoo into a froth, then use the same damp sponge to rub suds over the entire pillow. With a white towel, pat away excess foam, before giving the pillow plenty of time to completely air dry.


How To: Make Your Own Laundry Detergent

When you use homemade laundry detergent, you have complete control over the ingredients and save money with every single load.

Homemade Laundry Detergent

Photo: shutterstock.com

Two primary advantages recommend homemade laundry detergent. First, mixing your own costs very little in comparison to purchasing a container at the pharmacy or grocery store. Second, homemade laundry detergent gives you complete control over the ingredients doing the dirty work. For some, particularly those with allergies or sensitive skin, the chemicals in commercial products make them a non-starter. But no matter why you want to create your own, the process is actually easier than you might have expected. In fact, only three ingredients are necessary (four, if you wish to make a scented batch). Read on to learn how it’s done.

What you’ll need:
- Pure borax
- Washing soda (otherwise known as sodium carbonate or soda ash)
- Unscented bar soap
- Essential oils like lavender or tea tree oil (optional)

How you combine these ingredients determines what form the detergent takes—powdered or liquid.

Homemade Laundry Detergent - Grating

Photo: shutterstock.com

Powdered
First, grate the unscented bar soap into flakes. (If you have sensitive skin, test the soap on your wrist first to see if it causes any irritation.) Next, mix one part grated soap with two parts sodium carbonate and two parts pure borax, the latter of which kills mold and mildew. For a fresh scent, add a few drops of essential oil to the powder. Any oil should be fine; choose the one whose scent you like the best. Finally, put the detergent into an airtight container, keeping it there until you need it next. When it comes time to do laundry, use about 1/8 cup of detergent (or 1/4 cup, if the clothes are very dirty) for each load.

Liquid
Grate a full bar of unscented soap, then dump the shavings into a large saucepan along with two quarts of water. Heat on low and stir until the soap has dissolved into a smooth, thick liquid (do not bring to a boil). Meanwhile, add a box of borax and a box of washing soda into a bucket filled with four and a half gallons of warm water. Once the soap has dissolved in the saucepan, pour the solution into the bucket. Mix well. If you want, put in several drops of your favorite essential oil, then leave the detergent to settle overnight. When it’s time to do laundry, shake up the detergent before adding 1/2 or one cup to the washing machine.

Congratulations, you’ve done it! Now to extend the shelf life of the generous batch you’ve just made, remember to store the homemade laundry detergent in an airtight container. Keep it safely out of reach of children and pets, because although the ingredients are natural, they still may be harmful if swallowed.


So, You Want to… Install a Laundry Chute

Installing a laundry chute requires planning, never more than when retrofitting a chute into an existing house. So before getting your heart set on one, review these project pointers on siting, design, and safety.

Laundry Chute

Photo: shutterstock.com

Perhaps the most tedious part of doing laundry—itself a tedious chore—is struggling down the stairs with a heavy and cumbersome hamper overflowing with stinky clothes. If you’ve done this on a weekly basis for a period of years, it’s no surprise you’ve neared the end of your rope. The rumors are true: A laundry chute really does make the laundry task less of a hassle, and although installing one is not rocket science, there are a few thing to know before moving ahead.

Build or Buy?
Sometimes it really does seem as though home centers stock literally everything. Believe it or not, you can even buy a laundry chute kit at your local box store. That convenience comes at a cost, though; it’s somewhat cheaper (but less quick and easy) to buy all the supplies separately. What sort of materials are we talking about? For one thing, there’s the chase—that is, the passage through which dropped clothing travels to the basement (or wherever your laundry area happens to be). Usually, contractors and DIY-inclined homeowners build the chase from the galvanized ductwork typically used in home heating and cooling systems. Though costlier, large-diameter PVC pipe also works well. Wood, drywall, and melamine are additional options, but these latter materials require joints, and with joints you run the risk of snags (the enemy of a successful laundry chute). Generally speaking, a wider chute is preferable to a narrow one. Shoot for a one-by-two-foot conduit. Fitting a chase of those dimensions entirely behind the plane of your existing walls probably isn’t in the cards. Instead, expect for the chase to punch at least a few inches into the rooms through which it’s going to run. Yes, you’re right—doing that is definitely going to complicate the job!

Location, Location, Location
Real estate and laundry chutes have at least one thing in common: For both, location is of key importance. Certainly, you want to find a place for the chute that’s going to be convenient in your day-to-day life, but the greater challenge is going to be finding a spot where the chase can fit into the framework of your house. While it’s easy enough to build a laundry chute into a new home or addition, integrating one into an existing house takes some doing. What you need to find is a stud bay that drops to the basement, with neither wiring nor plumbing in the way. Prepare to cut a few small exploratory holes if you never knew or have forgotten what lies behind this or that wall. Hallways are often a good bet, especially if their walls run parallel to underlying floor joists. Note that it’s possible for a laundry chute to bend slightly in its run so as to avoid an obstruction, but that bend must be gradual and of course is going to complicate matters.

Laundry Chute - Open Door

Photo: builtbylandmark.com

The Big Drop
The idea of a laundry chute appeals most to those who live in a multistory home. Bear in mind, however, that the risk of a snag increases in direct proportion with the length of the chase. There are worse things in the world than having a sock snag in your laundry chute, but the impetus for building one is to minimize hassle, and clearing a snag is nothing if not annoying. Most homeowners keep a pole or stiff wire on hand to deal with such a problem, but if you’re using a contractor, he or she may be able to design the chase in such a way that it allows for user-friendly maintenance over time.

Kid Stuff
Are there small children in the house? If so, position any upstairs entry doors to the chute high up on the wall, beyond the reach of kids who don’t know better than to send themselves (or the cat) on a ride to the basement. Alternatively or in addition, downsize the door so that no small bodies can fit through. Yet another child-safety option would be to put a lock on the door to the chute.

Fire Safety
Properly designed, a laundry chute provides unobstructed passage between floors. Many people believe that this chimney-like construction has the potential to turn a small fire into a really big and utterly devastating one. On the other hand, many builders and architects point out that stairways carry the same potential risk. And whereas stairways are typically open, laundry chutes are most often closed shut behind doors that can slow a fire’s spread.

Regardless, in some municipalities, there are strict fire codes prohibiting or restricting the construction of laundry chute. Before going ahead with plans, be sure to check with your local building authority.


Bob Vila Radio: Installing a Fold-Down Ironing Board

To save space wherever you do the laundry, install a fold-out ironing board. Here are some tips on getting it done.

If you’re like a lot of people, space in your home is at a premium. In other words, figuring out where to stash your stuff is an ongoing preoccupation. One prime example of a “where do I put this?” item is the ironing board.

Photo: shutterstock.com

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Listen to BOB VILA ON FOLD-DOWN IRONING BOARDS or read the text below:

Why not solve that storage problem by installing a fold-down unit? Sure, you can build one from scratch, but they’re also available—pre-assembled and ready for installation—online or at your local home center.

Whether you build or buy, it’s best to install the fold-down unit in a stud bay that has existing wiring. That way, you’ll have ready access to power for the iron (and for a lamp, so you can see what you’re doing).

First, measure the dimensions of the unit, then use a drywall saw to cut an appropriate size hole in the wall. Next, cut and screw-mount two sections of 2×4 to frame the top and bottom of the cavity. Once you drill a hole for your wiring, you’re ready to slide your cabinet into the framed cavity and secure it with wood screws.

Chances are your old ironing board will find a new home at your next yard sale!

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 Easy and Elegant DIY Canopy Beds

Do you crave the romance and coziness of a canopy bed? Then try out one of these accessible variations on the traditional canopy. You'll be sleeping in style in no time.

We tend to think of canopy beds as being romantic, glamorous, and perhaps a bit showy. Yet their origins are humble. Back in the Middle Ages, people cordoned off their sleeping areas behind fabric in order to deter pests and insects. Today’s homeowners choose canopy beds for a variety of reasons, but practicality usually isn’t one of them. These billowy sanctuaries have remained popular mainly due to their decorative value. If you’ve always wanted your own private canopy, be heartened by the fact that it’s actually pretty easy to transform a regular mattress and frame into a DIY canopy bed that’s replete with magic and mystery, comfort and calm.

 

1. JUMP THROUGH HOOPS

DIY Canopy Bed - Hoop

Photo: acasadava.com

Create a DIY canopy bed using little more than a basic embroidery hoop and a pair of store-bought or homemade curtains. Fit the fabric panels onto the hoop, then hang using hardware (a pot rack hook works well). Get the tutorial from Country Living; so long as you already have the curtains, the project should cost only about $10.

 

2. PULL THE CURTAIN

DIY Canopy Bed - Curtain Rod

Photo: bargainhoot.com

Surround your bed with a 360-degree fabric canopy—inexpensively, and without modifying your headboard, bed frame, mattress, or box spring. It’s as simple as mounting curtain rods to the ceiling; the rods should echo the shape and size of your bed. Once the rods are in place, add gauzy curtains to each side, and voilà!

 

3. JUST HANG OUT

DIY Canopy Bed - Modern

Photo: elementsofstyleblog.com

Display a graphic textile in this modern, minimalist take on a DIY canopy bed. Install a grommet in each corner of the fabric, string rope through each hole, and then tie the panel to the ceiling by means of hooks or screws. Bear in mind, this idea can work in many rooms: You can cast a cozy vibe not only in a bed, but also over a couch or chaise.

 

4. MAKE IT SWING

DIY Canopy Bed - Swing Arms

Photo: bhg.com

Here’s another way to make a lovely, low-cost DIY canopy bed using hardware originally designed for window treatments. Fasten a pair of swing-arm curtain rods to the wall a few inches below the ceiling, one on either side of the bed. To complete the look, loosely drape a swag of fabric across the bed from one rod to the other.

 

5. CLIMB THE LADDER

DIY Canopy Bed - Ladder

Photo: chippingwithcharm.blogspot.com

Chipping with Charm offers up a solution for those who love the concept of a DIY canopy bed but don’t love frilly home design. Mount a vintage ladder over the bed—granted, that’s no easy feat—then weave fabric through the ladder rungs. Alternatively, hang panels only on the ends of the ladder for a more open and uniform aesthetic.